Sunday, April 8, 2012

The Man Behind the Curtain: Hector Santiago

Well, we found out who our mystery closer is, and it's none other than Hector Santiago.

Hector Santiago is a 24 year old left hander from Newark, New Jersey out of Okaloosa-Walton College in Niceville, FL.  The Sox acquired Santiago through the 2006 MLB draft in the 30th round, the 913th overall pick.  Santiago threw 5 and a third innings for the Sox last year allowing just 1 hit and no runs.

Santiago throws in the mid-90s with his out pitch being the screwball.  For left-handers, screwballs diver down and away to right handed hitters.  This can be a very dangerous pitch because it imitates a righty-righty matchup, and because it is so uncommonly thrown by Major League pitchers.

But my favorite thing about Santiago is the way Robin handled the announcement of him as the closer.  Yeah all the drama that led to who would warm up was a lot of fun, but that's not what I'm talking about.  I'm talking about taking the pressure off the player and putting it on the manager.

In a very cunning move, and especially cunning for a guy who has never managed a team before, Ventura let all the media pundits pick on him.  He was fielding the questions about the closer role.  Not the 24 year old that is now thrust into one of the hardest roles in professional sports.

But all that is over.  Now we know who it is.  Now we know who to go to when we have questions about the closer.  And now, it's our turns as fans to sit back and watch our own little mystery unfold.  And that's if this guy is up to the task?  He played the part perfectly yesterday, let's just hope it continues in the next 160.

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