The New York Mets have made a bullpen addition in light of the Edwin Diaz crushing injury. While it's good to see them make an addition, the player they added is not one Mets fans were hoping for or expecting.
The Mets claimed Dennis Santana off of waivers from the Minnesota Twins. This acquisition has some good and a lot of bad.
One thing for Mets fans to love about the Dennis Santana addition
The stuff is there for Dennis Santana. He averaged 96.7 mph on a sinker which he threw 39% of the time last season. He throws hard and has two really solid breaking pitches to work with as well.
The changeup is not a pitch Santana goes to often, but in the 13.3% of the time that he did throw it, the right-hander held opposing batters to a .128 average with a .211 xBA. Definitely not bad.
His best pitch is his sider, as he threw it 40.5% of the time in 2022 and had success with it. Opponents hit just .200 with a .209 xBA against his slider with one home run in the 401 times he threw it. Opponents whiffed at that pitch 41% of the time. For reference, opponents whiffed at Adam Ottavino's slider 38.4% of the time last season, and Mets fans know how great his slider is.
Jeremy Hefner has had a lot of success with relievers who have excellent sliders, Ottavino is one of them. Santana with his stuff could easily be another success story.
One thing for Mets fans to hate about the Dennis Santana addition
While having good stuff is definitely great, it's even better to have results. Santana does not have those at all.
In his five MLB seasons he has a 5.12 ERA in 134 appearances and 139 innings pitched while pitching for the Dodgers and Rangers.
Santana has decent strikeout numbers, fanning batters at a 21% clip in his career, but the walk rate is unsustainably high. If Santana wants to stick around for the entire season, he cannot be walking hitters at an 11.8% rate like he has in his MLB career. Stuff is great, but you have to know where it's going to be successful.
We've seen plenty of Mets pitchers with great stuff but couldn't do anything with it. 5.12 ERA is not something that sparks a lot of optimism, but his 4.15 FIP and excellent slider should give Mets fans some sort of confidence that Jeremy Hefner can get the most out of this reliever.