Is Hector Santiago Making His Case to be in the White Sox Starting Rotation?

After a week and a half of White Sox Spring Training games, there have been a mix of both good and bad pitching performances. On one end of the spectrum, we have potential starting pitcher Carson Fulmer. Unfortunately for the right-hander, his performances would have to be placed under the “bad” category. Fulmer has struggled mightily in his first two starts, surrendering four runs in each. Poor command has resulted in pitches being left out over the plate for hitters to feast on. Of course, it is still way too early to come to conclusions, especially after just two Spring Training appearances. However, should Fulmer continue to run into issues without signs of improvement over the next few weeks, the team may have to consider another arm to serve as the team’s fifth starter.

Right now, the White Sox starting rotation will most likely consist of James Shields, Lucas Giolito, Reynaldo Lopez, and Miguel Gonzalez. With Carlos Rodon expected to miss the first few months of the season, the team will need someone to fill the void. Luckily for the Sox, one pitcher has been very impressive early on and can be found on the “good” side of the spectrum. That pitcher is Hector Santiago. The 30-year-old lefty, who the team signed in mid-February to a minor league deal, has delivered three straight quality outings. In eight innings pitched, thus far, Santiago has given up just one run, a walk, and seven hits while striking out nine batters. It is also worth nothing that his first seven innings pitched were scoreless and several of the hits he allowed never left the infield. His off-speed pitches have also looked very sharp, contributing to his high number of strikeouts.

Some fans may remember Hector Santiago from his previous stint with the team. He pitched for the White Sox from 2011-2013, before being dealt away in a three-way trade for outfielder Adam Eaton. Santiago put up some decent numbers in his 224.2 innings pitched for the Sox. He struck out 218 batters while going 8-10 with a 3.41 ERA. Two years after leaving the team, he earned an all-star appearance with the Los Angeles Angels. However, as of late, the lefty has struggled due to injuries and has not thrown more than 70.1 innings during the past two seasons. Rick Hahn and co. knew this would be another reclamation project for Don Cooper when they signed Santiago. With this being such a low risk and high reward type of deal, the White Sox had nothing to lose and it looks like the move could pay off for them.

As for Carson Fulmer, the pitcher has gone through some struggles before. For instance, last year in his first start with the White Sox, the pitcher gave up six earned runs in an inning and a third. However, he bounced back with six strong appearances to close out the year. In that time, he gave up only four earned runs in 22.0 innings pitched (1.64 ERA).  With there still being a lot of Spring Training left, fans should not give up on Fulmer just yet. He has plenty of time to turn things around and find his groove. There is no doubt that he has the talent and the potential to pitch every five days come Opening Day.

In the end, only time will tell what happens to Carson Fulmer and Hector Santiago. This will definitely be an interesting story line to follow throughout the next few weeks. Once late March rolls around, we should have a much clearer picture of where these two pitchers stand. Whether it’s in the bullpen or the starting rotation, both Santiago and Fulmer will be making an impact on the South Side during the 2018 season.

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