Reid Santos moved closer to a possible major league career in 2006 thanks to a move that seemed to bring out the best in the 24-year-old from Hawaii.
Santos was switched from starter to relief pitcher this past season and the results were outstanding. He did so well that he moves up to No. 20 on the Indians Ink list of the Tribe’s Top 100 Prospects. The 13th-round draft pick in 2002 was No. 35 a year ago.
Santos began the season at Class A Kinston, where he was 2-0 with a 3.44 ERA in 35 appearances, including 33 times out of the bullpen. He was 4-for-4 in save situations.
He then moved up to Class AA Akron, where he was 1-0 with a 2.61 ERA in nine relief appearances. What was most impressive was that in 10 1/3 innings with the Aeros, he struck out 20 and issued no walks.
The Indians thought so highly of the job that he did that he was one of the players they sent to the Arizona Fall League, where the players who are close to being close to major league-ready perform. Santos again was outstanding in the AFL. In 10 outings, he was 0-1 with one save and a 2.53 ERA.
Santos’s personality would seem to make him a perfect match for the high-pressure situations that relief pitchers often find themselves in when they come out of the bullpen late in the game. The 6-1, 170-pounder seems to have ice water in his veins. He never seems to get rattled. His easy-come, easy-go attitude probably is a reflection of the laid-back lifestyle he enjoyed as a child growing up in Hawaii.
Like many left-handers, Santos doesn’t throw a blazing fastball. It’ll normally top out at about 91. But what makes it effective is the fact he usually has pinpoint control and he also has a plus changeup that is his go-to pitch. The fact he has already mastered the changeup is somewhat of a surprise in that he didn’t even start pitching until his junior year in high school.
Santos also throws a workable cutter, but the biggest key to his success is control. When he locates his pitches, he can be tough to hit. When he falls behind hitters, he gets in trouble.
In many ways he reminds you of former Indians pitcher Brian Anderson. If he comes close to Anderson’s success, the Indians should be satisfied.
REID SANTOS, LHP, age 24
13th round, 2002; Saddleback JC; Wahiana, HI.
Projected 2007: Akron
Reid Santos IP H BB K W L SV ERA
2006 Kinston 70.2 55 31 65 2 0 4 3.44
2006 Akron 10.1 11 0 20 1 0 0 2.61
Minor career 338.1 331 105 309 12 13 6 4.13