The SF Giants will be without one of their most consistent hitters for at least the next ten days after placing second baseman Donovan Solano on the injured list. However, fans have reason to be excited after the organization announced that right-handed pitching prospect Gregory Santos will join the big-league bullpen to fill Solano’s roster spot. Santos was ranked the 25th best prospect in the organization heading into the season and will be making his MLB debut at just 21.
Santos was signed out of the Dominican Republic by the Boston Red Sox as a 16-year-old in 2016. After spending a season and a half with the Red Sox’s Dominican Summer League affiliate, he was sent to the Giants in a trade alongside pitcher Shaun Anderson for infielder Eduardo Nunez at the 2017 trade deadline. Considered a lottery ticket at the time, Santos’ stock quickly increased upon joining the Giants organization.
The SF Giants promoted prospect Gregory Santos to the MLB roster.
The following season, at just 18, Santos struck out nearly a batter per inning pitched at Low-A Salem-Keizer and seemed on the cusp of becoming the best pitching prospect in the Giants system. However, a series of injuries throughout 2019 limited him to just eight mediocre starts at Class-A Augusta.
Without a minor-league season in 2020, Santos never received another opportunity to prove he could be a big-league starter. Santos worked off a power fastball and slider that both had the potential to become plus big-league pitches. While he had struggled with command over his young career, many scouts believed he could become a high-leverage reliever.
In abbreviated outings at the instructional league last fall, Santos put on a show. His already strong fastball added even more velocity, averaging 98 mph, alongside the continued development of his slider. By the end of the offseason, Santos had impressed FanGraphs prospect expert Eric Longenhagen enough to rank him among MLB’s top-100 prospects.
While I was excited to see Santos get one more shot as a starter, the Giants player development staff opted to convert him to one-inning relief roles. Santos would have ranked among my ten-best prospects in the system had they not done so. Nevertheless, that should not take away from his tantalizing pitch arsenal that has been on display at the alternate site in Sacramento, where he has touched 101 mph.
The SF Giants will be missing one of their best hitters with Donovan Solano on the injured list. However, given the bullpen’s recent struggles, adding Gregory Santos to the fray should add another tantalizing young arm for manager Gabe Kapler out of the bullpen.