Basically a two pitch pitcher, Santana occaisionally mixed in a changeup which averaged 83 mph. It had an xMov and zMov of -3.5 and 5.5, respectively. In 2019, hitters slashed .667/.750/1.667 off the pitch so it is clear Santana needs to make some adjustments. It is also possible that Santana may eliminate the pitch altogether, instead focusing on his other pitches.
Santana threw his fastball over 51% of the time in 2019 but struggled with it, as hitters slashed .333/.351/.818 for a wRC+ of 197. The pitch averages 90 mph and is a true four-seam fastball with limited horizontal movement. Look for Santana to make adjustments if he wishes to have success in 2020.
Santana’s slider was his most effective pitch in 2019, although hitters still had above average success against it. With only a 15% K% and a 68.8% FB%, it is clear that hitters had no problem getting the ball in the air. The pitch averaged 82 mph and has relatively good horizontal and downward break.
Santana had surgery on his middle finger of his pitching hand in February 2018 and was out until late July. When he did come back, his velocity was down 4 mph to 89.1, and after five starts, he was shut down for the remainder of the season with recurring symptoms related to the finger surgery. The four-seamer was an asset for Santana in 2016 and 2017, with 10.8 and 4.0 pVals respectively, so with a return of health and velocity could bring success.
The injury played a major role in the struggles Santana had with his once-elite slider. In fact, 2018 was the first season the pitch had lower than a 7.7 pVal since his rookie season. The SwStr%, O-swing%, and K% were all dramatically down compared with previous years, and the LD% ticked up to 40.0, albeit in a relatively small sample.
Like his other pitches, the velocity was down on Santana’s changeup. The pitch plays off his two-seamer but comes in about 7 mph slower.
The only year Santana’s two-seamer was a positive pitch according to pVal, was 2016, the only year in which the pitch had a sub-40 Zone%. Every other year, he’s allowed a wOBA higher than .350 on the pitch.