SF Giants top prospects: No. 25 — RHP Gregory Santos
Highest Level: Class-A (Augusta)
Acquired: Trade (2017)
Future-Value Grade: 40
Gregory Santos was a lottery ticket attached to Shaun Anderson by the Boston Red Sox when the Giants sent Eduardo Nunez east at the 2017 trade deadline. Almost as soon as he was acquired, he began looking like a steal.
At just 18, Santos posted a 3-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio and struck out nearly a batter an inning at Salem-Keizer out of the rotation. Heading into 2019, he seemed on the cusp of breaking out. However, a series of injuries limited him to just eight starts at Class-A Augusta and prevented him from becoming a household name.
Like Kervin Castro, Santos excelled in abbreviated outings at instructs and was placed on the Giants 40-man roster to prevent him from being selected in the Rule 5 Draft. While I was excited to see him get another shot to start, it appears the Giants have taken that off the table.
Santos has always worked off a power fastball and slider that both have plus projection. His fastball has historically played below its velocity, but an additional jump last fall, it averaged 98 mph at instructs, gives him more room for error. He had begun throwing a changeup for strikes in 2019, but without any exceptional movement, it’ll likely be left behind in his transition to the pen.
Frankly, I disagree with the Giants’ decision to move Santos and Castro away from starting. If I were in another front office, I’d see if I could pry them away for a high-floor, low-ceiling starter. Both were set to rank among my top 20 prospects in the system, with Santos cracking the top 10 prior to the conversion. Out of the bullpen, Santos is further along a Doval-like trajectory. He has two potential plus offerings and has begun finding more consistent control with both pitches. He’s probably the current favorite to be the Giants closer of the future.