The Dodger’s injury riddled pitching staff got even thinner on Wednesday evening when right hander Kenta Maeda was placed on the disabled list with a right hip strain. Maeda suffered the injury in the second inning of the Dodger’s 6-1 loss to the Phillies on Tuesday. The MRI revealed no major damage but Maeda is expected to probably be out for at a couple of weeks. The Dodgers are hoping he only misses a start or two. In the meantime the Dodgers have called up 22-year old highly touted pitching prospect Dennis Santana.
This is a great thing. No, not Maeda’s injury of course, I’m talking about the call-up of Santana. The Dodgers are terrible this year and with nearly half the roster littered with minor league castoffs there’s little chance the Dodgers can contend in 2018. So with the team stuck in fourth place and starting a guy named Breyvic Valera at third base there’s no reason for the team not to give some hot prospects an extended look, especially with all of the injuries to the starting staff.
Santana, a right handed Dominican starter was recently promoted to Oklahoma City. He’s been putting up impressive numbers down on the farm. A couple of weeks ago he struck out 11 in six shutout innings against the Nashville Sounds. That’s the third game this season where Santana has recorded 10 or more whiffs. The young hurler carries a 2.54 ERA and has struck out 11. per nine innings this year. Needless to say the kid has got some talent.
But initial reports are indicating that the Dodgers are going to use him in the bullpen as a long reliever instead of letting him make a start when Maeda’s spot in the rotation comes up in the next series against the Rockies in Denver.
Roberts said Santana would be the emergency long reliever on Wednesday and Thursday, but stopped short of committing to him as a starter in Coors Field against the Rockies.
It’s possible that Santana will see some time in a long relief role because the Dodgers are unable to get innings or length from their starters. The Dodgers bullpen which is amongst the worst in the National League has logged a ton of innings over the last week.
Can the Dodgers really afford to keep using Brock Stewart? Even if the Dodgers believe that Maeda only misses one or two starts, they would still be down a starter with Rich Hill still on the disabled list. I understand that the Dodgers may not want to rush Santana’s development at this time, but the needs of the major club are glaring. Why disrupt his starting routine anyways? The Dodgers need a young healthy starting pitcher and like I said above there’s no reason not to at least give the youngster a couple of starts while the club is looking like the modern version of the bad news bears.
Unfortunately it’s unlikely the Dodgers start Santana in the devil’s playground of Coors Field over the weekend. He’s likely to be shipped right back to Oklahoma City. Other than a couple of token relief appearances (if the club is knocked around early in a game) Santana might not see much time with the big club. And that’s a shame.