After a rough 2009 season, the Angels are once again questioning what they have in the talented but frustrating Ervin Santana. Will he get his career back on track in 2010 or will it just be another head-scratching year for Ervin?
2009 Stats: 139.2 IP, 8-8, 159 H, 47 BB, 107 K, 5.03 ERA, 1.55 WHIP
2010 Bill James Projections: 183.0 IP, 10-10, 187 H, 57 BB, 152 K, 4.23 ERA, 1.33 WHIP
2010 Chone Projections: 173.0 IP, 10-10, 180 H, 51 BB, 143 K, 4.47 ERA, 1.34 WHIP
2010 Marcel Projections: 151.0 IP, 9-8, 154 H, 46 BB, 131 K, 4.41 ERA, 1.32 WHIP
2010 Monkey Projections*: 165.0 IP, 13-11, 175 H, 40 BB, 145 K, 4.25 ERA, 1.30 WHIP
*All stats courtesy of FanGraphs.com except the Monkey Projections which are strictly based on my own knowledge, logic and intuition.
2009 Review: It was an odd year for Ervin Santana and by that I don’t mean a strange year but rather a year that ended with an odd number, so that obviously meant he was in for a rough go and sure enough he was. Santana was one of many Angel starters to begin the season on the disabled list but even when he came back he never really seemed fully healthy. It wasn’t until the final two months of the season that Ervin started to come around, but even then it seemed like it was more smoke and mirrors than it was the return of his stellar stuff. By the time the playoffs rolled around, Ervin was so low on the rotation totem pole that he was the guy who lost his rotation spot and was forced into the bullpen.
3 Questions for 2010:
- Will Ervin be able to stay healthy? Health has to be a real concern for Santana coming into the season since he did have to make multiple trips to the disabled list last season. There was even some grumblings that he was going to have to undergo Tommy John surgery at one point, but he seemed to get to a healthy enough state to finish the year strong. That doesn’t mean Ervin is totally out of the woods yet, so keep a close eye on his elbow this in 2010.
- Can Santana keep the ball in the yard? What really hurt Santana last season was the long ball. Even though he pitched a mere 139.2, he allowed 24 home runs, just two shy of his career-high. That left Ervin with a groan-inducing 1.55 HR/9 rate. The good news is that his career HR/9 rate is just 1.18, so 2009 could have been something of a fluke… or not, since he had an almost identical homer rate in his 2007 campaign which was not so coincidentally the worst year of his career. It seems pretty obvious that we will get a good feel for what kind of season Santana is going to have based on how prone to gopheritis he is early in the season.
- Is he the next Ramon Ortiz? Great stuff, not so great results. That is always the story for Ervin Santana who always seems to have some kind of excuse for his struggles with consistency. Let’s not forget that this is a guy who forgot how to pitch on the road a few seasons ago. Santana is headed into the prime years of his career though, so if ever there was a time for him to finally have the fabled “it” just click for him, it is now.
2010 Preview: This alternating between great and terrible years thing is getting old and I think that this is the year it will come to and end for Ervin. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean he is going to be great from here on out. There might be stretches of greatness all the way but expect another up-and-down season from Ervin. There is always going to be something that throws Santana out of whack, be it injuries or mechanical issues in his delivery, I just don’t think that Ervin is ever going to put it all together. Still, he does have great stuff and likely be good in more starts than he is bad, making him a nice middle of the rotation starter, just not the ace that his innate talent says he should be.