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Bullish or Bearish: Ervin Santana

By Matthew Kirkeby - 5 years ago in MLB News

Ervin Santana

Ervin Santana

With a 3.07 ERA this year, after giving up 5 to the Royals on Friday, Ervin Santana has looked like an excellent pitcher this year according to surface stats.  However a quick look at his page on fangraphs.com and it’s clearly time to put this fairlytale season to bed.  Don’t get me wrong, Ervin Santana has been a competent number 3 starter for most of his career and even flashed as 2 for small stretches.  The numbers were much different those years.  After a decade plus of Jekyll and Hyde-like statlines, that 1.09 conceals a dirty little secret:  Ervin Santana’s ERA should be about 4.58 (FIP) to 4.82 (xFIP).

That almost automatically disqualifies him from consideration for your cash lineup.  His 3.06 walk rate reminds us he has average, not plus control.  That would be ok if we were talking about a strikeout artist, but we are talking about a 6.88 K/9, quite worse than league average.  Sanatana currently sports a .208 BABIP allowed, which screams luck.  BABIP is a stat that reliably regresses to league norms.  Some pitchers may establish their own baselines in the .280 (low) or .325 (high) ranges respectively, but no one sports a .208 for a full season.  Similarly, the league average Left on Base Percentage is around 75%; Santana currently sits at 86.2% and while he wouldn’t be the first pitcher to hold that over a full season, these things regress more often than not.

Ervin Santana

All these things mean that Santana’s floor is average at best.  I could imagine a scenario where I didn’t like any other pitcher at cost and not want to spend up.  I may take Santana in a good matchup on that night.  But at $8,800, like he was Friday night on Fan Duel?  Hell no.  The DFS market needs to chill out on him, but in the mean time you are looking to fade or ignore him in pretty much all cases until that price gets to $7,500 or below.

I’m not sure I’d ever play him in a tournament.  Maybe if his price was down around $6,600, but there’s usually someone with talent and upside available for that price or a few bucks more.  Ervin Santana isn’t terrible.  He just isn’t very good.

I am BEARISH on Ervin Santana

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