Frank being his typically bubbly self. // Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
As much as I love wallowing in sorrow and loooove making sardonic jokes about crappy baseball, we’re done with stewing in 2013. At least we’re done stewing in a way that doesn’t look forward for the new year.
These “exit interviews” will be going over the entire 40-man roster and looking to see how each player does or does not fit into the White Sox future.
The term “exit interview” is usually used when an employee is leaving the company. I took that into consideration…and kept it.
Frank De Los Santos – Fairly anonymous trade acquisition. Potential LOOGY? (Note: Every left-handed pitcher is a potential LOOGY. Maybe every left-handed baseball player. Don’t rule out Alejandro De Aza being called upon to pitch to Prince Fielder in 2014)
Age by 2014 Opening Day: 26
Contract: He’s never made the majors, and should have two option years left.
Relevant stats: Across Rookie Ball, High-A, but mostly Triple-A in 2013: 30 games (two starts), 38.2 IP, 40 H, 4.89 ERA, 3 HR, 26 K, 14 BB, 1.86 K/BB
Interpretation: The trade to acquire De Los Santos was not heavily publicized for immediately apparent reasons. He is NOT the return for Jesse Crain.
Emblematic split: Triple-A left-handers only hit .158 vs. De Los Santos, but they also had eight walks to six strikeouts.
Pre-season expectations: It was not a quick search to find someone with something substantive to say about their expectations about De Los Santos’ 2013 campaign, but The Process Report had this to offer :
"His fastball is lively and can touch the mid-90s. But the blemish on De Los Santos has always been lackluster secondary stuff. It isn’t obvious that De Los Santos has improved in that regard, as Adam Sobsey lamented about his fastball infatuation during the season. Despite mediocre strikeout rates, De Los Santos has posted solid groundball rates, and has the reputation for challenging hitters.Unless something has clicked for De Los Santos with his secondary offerings, the best you can hope for is that he develops into a situational reliever. He’s likely to begin next season in Durham."
This is less of a prediction than a scouting report (which is needed because who is Frank De Los Santos?) and a warning (which is also needed because it’s very possible he is not a major leaguer).
Quote of the year: Santos does not appear to be any minor league beat writer’s go-to-guy for quotes. Senior director of baseball operations Dan Fabian had this nice thing to say, however:
"“It’s just delivery,” Fabian said. “He’s one of those guys who needs a more consistent delivery in order to throw strikes, and if he does that, he has the stuff to succeed at this level.”"
This is also not a quote, but apparently the origins of De Los Santos’ baseball career lie in unspeakable personal tragedy.
Frank’s story: De Los Santos’ workload this season was hampered by an early-season trip to the disabled list in May for apparently unspecified reasons and he didn’t work his way back to Triple-A Durham until mid-July. While health issues could explain why he never found his control in 2013, it doesn’t sound like injury troubles are a one-off issue for De Los Santos and still don’t explain away his inability to blow away lower-level hitters.
Over the course of 2013, the Rays transitioned from just interested enough in De Los Santos to spend a roster spot to keep him around to making him the first target in an effort to clear space.
Assessment: This is a flier in the truest sense at this point. The Sox could use some LOOGY depth and someone who can touch 96 mph from the left-hand side and poses no obligation to be promoted for the next two years is still more fun to have in Triple-A than Zach Stewart. If he figures it all out, a mid-2014 promotion is possible. Never hearing from him again is most likely. Speaking about the trade in regret is nigh impossible.
Follow James Fegan on Twitter @JRFegan