Tony Santillan Makes Key Adjustments In 2017
Righthander Tony Santillan is a big man with an equally big fastball.
To those points, the 20-year-old stands 6-foot-3, weighs 240 pounds and reaches 100 mph with his fastball. His potential is equally substantial. While Santillan looks like big leaguer, the Texas high school product won't be allowed to legally order a drink until the season gets underway in April.
A 2015 second-round pick, Santillan has amassed just 217 pro innings, the majority of those came in 2017 at low Class A Dayton. In 25 appearances and 128 innings in the Midwest League, he went 9-8, 3.38 with rates of 9.0 strikeouts and 3.9 walks per nine innings.
Because he pitches at 92-99 mph, Santillan doesn't have to command his fastball as well as others.
While Santillan's fastball has never been a question, the rest of his arsenal has been inconsistent. However, director of player development Jeff Graupe said that Santillan's changeup may have been the most improved pitch in the organization in 2017.
Santillan also throws a slider that can be a plus pitch if he can hone it, as well as a curveball that isn't used as much. He focused on his secondary pitches in 2017.
"I've gained a lot of confidence in those pitches," Santillan said. "When there comes a time, I mean, I have the confidence to throw what I want to when I need to throw it. It's not like I worry about it . . . if I am having a rough day of it. I'm still going to have that same confidence and trust it."
Aside from developing his pitches, Santillan said the routine of a full season was the biggest adjustment.
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The 23-year-old's improvements were evident during the 2020 season, and he could compete for a rotation spot in 2021.
"I was a lot more focused on kind of making sure my routine was on point, making sure my mental side of pitching was there every game, no matter what the outcome was," he said. "I feel a lot better knowing what I am doing and my plan, at least."