New York Mets News

Mets: Six surprise players who could win a roster spot in Spring Training

PORT ST. LUCIE, FL - MARCH 06: The Grapefruit League logo on the third base line before a spring training game between the Houston Astros and New York Mets at First Data Field on March 6, 2018 in Port St. Lucie, Florida. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
PORT ST. LUCIE, FL - MARCH 06: The Grapefruit League logo on the third base line before a spring training game between the Houston Astros and New York Mets at First Data Field on March 6, 2018 in Port St. Lucie, Florida. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) /
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Hector Santiago

A journeyman pitcher, Hector Santiago spent the majority of his major league career as a starter before transitioning to the bullpen with the Chicago White Sox last season.

A former All-Star pitcher, Santiago originally began his career back in Chicago back in 2011 before being traded to the Angels in 2014. He was traded by the Angels to the Twins at the 2016 trade deadline, where he spent the remainder of 2017 with as well before returning to the White Sox again in 2018.

Since 2013, Santiago has spent the majority of his time as a starting pitcher in the big leagues, but struggled in recent years, leading to his transition as a left-handed relief pitcher last season.

He finished the season with a 4.41 ERA over 102.0 innings spanning over 49 appearances (7 starts), but this stat line doesn’t accurately portray how effective he ended up being as a reliever.

n his 42 relief appearances last season, Santiago pitched a total of 69.2 innings with a 3.62 ERA and a pair of saves. Additionally, he posted a 1.15 ERA in August and a 1.98 ERA in September of last year.

Santiago will be joining the Mets this off-season on a minor league contract as a non-roster invitee, meaning that he is a “low risk, high reward”. As he has no guaranteed salary or long-term commitment, so if he underperforms, the Mets can cut him at any time.

With that said, Santiago showed last season that he can be an effective relief pitcher, and if he performs similarly to the way that he did toward the end of last season, he may very well for the Mets hand and break camp with the team, giving them another quality relief pitcher to help bolster the bullpen.

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