Santos had pitched two seasons for the White Sox, including one full season as the White Sox closer. In 2011, Santos did a nice job, notching the first 30-save season for a White Sox closer in three years and striking out batters at an amazing rate.
Santos' 2011 performance joins a pretty good collection of closing performances for the White Sox in the last decade.
Following is a ranking of closers from each of the last 10 seasons for the White Sox—years in which the White Sox had multiple relievers filling the closer role for a significant part of the season—featuring combined closer statistics, along with individual statistics, to provide a full picture of the closer performances for the year.
Read along to see where Santos ranks.
Total stats in save situations: 1-7, 3.70 ERA, 36 SV, 90 IP, 105 K, 37 BB, 10.5 K/9, 2.85 K/BB, 1.30 WHIP
This committee of closers is one of the least memorable collections of closers in White Sox history. The White Sox had Tom Gordon way past his prime, Billy Koch—who Billy Beane duped Kenny Williams into acquiring for Keith Foulke and others—and the old White Sox diehard Damaso Marte.
White Sox fans don't like to think about Koch's tenure on the south side of Chicago.
Koch, who had seen better days with the Oakland Athletics, was abysmal. He posted a 7.50 earned run average in 12 innings pitched across 17 appearances in save situations. Koch struck out 12 batters and walked 11. His walks-and-hits-per-innings-pitched rate was 2.33.
Koch would be traded to the Florida Marlins in 2004 for Wilson Valdez.
Marte did a decent job in save situations. He saved 10 games with a 1.72 earned run average while pitching 21 innings in 28 appearances in save situations.
Gordon was a middling contributor in save situations. He was 0-3 with 12 saves, a 3.16 earned run average and a 1.28 walks-per-innings-pitched rate in 25.1 innings across 25 games in save situations.
Total stats: 0-6, 2.95 ERA, 107.2 IP, 35 SV, 88 K, 42 BB, 1.28 WHIP, 7.4 K9, 2.1 K/BB
This committee of closers is more forgettable than the 2003 group, mainly because Billy Koch and Tom Gordon weren't part of it. The total strikeout-to-walk ratio is unimpressive, but White Sox closers didn't allow too many runs.
Marte did nicely in save situations. He saved 10 games with a 2.57 earned run average, a 1.05 walks-and-hits-per-innings-pitched rate and 21 strikeouts in 21 innings across 28 appearances.
Antonio Osuna gave a solid contribution in save situations. He saved 11 games with a 1.52 earned run average, a 1.21 walks-and-hits-per-innings-pitched rate and 34 strikeouts in 29 innings across 23 appearances.
White Sox fans might wish that the White Sox received the type of year Keith Foulke posted in Oakland before he was traded. Foulke was 0-2 with a 5.27 earned run average, 11 saves, a 1.50 walks-and-hits-per-innings-pitched rate and 16 strikeouts in 27 innings pitched across 24 games pitched in save situations.
Foulke went on to lead the league in saves for the A's the next season.
He wasn't the only White Sox reliever to move on to bigger and better things in 2003. Rocky Biddle, the reliever with wild sideburns who saved one game for the White Sox in 2002, placed in the top five in saves for the Montreal Expos in 2003.
Total Stats: 3-6, 43 SV, 3.32 ERA, 109 IP, 128 K, 42 BB, 1.30 WHIP, 10.6 K/9, 3.1 K/BB
At first blush, this doesn't seem too bad. However, consider that Bobby Jenks didn't do very well in save situations, requiring several others to help out.
In his last season as a White Sox closer—and perhaps his last season as an MLB closer—Jenks seemed to be losing his stuff. Jenks had 27 saves with a clunky 4.97 earned run average, a 1.28 walks-and-hits-per-innings-pitched rate and 34 strikeouts in 29 innings in 32 appearances.
Matt Thornton did a good job in save situations. He saved eight games and had a 2.08 earned run average in 30.1 innings across 32 appearances.
Chris Sale showed up and started mowing down batters. He saved four games and allowed two runs while striking out 10 batters in 6.1 innings in six appearances.
J.J. Putz went 1-2 with a 2.79 earned run average and saved three games in five appearances.
3-4, 29 SV, 3.71 ERA, 52 games, 29 SV, 49 K, 16 BB, 3.06 K/BB, 2.7 BB/9, 8.3 K/9, 1.28 WHIP
Bobby Jenks had started to fall off a bit in 2009.
He had a runs above replacement figure of 12, down 14 from 2008. Also, his walks-and-hits-per-innings-pitched rate was in the middle of the pack. However, he was eighth in the majors in saves and sixth in walks per nine innings.
Also, Thornton saved four games and had a 2.88 earned run average in save situations.
