Today is the first day of a series where we’re going to look at every player that will be in Major League camp with the Cincinnati Reds. There will be some background information, profiling, projections, and more between now and the end of the spring. We are going to start out by working our way through the non-roster invitees before getting to the players on the 40-man roster who may be a bit more familiar to everyone. To see all of the posts in this series, you can click here.
Tony Santillan’s Background
Acquired: Drafted by Cincinnati, 2nd round, 2015.
Height/Weight: 6′ 3″ / 240 lbs.
Years of MLB Experience: None
Tony Santillan is one of the Cincinnati Reds top prospects. The right-handed pitcher is the 4th ranked prospect in the farm system, and the 2nd ranked pitcher. He’s worked his way up through the farm system, making stops at every level along the way through Double-A where he topped out in the 2018 season.
Tony Santillan’s 2018 season
As mentioned above, in 2018 Tony Santillan topped out in Double-A. That’s not where his season began, though. His season began in Advanced-A Daytona where he had a 2.70 ERA in 86.2 innings with 22 walks and 73 strikeouts. In the second half he was promoted to Double-A Pensacola where he threw another 62.1 innings over 11 starts. His ERA was 3.61 with 16 walks and 61 strikeouts in that span.
Tony Santillan’s Playing History
Prior to the 2018 season the big rub against the young right-handed starter was that his control wasn’t good enough, or consistent enough. When he was drafted out of high school he had a big-time arm, but control was a big concern. Prior to 2018 he had thrown 217.0 innings in his professional career and had walked 107 batters. He had always racked up good strikeout numbers, but the control issues, while improving over the years, were still concerning. It was the 2018 season that saw him take a step forward where he found consistency in the control department, along with just overall improvement in the area.
Projecting Tony Santillan for 2019
There’s not much of a chance that Tony Santillan breaks spring training with the Cincinnati Reds. He’s only made 11 starts above A-ball in his career. While his pure stuff doesn’t lack behind almost anyone in the entire organization, he won’t be 22-years-old until nearly three weeks into the regular season. With a seemingly set rotation, and some depth behind those guys, there’s no need to rush him.
Projections for 2019
How could Tony Santillan fit in Cincinnati in 2019?
As noted above, seeing Tony Santillan in the early part of 2019 doesn’t seem likely. But as the season goes along and he continues to pitch in the minors, if a spot opens up in the rotation he could slide into the rotation if he’s pitching well. It would be unlikely to see him come up in a bullpen role, unless it were at the end of the season and the Reds were in contention. In that scenario, as we’ve seen with others around baseball, a big-time arm coming up late as a potential weapon for a playoff run could be an option.