After missing 80 games due to a suspension for PEDs in 2015, Ervin Santana returned to form last season and gave Minnesota the reliable top-of-the-rotation starter they expected after he signed a four-year, $54 million contract. Santana missed a few weeks in May due to a sore back, but he found his form as the weather warmed. He had a 2.65 ERA and 8.25 K/9 after the All-Star break. Santana had his best average fastball velocity in six years, put up a decent strikeout rate (7.4 K/9) and had decent control (2.63 BB/9). His success didn't translate to many wins, however, as Minnesota's anemic offense and poor fielding gave him little support. He should be poised to offer some stability again at the top of Minnesota's rotation and perhaps in stretches as a fantasy No. 5 starter, but counting on him as anything more in mixed leagues will burn aggressive bidders. Note his 3.81 FIP as a palpable downside.
Santana allowed one run on four hits and three walks while striking out batters over six innings during Thursday's loss to Cleveland. Santana didn't factor into the decision, as he was the victim of a climbing pitch count and poor run support Thursday. He threw just 66 of 113 pitches for strikes, and the Twins scored only two runs in the game. Santana is still off to a sterling start with a 3-0 record, 0.64 ERA, 0.61 WHIP and 20 strikeouts through 28 innings. While it sure would be nice to see an uptick in strikeouts, it's tough to complain through his first four outings.
Santana threw a one-hit shutout against the White Sox on Saturday to improve to 3-0. He had eight strikeouts and one walk. Santana continues his strong beginning to the season, as he has a 0.41 ERA. He does have just a 6.2 K/9, but Saturday's outing shows he has the potential to add more strikeouts.
Santana threw six scoreless innings with four strikeouts and two walks while allowing just two hits to improve to 2-0 in Sunday's win over the White Sox. Santana has given up just one run in 13 innings with seven strikeouts this season. While we'd like to see an increased strikeout rate from last season (7.4 K/9 last year), it's hard to argue with his early success.
Santana (1-0) went seven innings, allowing just one run on two hits and two walks while striking out three in Monday's Opening Day win over the Royals. The one run came on a Mike Moustakas solo homer. Santana was a bright spot for Minnesota's rotation last year, and he's picked up right where he left off. While the 34-year-old doesn't jump off the page (7.4 K/9 last year), he's proven to be durable and can be a solid back-end fantasy starter in the right matchups.
Santana will start Saturday against Team USA in the WBC, MLB.com reports. Santana will make his 2017 debut for Team Dominican Republic after replacing Bartolo Colon in the designated pitching pool earlier in the week. The Twins' likely Opening Day starter, Santana has not allowed a run in five Grapefruit League innings (two starts) this spring. He will oppose Danny Duffy on Saturday.
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