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Pirates All 40: Can a Healthy Yerry De Los Santos Make a Difference?



Yerry De Los Santos-Pittsburgh Pirates

This is the first in a series of stories looking at members of the Pittsburgh Pirates 40-man roster:

The 2022 Pittsburgh Pirates brought little to no joy to Pittsburgh, but there were still some intriguing names to grace PNC Park. One of those names was Yerry De Los Santos.

De Los Santos signed with the Pirates for $100,000 back in 2014 at the age of 16. De Los Santos made his professional debut a year later for the Dominican Summer League Pirates.

2015 was a unique year for the 17-year-old, as it marked the only year the Pirates used him as a starter. De Los Santos finished his first year with 59 innings pitched and an ERA of 4.73.

The following year, De Los Santos missed the entire season with Tommy John Surgery and was also limited in 2017 after being shut down with just five relief appearances.

Eventually, De Los Santos would make it up to Greensboro in 2019, where he dominated as their closer. In an extremely hitter-friendly ballpark in Greensboro, De Los Santos held opponents to a .114/.205/.127 slash line while pitching at home.

De Los Santos would finish the 2019 season with a 1.44 ERA in 50 innings pitched while holding opponents to a .183 batting average.

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Fast forward to the 2021 season, De Los Santos opened up on the Pirates Double-A squad in Altoona. Unfortunately, De Los Santos missed the majority of the season with a forearm strain.

When De Los Santos returned in ’21, he finished the season strong and even pitched four scoreless outings at the Triple-A level.

The now 24-year-old started the ’22 season in Triple-A, and he started it with an impressive string of outings. In his 15.2 innings pitched at Triple-A in ’22, De Los Santos allowed just three earned runs and earned three saves in the process.

De Los Santos was called up to the big leagues on May 23, culminating seven years of battling in the minors to get his shot. Two days later, De Los Santos would make his major league debut against the Colorado Rockies and pitched a scoreless frame.

De Los Santos was a very serviceable reliever for the Pirates, especially in June and July.

In June, De Los Santos held opponents to a .167/.222/.357 slash line with an OPS of .579 with four earned runs in 11.2 innings pitched.

In July, De Los Santos kept opponents in check with a .235/.316/.353 with an OPS of .669 with three earned runs in nine innings.

De Los Santos technically has three pitches in his arsenal with a sinker, slider, and four-seam, but he will stick to his sinker and slider the majority of the time.

De Los Santos threw his sinker around 59% of the time and averaged 95.3 mph, and his slider was used 39.9% of the time and averaged around 84 mph.

The Dominican native was put on the shelf for the rest of the season on August 15 with a right lat strain, and a pattern of injuries was starting to creep up for the hopeful prospect.

If Yerry De Los Santos can stay healthy and use his two-pitch mix wisely, then he would be an excellent option for the backend of the Pirates’ bullpen in 2023.

The only question is his health.

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