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Sergio Santos: Holds Sleeper for 2014 Fantasy Baseball

By Keith Allison on Flickr (Originally posted to Flickr as "Sergio Santos") [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons


Closer Poised to Leap Forward: Sergio Santos

The Toronto Blue Jays bullpen features some talented arms that sometimes go overlooked. Names like Aaron Loup and Brett Cecil are not the first ones to come up when discussing bullpens, but they are the bridge to closer Casey Janssen, and the Toronto 'pen has another possible option for that closer role in Sergio Santos. By Keith Allison on Flickr (Originally posted to Flickr as "Sergio Santos") [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons Santos, 30, spent two seasons as a reliever for the Chicago White Sox and had a 30-save season before being sent to the Toronto Blue Jays. He didn’t do well in his first season with the Jays. Various injuries, including a shoulder that required season-ending surgery, also hindered him from succeeding up north. Casey Janssen, 32, has spent his entire seven-year career with the Toronto Blue Jays and was originally used as a starter, starting 17 games in 2006. But he's found a home in the bullpen for the majority of his major league career. Looking at his numbers in each role, there are plenty of reasons to put him in the bullpen:

Seven-Year Career

Starter (22 games)


Reliever (317 games)

8-13 (.381)

Win-Loss (W-L%)

18-8 (.692)








Janssen shows remarkable control, including a season with a 1.6 BB/9, while Sergio Santos is more of a strikeout pitcher, earning a 13.1 K/9 in his 30 save season with the White Sox. The discussion involving these two relievers comes down to what the Blue Jays are looking for in a closer. Sergio Santos looks to strike out batters and get the batter to swing at pitches outside of the zone. Casey Janssen looks for pinpoint control and tries to force batters to make weak contact on borderline pitches.

2013 Plate Discipline vs. Casey Janssen MLB Average Sergio Santos
Swing outside the zone 28.4% 31.0% 40.9%
Swing inside the zone 62.8% 65.5% 65.3%
Contact outside the zone 73.3% 66.6% 44.6%
Contact inside the zone 84.7% 87.0% 78.3%
Swinging Strike 8.2% 9.3% 17.7%


As you can see above (courtesy of FanGraphs), Janssen’s strengths are on the contact outside of the zone. He thrives on contact, and in 2013 he kept opposing batters to a .200 average while pitching to a 0.99 WHIP, both better than the league average of .250 and 1.30. Janssen uses a 90 mph fastball that isn’t overpowering, supplementing it with a cutter and a curveball that he spikes out of the zone for the majority of the contact. Sergio Santos’s swing-and-miss type stuff is reflected in the 17.7% swinging strike frequency. Santos uses his mid-90s fastball and his mid-80s slider to get strikeouts low in the strike zone. Regardless of the statistics, Casey Janssen will likely enter the season as the incumbent closer because his 2013 season was successful. There are other options for the Jays' closer role, like Loup and Steve Delabar, but experience can be invaluable. If Santos can figure out what made him an effective closer during his final year with the White Sox, expect him to be one of the considerations for the closer role if Janssen struggles.