SF Giants Prospects: Reviewing Gregory Santos’ Debut
Gregory Santos was almost forgotten about as a prospect after an injury-plagued 2019 season at Augusta. However, a move to the bullpen helped him make a loud comeback by pumping triple-digit fastballs in a breakout Instructional League performance last fall. He’s carried that success over to this year and quickly earned a callup.
With two big-league games under his belt, it’s finally time to dig into the Statcast data. Santos’ fastball is as expected velocity-wise, averaging 97.4 MPH, topping at 98.9 MPH with an above-average 2334 RPM spin rate. However, unlike Doval, Santos’ fastball has some red flags. Santos throws a sinking fastball with average vertical movement on par with top sinkerballers without any significant horizontal movement normally associated with the pitch. That’s a dangerous combination.
Santos’ velocity should help cover up some of those issues, but his nasty slider will be his carrying pitch. With an average velocity of 88.9 MPH, it would be the eighth-fastest slider among all qualified pitchers this season. His vertical break versus average would rank ahead of Sonny Gray, and his horizontal break versus average would rank ahead of Carlos Rodon. In short, Santos’ slider is hard and sharp, and you can definitely see it on video.
Like Doval, Santos has never been known for strong command, and his heat map has left even more room for improvement thus far. He did flash a useful changeup at times as a starter, but it has disappeared since his move to the pen. It might be a useful change of pace pitch, though, especially while he still refines his location.
SF Giants Prospects: Final Thoughts on Camilo Doval and Gregory Santos
Both Camilo Doval and Gregory Santos’ initial pitching appearances were intriguing. Both flashed their nasty stuff, and the inconsistent command fans should expect from players who had never played above High-A. There were some intriguing finds once we got Statcast numbers on each of them, such as Doval’s weird arm-side sliders and Santos’ dropping high-90s heater. However, we also confirmed much of what we have heard, read, and seen throughout their minor-league careers. Both have the potential to be elite big-league relievers. At this point, the only question remains how well they can command their pitches.
The SF Giants bullpen has had its struggles in recent seasons. Without a star reliever, it’s been hard to find consistency, especially in the eighth and ninth innings. However, young prospects Camilo Doval and Gregory Santos have already flashed the potential to be the future at the back of San Francisco’s pen.