Another Dominican pitcher, Lisandro Santos, rising fast in Yankees farm system

Lisandro Santos, who the Yankees acquired from the Braves, is making a significant impact at the Double-A Somerset.

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Two Dominican flame throwers, Jhony Brito and Randy Vasquez, made history with memorable debuts in pinstripes this season. Another of their compatriot, Lisandro Santos, who the Yankees acquired from the Braves, is making a significant impact at the Double-A Somerset.

During the current season, Lisandro Santos has participated in 20 games as a member of the Patriots. Impressively, the 24-year-old pitcher has achieved career-best statistics, boasting a 2.91 ERA and a 1.206 WHIP. 

Notably, his home run rate has significantly decreased from 1.47 while playing for Double-A Mississippi to 0.26. In his minor league career, Lisandro Santos has accumulated a record of 36 wins and 36 losses, accompanied by a solid 3.32 ERA. Additionally, he has recorded 341 strikeouts over 290 innings pitched.

Who is Lisandro Santos?

When Lisandro Santos was just 12 years old, he didn’t have big dreams or plans for his future. He lived in a small town in the Dominican Republic called Santiago and spent most of his time playing baseball with his friends. It was a carefree time filled with joy and happiness, without any worries or expectations.

However, Lisandro Santos had a special talent that couldn’t go unnoticed. People started talking about him because he was a skilled left-handed pitcher who could throw the ball with great force. There were rumors that, with the right guidance and training, he had the potential to secure a contract with a major league baseball team. This was the ultimate dream for any young Dominican child who had ever held a bat or a glove in their hands.

As the news about Lisandro Santos’ talent spread, it eventually reached the ears of a friend, who owned a corner-store deli in his neighborhood. This deli was a popular spot where people would gather to eat, drink, socialize, and have conversations. The owner, Elba Paulino, was known for being a listener and advisor to many. Lisandro Santos would visit the store every morning, and whenever he walked in, the owner used to share with him the latest updates and rumors about his baseball skills.

Lisandro Santos recalled that people had mentioned to the owner that he was talented and threw the ball with a lot of force. He was only 12 years old when these comments started circulating, and he had no idea about the speed of his pitches. 

According to him, it wasn’t until he reached the age of 15 that someone finally measured the velocity of his throws. At that point, it was revealed that he was consistently throwing the ball at a speed of 85–86 mph.

Despite his talent, Lisandro Santos didn’t view a career in professional baseball as something that could realistically happen for him. It seemed unattainable because his family lacked the necessary resources to support such a pursuit. He was just a regular kid, enjoying his time playing with friends and looking up to his favorite pitcher, Aroldis Chapman, who is also a left-handed hard thrower.

The start of his baseball career

Nonetheless, Paulino, who had personal experience as the parent of a pitching prospect named Herminio Germoso in the Tampa Bay Rays system, recognized Lisandro Santos’ potential. The cafe owner also had the means and connections necessary to transform this seemingly unattainable dream into a possible reality.

According to Lisandro Santos, he was motivated to engage in playing baseball due to the encouragement he received from Paulino, who Paulino further offered her support by expressing her intention to accompany him to appropriate locations, cover expenses related to clothing and travel, and provide breakfast. Considering the proposal, Lisandro Santos ultimately reached an agreement and accepted her assistance.

Thanks to Paulino’s involvement, Lisandro Santos had the opportunity to meet Hector Ferreira, the owner of a baseball academy. Ferreira, taking a financial risk, decided to support the pitcher and connected him with trainer Aldo Marrero. With Marrero’s guidance, the young thrower was able to enhance his natural pitching abilities and refine his skills as a pitcher.

At the age of 15, Lisandro Santos, despite his slim build, achieved a speed of 86 mph on the radar gun, showcasing his impressive pitching ability. Additionally, his coach praised his exceptional “big curveball.”  These remarkable skills garnered the attention of Major League Baseball (MLB) teams, with the Seattle Mariners extending an invitation for a tryout. Lisandro Santos captivated the Mariners with his composure and the power behind his fastball, leading them to schedule a second session for further evaluation.

According to him, his coach informed him that if he could replicate his performance of throwing at a speed of 85–86 mph, he would have the opportunity to secure a $100,000 contract. Filled with hope, Lisandro Santos woke up that day with a positive outlook. His father accompanied him to the tryout, aware of the potential of securing a contract worth six figures. The significance of such a sum of money could be life-changing for a financially struggling family in the Dominican Republic.

Executing his usual stretching routine and warming up just as he always did before throwing, Lisandro Santos followed his familiar pre-pitch routine. He, however, experienced a sudden snapping sensation and excruciating pain in his elbow on the 13th pitch. Contrary to the highly anticipated big contract, the young pitcher received devastating news — he had suffered a torn ligament.

Due to his young age, Lisandro Santos was deemed ineligible for surgery, leading doctors to prescribe a combination of medication and rehabilitation to address his injury. He had to patiently wait for his injury to heal and then start his journey anew. It took nearly three years, right before he reached the age of 18, for another major league team to offer him an opportunity. The Atlanta Braves took a chance on Lisandro Santos and signed him for $130,000.

Throughout six seasons, the pitcher dedicated himself to the Atlanta Braves’ minor league system. However, he couldn’t help but feel that he wasn’t receiving the opportunities he believed he deserved. Despite reaching Double-A Mississippi on two occasions, Lisandro Santos had limited chances to prove himself. In the 37 appearances he made, he recorded a 3.96 ERA, showcasing his potential and skills as a pitcher.

Yankees snapped Lisandro Santos

Following the expiration of his contract in 2022, the young pitcher decided to enter free agency. Recognizing the potential in his strong left-handed pitching abilities, the New York Yankees offered him a minor league contract, signing him to their organization.

Lisandro Santos was ready to honor his contract, enduring both positive and negative experiences along the way. However, he conveyed a sense of stagnation, perceiving a lack of progress in his career. This thought inspired him to change course and search for a different team that would give him the meritorious opportunity he sought.

According to Somerset pitching coach Grayson Crawford, the notable improvement observed in Lisandro Santos’ performance with the Yankees can be attributed to his increased comfort and proficiency with his secondary pitches.

Crawford commented on the pitcher’s progress, highlighting the significance of incorporating a changeup into his repertoire. He is happy to see that the young pitcher has already utilized the changeup more frequently in the current year compared to the entirety of the previous season. Lisandro Santos himself described the situation, expressing that he now possesses improved pitch selection and quality.

With the addition of a 96-mph fastball, Lisandro Santos now possesses a changeup that significantly aids him in effectively retiring right-handed batters. Currently, right-handed hitters are struggling against Santos, batting a mere.132 against him. This marks a notable improvement from the.207 batting average they had against him in the previous year.

Right-handed batters hit all seven of Lisandro Santos’ home runs during the previous season. However, in the current season, Santos has not allowed a single home run to any right-handed batter so far, showcasing significant progress in his performance.

Despite his improvements, Lisandro Santos continues to issue a high number of walks, which consequently has a negative impact on his earned run average (ERA) and walks plus hits per inning pitched (WHIP) statistics. If he can address this issue and reduce his walk rate, it could pave the way for his promotion to Triple-A, bringing him one step closer to achieving his goal of reaching the major leagues.

Revealing his aspirations, Lisandro Santos admits that he has a singular motivation—to reach the major leagues.

What do you think? Leave your comment below.

2 thoughts on “Another Dominican pitcher, Lisandro Santos, rising fast in Yankees farm system

  1. Wow! You lifted this whole article from nj.com! Changed a few words, funked up the English a little and put your name on it! #shame!

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