Yerry De Los Santos would likely figure into the potential closer scene at the major league level. He’s only allowed seven earned runs in 21.1 innings while striking out 24.4% of batters faced. His BB% also sits at a quality 7.8%. Although De Los Santos does have a 1.25 HR/9 and has given up three home runs, he has a ground ball rate well above 50% (55.2%) while holding opposing hitters to league average rates in exit velo and hard hit percentage. The sinkerballer’s 15.8% HR/FB rate is fluky at best, based on how often he induces ground balls and how much hard contact he limits.
The newest addition to long-term bullpen plans in Colin Holderman may also be in consideration. Acquired for Daniel Vogelbach on July 22nd, Holderman pitched 17.2 innings with the New York Mets, allowing just four earned runs while striking out 18. He did surrender seven free passes, but the right-hander’s full transition to the bullpen this year looks to be a success, based on what he has done in the major leagues and with the Mets’ and Pirates’ Triple-A affiliates. He’s seen an uptick in velocity with his sinker, now sitting in the mid-to-upper-90s.
I think all these names have a chance to be the Pirates’ next closing pitcher. Tahnaj Thomas and Luis Ortiz are similar arms, as they’re hard-throwing righties with a plus-plus fastball and slider but lack a third pitch. Yerry De Los Santos would likely be the immediate answer to the 9th inning, with Holderman taking over the 8th inning. However, I think the idea of getting a lefty who gets a lot of strikeouts and ground balls in the 9th inning is interesting with Samaniego.