On Wednesday, the Pittsburgh Pirates found out that they will be without one of their best relief pitchers in 2019
This season, the Pittsburgh Pirates have had one of the best bullpens in the National League. A big reason for the bullpen’s success has been rookie right hander Edgar Santana.
In 69 games this season Santana posted a 3.26 ERA and a 3.58 FIP in 66 1/3 innings pitched. He owned a 4.4% walk rate, 19.9% strikeout rate, and became one of Clint Hurdle‘s most trusted high leverage relievers.
Looking ahead to the 2019 season the Pirates appear ready to have one of the best bullpens in the league once again. A big reason for this was Santana. However, it turns out the Pirates will be without Santana in 2019.
After undergoing an MRI on his right elbow on Monday, a tear in the ulnar collateral ligament has been found. For Santana, this means going under the knife for Tommy John Surgery. Like Chad Kuhl, who had this same procedure done last week, Santana will now miss the entire 2019 season.
In Santana’s final outing of the season it was clear something was wrong. Friday night against the Brewers Santana faced three batters, allowed two home runs, and was then lifted from the game. Prior to this outing, Santana had allowed just five home runs all season.
Despite the loss of Santana, the Pirates still figure to have a strong bullpen in 2019. Anchored by Felipe Vazquez, Keone Kela, Kyle Crick, and Richard Rodriguez, the Bucs have four reliable high leverage relievers. Nick Burdi is a promising young relief arm as well.
However, with the loss of Santana, adding relief help may become more of a priority for the team this offseason. Adding left-handed bullpen help was already going to be toward the top of Neal Huntington’s offseason plans, but adding another right-handed reliever may be now, too.