Thanks to a congested schedule leading up to the MLB All-Star break, the Phillies had some tough organizational decisions to make and questions to answer regarding their starting pitching rotation.
Aaron Nola and Zach Eflin, each of whom will go this evening at the start of a four-game series with the host New York Mets, were sandwiched between the youngsters. Those two “veterans” will get the nod for an increasingly rare throwback, a good old-fashioned twi-night doubleheader.
Anderson was immediately sent back to AAA after the 24-year old’s first big league start resulted in a 4-1 loss to the host Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park. He allowed four earned runs on eight hitters over five innings during which the right-hander threw 94 pitches, 64 of those for strikes. Anderson struck out four and walked one, getting no help from a Phillies offense that generated just four hits.
“Drew came up and did a great job for us,” manager Gabe Kapler said per Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports. “He gave us five strong innings. He gave us a chance to win it. We didn’t score a lot of runs, so that matters. Obviously, the spotlight will be on the start, but it’s not the only thing that happened today.”
Now on Tuesday night at Citi Field against the struggling Mets, it will be a chance for De Los Santos to show what he’s got in what will be the 22-year old pitcher’s big league debut. So exactly who is De Los Santos, you might ask?
Born and raised in the baseball hotbed of San Pedro de Macoris in the Dominican Republic, De Los Santos was originally signed by the Seattle Mariners as a 19-year old international free agent. He made his pro debut in 2015 with the Mariners organization. Following that season he was traded to the San Diego Padres as part of a deal for Joaquin Benoit.
Over the 2016 and 2017 seasons, the right-hander rose through three levels of the San Diego minor league system. Last off-season, the Phillies acquired him in a straight-up trade for shortstop Freddy Galvis.
Assigned by the Phillies to the AAA IronPigs, De Los Santos has been nothing short of fantastic. He went 9-3 over 16 starts, allowing just 72 hits over 95.1 innings with a 1.98 ERA and 1.080 WHIP.
Phillies farm director Joe Jordan described him as follows in a piece last week by Jim Salisbury for Baseball America:
“He’s big, physical and mean on the mound. It’s a pretty good package . . . He really seems to know who he is on the mound and he gets after it.”
For this strong first half performance, De Los Santos was selected to a pair of all-star teams. This coming Wednesday he was due to start in the Triple A All-Star Game. He was also named as a pitcher with Team World for the upcoming MLB All-Star Futures Game.
Last week, Tom Housenick at The Morning Call expounded on the youngster’s excellent season:
“The 22-year-old has worked at least six innings in 11 of his last 12 starts and allowed more than two earned runs in only two of his 16 outings.”
While he will now miss out on that first all-star honor, the young pitcher will obviously be happier with the “consolation” prize of this big league opportunity.
The Phillies had to make a roster move in order to get De Los Santos on to their 40-man. The decision has reportedly been made to move utility man Pedro Florimon, out since late May with a broken foot, to the 60-day DL in order to make room.
The Phillies might face an interesting decision after Tuesday’s game, especially if De Los Santos fares well. Do they return him to the IronPigs as they did with Anderson? That would be the easiest and most obvious move. However, they could also give him another shot, with Nick Pivetta struggling mightily over the last month and a half.