Toronto Blue Jays: Pitcher Sergio Santos Assumes Role as Closer

Bill FordCorrespondent IIIFebruary 23, 2012

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - SEPTEMBER 05: Sergio Santos #46 of the Chicago White Sox delivers a pitch against the Minnesota Twins in the ninth inning of game one of a doubleheader on September 5, 2011 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. White Sox defeated the Twins 2-1. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

The Toronto Blue Jays acquired right-handed pitcher Sergio Santos on Dec. 6, 2011 from the Chicago White Sox, and he is expected to assume the role of the much-needed closer.

Santos had been a promising shortstop but was converted to a pitcher, primarily as a reliever, by the White Sox's director of development, Buddy Bell.

He has a high-velocity fastball that reaches the high 90s, and is known to throw a nasty slider. His changeup and curveball are highly effective, as well.

Setting an MLB record that had been held by Mariano Rivera since 2005, he threw his 25th straight scoreless appearance against Baltimore on August 11, 2011. He eventually increased that to 30.

Since his conversion from a shortstop to a pitcher, he has pitched in two seasons. In 2010 and 2011 combined, he had a win-loss record of 6-7, 31 saves and 148 strikeouts with an ERA of 3.29 in 115 innings pitched.

Santos spent a good amount of time developing in the minor-league system for the White Sox and refined his pitches and mechanics. He advanced through three minor-league levels in 2009 and made his MLB pitching debut in 2010.

The 2011 season with Chicago proved to be a breakout season for Santos. He had a 4-5 record with a 3.55 ERA, and in 35 opportunities he had 30 saves and struck out 92 batters in 63.1 innings.

Sergio Santos is young and hasn't hit his prime just yet. Spring training will further strengthen him and prepare him for what appears to be the most solid-looking pitching staff that Toronto has had in many years.