Houston Astros: Who could be next year’s Charlie Morton?

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 01: Charlie Morton
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 01: Charlie Morton /
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Houston Astros
MINNEAPOLIS, MN – SEPTEMBER 25: Hector Santiago /

Hector Santiago

Minnesota was not kind to Santiago.

Prior to his two seasons for the Twins, the southpaw never posted an ERA greater than 4.25, and that was during his final days in Los Angeles. Compared to other pitchers, he flew under the radar, offering solid numbers each season for the Halos.

Unlike Chatwood and Chacin, the lefty was elected as an All-Star one time in his career. While he allowed the most home runs in that season, he still set a career-high K/9 rate at 8.1 and his lowest walk rate.

Santiago is been prone to the long ball, but he can log several innings and has displayed his deceiving collection of pitches as well. He racked up more than 100 strikeouts in four straight seasons before 2017.

Although he can post positive punch-out outings, he also struggles mightily with his command. He’s never allowed fewer than 7.8 hits per nine innings as a starter, and he’s averaged between 3.5 and 4.3 walks per nine in each of the previous five years.

Santiago’s WHIP each probably shouldn’t correlate with as low an ERA as he’s had in the past. But he was masterful when he had runners in scoring position. Hitters only garnered a .197 average with runners in scoring position in 2015. That number was .222 in 2014 and .193 in 2013, perfectly explaining why he boasted a lower ERA.

Teams won’t want to deal with a copious amount of baserunners, but someone will take a chance on Santiago. And if he feels as comfortable as he was in Los Angeles, the 29-year-old can put together a very strong bounce-back season.