Pittsburgh Pirates: Do Not Forget About Edgar Santana In 2021

Feb 24, 2020; Tampa, Florida, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates relief pitcher Edgar Santana (37) throws a pitch during the third inning against the New York Yankees at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Feb 24, 2020; Tampa, Florida, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates relief pitcher Edgar Santana (37) throws a pitch during the third inning against the New York Yankees at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /
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After missing the 2020 season due to suspension, reliever Edgar Santana will be ready to bounce back for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2021

During the 2017 and 2018 seasons, Edgar Santana was one of the most reliable pitchers out of the bullpen for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Snatana pitched 84.1 innings in 88 games during these two seasons. In these two seasons, Santana posted a 3.31 ERA and a 3.79 FIP.

As the 2018 season was wrapping up, Santana appeared primed to seize a vital high leverage role in the bullpen for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Unfortunately, this is where the injury bug bit. Santana underwent Tommy Jonh surgery, which led to him missing the entire 2019 season.

Entering spring training back in February, and prior to the COVID-19 pandemic shutting down baseball, Santana was ready to go for the 2020 season and ready to reclaim his role as a key piece of the Pirate bullpen. On June 28th, however, Santana would fail a PED test, leading to a suspension that cost him the entire 2020 season.

Originally Santana’s suspension was to be for 80 games. However, MLB would rule that due to the 2020 season being shortened that a 60 game suspension would suffice. Due to this, Santana will now be ready to go for the 2021 season.

During his two MLB seasons Santana walked 6.8% of batters faced and struck out 21.0%. His ground ball rate was a strong 45.6%, he limited opposing batters to a .238 batting average and he limited opposing batters t oa 5.6% barrel rate, which is better than league average.

Entering the 2021 season Richard Rodriguez projects as the likely closer for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Chris Stratton will also be slotted into a high leverage role. Otherwise, the bullpen is wide open for relievers who can step up, Santana included.

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If Santana pitches anywhere near the way he did in 2017 and 2018, he will be a key member of the Pirate bullpen in 2021. If Rodriguez is traded, which there has been some smoke to, then Santana could even compete for the closer role. So, do not overlook or forget about Santana during the 2021 season.

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