Total stats: 0-5, 4.32 ERA, 34 SV, 93.2 IP, 83 K, 42 BB, 1.35 WHIP, 8.0 K/9, 1.98 SO/BB
Ozzie Guillen had the benefit of a Rookie of the Year-worthy closer in his first season as White Sox manager in Shingo Takatsu.
Takatsu was tied for the sixth-best walks-and-hits-per-innings-pitched rate in the MLB (0.98) and fifth in batting average against (.182) among closers. He was 6-4 with 19 saves and a 2.31 earned run average, albeit a 3.80 earned run average in save situations.
Takatsu placed second in Rookie of the Year voting to Bobby Crosby of the A's, whom Takatsu should have beaten for the award. Crosby had a middling .319 on-base percentage and 22 home runs.
Billy Koch had eight saves and a 10.32 earned run average in 12 appearances in save situations before being traded. Marte saved six games while working a 4.11 earned run average in 34 appearances in save situations.
3-4, 4.00 ERA, 41 SV, 67 games, 69.2 IP, 80 K, 31 BB, 1.39 WHIP, 4.0 BB/9, 10.3 K/9, 2.58 K/BB
Bobby Jenks had a very nice first full season as a closer. He was second in the AL in saves and made the All-Star team.
Even though he had a large number of saves, his wins above replacement figure (1.6) wasn't nearly as high as 2007 or 2008, nor was his runs above replacement figure (17). That's a result of his high earned run average and walks-and-hits-per-innings-pitched rate.
Jenks was 22nd in walks and hits per innings pitched among closers.
4-5, 3.55 ERA, 30 SV, 63 games, 63.1 IP, 92 K, 29 BB, 13.1 K/9, 3.17 K/BB, 1.1 WHIP, 4.1 BB/9
Even though Sergio Santos didn't pile up more than 40 saves like Jenks did in 2006, he still had a better season. That's considering that the White Sox won 11 fewer games in 2011 than 2006, affording Santos fewer save opportunities.
While Santos was eighth in the AL in saves, he ranked higher in some advanced statistical categories. Santos led AL closers in strikeouts per nine innings and batting average against (.181). He was seventh in walks and hits per innings pitched among MLB closers.
Meanwhile, Santos did blow six saves.
Chris Sale saved eight games and had a 4.11 earned run averaged with 36 strikeouts in 30.2 innings pitched across 27 appearances in save situations.
Total stats: 1-6, 3.20 ERA, 54 SV, 129.1 IP, 109 K, 55 BB, 1.25 WHIP, 7.9 K/9, 1.98 K/BB
Dustin Hermanson, then a 32-year-old journeyman, was a wonderfully prescient signing by Kenny Williams to help the closer position. Williams had signed Hermanson before the season to bring him to his sixth team in his 11th season.
Hermanson was brilliant in his first and only full year as a closer.
After Shingo Takatsu melted down early in the season (8.10 ERA, 4 HR allowed in 6.2 IP in April), Hermanson took hold of the closer role. He starred in the closer role most of the season. He placed ninth in the AL in saves.
Also, Hermanson had an amazing 1.32 earned run average and walked only nine batters in 41.1 innings in 44 appearances in save situations.
Bobby Jenks pitched later in the season when Hermanson was injured, saving six games with a 1.86 earned run average and 11 strikeouts in 9.2 innings across 11 appearances in save situations.
Takatsu ended up with eight saves and a 5.23 earned run average in save situations. He was released on August 1. After a short stint towards the end of the year, Takatsu left the MLB.
Also, Damaso Marte saved four games.
The White Sox tied with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim for the AL lead in saves.
3-1, 2.63 ERA, 30 SV, 61.2 IP, 57 games, 38 K, 17 BB, 1.1 WHIP, 2.5 BB/9, 2.24 K/BB
Jenks had a terrific season in the White Sox's division-winning 2008 campaign.
He placed eighth in the AL in saves. His walks-and-hits-per-innings-pitched rate was seventh in the MLB among closers. Also, he had a 2.7 wins above replacement figure and a runs above replacement mark of 26, which are very nice numbers for a closer.
Also, Jenks' 2.48 walks per nine innings ranked eighth among closers.
In the White Sox's unsuccessful American League Division Series, Jenks saved Game 3 with a scoreless ninth.
3-5, 2.77 ERA, 40 SV, 66 G, 65 IP, 56 K, 13 BB, 0.89 WHIP, 1.8 BB/9, 7.8 K/9, 4.3 K/BB
Bobby Jenks had a terrific year, especially considering how poorly the White Sox did.
He saved 40 of the White Sox's 72 games (55 percent) and made the All-Star team. Jenks placed second in the AL in saves.
Also, Jenks was seventh in the MLB in strikeout-to-walk ratio, third in walks and hits per innings pitched, and third in walks per nine innings among closers.
Jenks had his highest wins above replacement (2.9) and runs above replacement figures (28) in his career in 2007.