Dynasty Building Blocks, Bargain Spotlight: Hector Santiago
I’d like to start my very first post with The Dynasty Guru by telling everyone a little about myself. I’ve been playing this great game of fantasy baseball for a little over a decade, mainly focusing on 16-20 team dynasty leagues. All of them with a wide range of settings, from head-to-head categories and points leagues, to salary cap and contract leagues, to anywhere from 15-25 keepers, and each of these leagues has had a range of 15-40 minor league players per team. Besides fantasy baseball, one of my other main hobbies is scouting minor league players, I don’t do it professionally but i enjoy doing it nonetheless. So my hope is that my experience and outlook on fantasy baseball and player values can help other owners with their leagues. Now enough about me, let’s get right to the good stuff.
I will be working on a series here for TDG called Dynasty Building Blocks. The first part of this series will be 6 sections called Bargain Spotlight. l will be highlighting one player from each MLB division that is currently owned in less than 20% of ESPN leagues and that is, in my opinion, undervalued in dynasty formats. This can be for a variety of reasons, those of which I will cover in my posts.
AL Central Bargain Spotlight
Hector Santiago Team: CHW Pos: LHP Age: 25
Santiago was drafted by the Chicago White Sox in the 30th round of the 2006 First Year Player draft. He spent 2007 through 2010 working his way up to the High-A level of the organization, working primarily as a reliever (only 1 game started during that span), but those numbers can be a bit deceiving. In 2011, he was transitioned to a starting role full time and had 26 GS while working his way from High-A to Triple-A in 2012. As the numbers below show, he demonstrated considerable growth to match his progression through the minors. His FIP was higher as a starter, but that can be expected seeing as it was his first go round as a starter and he was facing much tougher competition at the higher levels.
|193 H/ 108 BB (1.40 WHIP)
|118 H/ 60 BB (1.25 WHIP)
|88 ER (3.67 ERA)
|51 ER (3.23 ERA)
|4.5 BB/9 & 10.35 K/9
|3.8 BB/9 & 8.23 K/9
In 2011 he was promoted for a small cup of coffee but really made an impact with the White Sox in 2012. Prior to the 2012 season, John Sickels wrote the following about Hector Santiago;
“Santiago was an anonymous minor league lefty with a low-90s fastball, a decent curve, and a mixed performance record entering 2011. He learned a screwball in the 2010 Puerto Rican Winter League, then moved to the starting rotation in High-A and was quite impressive. He continued to pitch well after moving up to Double-A, then received a spot on the 40-man roster and a brief trial in Chicago. Santiago has generated some excitement amongst White Sox fans. The screwball certainly makes him interesting, and he’s got enough zip on the fastball to keep hitters honest. If he throws strikes, he has a shot as either a fourth starter or a bullpen asset.”
At the time of this article being written he has pitched 193.1 innings across 72 games in his major league career, 21 of those games were as a starter and 51 were in relief, so let’s split those numbers up and see what we have.
|60 H/ 44 BB (1.39 WHIP)
|94 H/ 56 BB (1.26 WHIP)
|30 ER (3.62 ERA)
|40 ER (3.03 ERA)
|5.3 BB/9 & 8.44 K/9
|4.2 BB/9 & 9.85 K/9
As you can see from his progression through the minors and his time in the majors, he is slowly developing into a quality #4 starting pitcher for a major league team. He has been bounced around between the bullpen and the starting rotation this season, but has recorded 12 straight starts since June 9th. In those 12 games, he has a 2-3 record with 7 QS, 9.1 K/9, 3.38 ERA and a 1.29 WHIP. His FIP is a little blown up (4.42) because he has had some trouble keeping the ball in the park. He’s been able to hold opposing hitters to a .216 BAA as a starter in the majors. He has only 2 out of those 12 outings where he gave up more than 3 ER, which makes his record deceiving because he averages only 3.51 runs in support during his starts. He has had a handful of no decisions that were actually a W for him that the bullpen blew.
I like Santiago moving forward as a solid buy low option in dynasty leagues. He may even be available on your league’s waiver wire (4.6% owned on ESPN). For a low purchase price he could turn into a solid #4 fantasy starter for you, and someone you can use as a trade chip down the road. I also like that he pounds the zone with a heavy 92-95 mph FB and keeps his 92 mph sinker down against right handed hitters. He also uses a mid-80’s change-up outside against righties. This is important for his development because he has given up 12 of his 14 HR this year to right handed hitters. He needs to keep the ball down in the zone and produce more ground balls in order to keep the home runs down (35.2 GB% & 43.8 FB%). Investing in Santiago will come with its bumps but it can also pay off quite nicely for you if he continues a high strikeout pace and progresses even further to start the 2014 season.
If he is available on your league’s waiver wire, I’d add him now and use him as a streaming option the rest of the 2013 season, with the intention to keep him for 2014 and trade him next summer to a contender that needs a #4 fantasy starting pitcher. If he is not available on the waiver wire, I’d try and trade for him during the off-season, for a low purchase price, with the same intention to trade him once his value goes up next summer. For teams that are building a roster from the ground up, he is a quality piece that can net you a mid-level prospect or maybe more in a trade. This plan would take a bit of time to let him perform well enough to increase his value, but at such a low price, the return could be substantial.