Nils and I have finally done it. After talking about it for eight years, we've made it to the Arizona Fall League. While watching the Surprise Saguaros on Saturday afternoon, one player to standout was Edgar Santana of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Listed at 6'2" and 180 pounds he isn't intimidating and doesn't pack much of a punch as far as his heater goes. The stadium radar had him at 91-93 for two innings.
The pitch that caught my eye was the slider. Coming in at 83-85, the pitch had tight rotation and late movement. It generated a few swing and misses from right-handed batters and when it was put in play, it was hit weakly. The grade I would give it is a 65 on the 20-80 scale. It was clearly a plus pitch one hitters had trouble recognizing.
Based on typical bullpen construction, a 25 year old who throws 92 isn't going to cut it typically. Unless he has a pitch that gives hitters fits. Being that he pitches for one of the most progressive teams, Santana could try and throw the pitch something like 60% or higher similar to what Rich Hill does with his curve.
I'm not concerned about lefties as much as I normally would given that in double-A he nearly averaged two innings per appearance prior to his promotion to triple-A. If what I saw from Santana is true, he might be able to carry the momentum from his stellar fall (0.00 ERA and 18:2 K/BB in 12.2 innings so far) into big league camp and land on the big league roster.