Tony Santillan returned to Dayton for 2017, hoping to better what he had done in 2016 with the Dragons in seven starts. April didn’t start out well. The then 19-year-old right hander walked four batters in 3.2 innings in his first start of the season. The next time out things would go better for Santillan as he would rack up six strikeouts with just one walk in 5.1 innings with just two runs. He would turn 20 on April 15th and the next two starts saw some ups-and-downs. April was capped off the month on the 27th with 5.0 shutout innings. He walked two batters and struck out six. The walk rate was high during the month, with 14 walks in 23.0 innings. But, he kept runs off the board with a 3.13 ERA and 24 strikeouts.
May started out much like April, with control struggles. Tony Santillan walked four batters on May 3rd. The next time out was one of his best starts of the year. He would allow one run in 6.0 innings with no walks and 10 strikeouts. The three starts that followed were nearly as good or better. Over that span Santillan allowed one earned run in 20.2 innings. He allowed just one walk and he struck out 17 batters. The month finished with two runs in 5.0 innings with three walks and two strikeouts. It would be the best month of the season for Santillan. He posted a 2.02 ERA in 35.2 innings with eight walks and 30 strikeouts.
It would be 11 days between starts for Tony Santillan. He would take the mound on June 9th and perform well against West Michigan. The next time out, six days later, he would run into struggles and allow five runs in 4.2 innings. It would then be another 11 days before he’d take the mound. The start would be his last of June and he tossed 6.0 shutout innings with three walks and five strikeouts. He would only throw 17.0 innings in three starts, walking eight batters and 16 strikeouts. That came with a 4.24 ERA.
July got out to a nice start for Tony Santillan. In his first two starts he allowed just two runs in 11.0 innings. He would walk just three batters and he struck out 15. The start on the 12th was a struggle as the righty walked five batters and allowed seven runs in 2.1 innings. He would rebound the next two times out, allowing just two earned in 10.0 combined innings. The month would finish with Santillan posting a 4.24 ERA in 23.1 innings with 14 walks and 26 strikeouts.
After skipping a start, Tony Santillan returned to the mound on August 5th with one of his best starts of the season. He would allow one earned in 6.1 innings with two walks and 10 strikeouts. That was followed up by one of his worst, giving up 10 hits and eight runs in 3.1 innings. He would rebound well over the next three outings. In that span he allowed just one run in 16.0 innings with four walks and 18 strikeouts. On September 1st he would make his last start of the regular season, allowing three earned in 3.1 innings with four walks and two strikeouts. Over the final six starts of the year he would post a 4.03 ERA in 29.0 innings with 12 walks and 32 strikeouts.
For all 2017 Season Reviews and Scouting Reports – click here (these will come out during the week throughout the offseason).
Tony Santillan Scouting Report
Fastball | There were times this season when Tony Santillan would sit 92-94 MPH with his fastball, but most of the time he was higher than that. On the best nights he was sitting 95-98 MPH.
Slider | The pitch works in the 88-91 MPH range. When it’s at it’s best, it’s a plus offering with good bite and sweeping action. It’s still inconsistent, though, and at times is just a fringy pitch that doesn’t have biting action.
Change Up | Another pitch that works in the 88-91 MPH range. When it’s at it’s best, it’s a plus offering. It’s more consistent than the slider, but it’s not always a plus offering – at times it’s more of just an above-average pitch.
The upside for Tony Santillan isn’t matched by many in the organization. There’s a chance for three plus pitches from the right hander. But, he struggles with consistency at this point in his career. On his best nights he will dominate hitters at just about any level. But on other nights when he’s not on top of his game he will struggle to get out Low-A hitters consistently. Some of that is related to the consistency with his stuff, but more often it’s related to the consistency with his control.
In seven starts during the year he would walk four or more batters. In 13 starts he walked two or fewer batters. The struggles with control from outing to outing date back to his time in high school. It’s the reason that an arm like his was available in the second round. Tony Santillan has improved, both mechanically and consistency wise since that time, but he will need to continue to do so if he’s going to reach his ceiling.