by: Scott A. Horstmeier
They say that good things come in threes. Last season the Cincinnati Reds had three pitchers make their MLB debuts and pitch very well. Pitching is a high commodity and these three pitchers showed their potential and Reds fans are excited. In this article we will explore the season of Reiver Sanmartin.
Sanmartin began the season in the minors and earned a promotion to the Reds as a starter at the end of the season. He only pitched in two games, but his pitching in those two games was phenomenal. Those two games happened to both be against the Pittsburgh Pirates, so some will say there is not much to judge based on that. However, keep in mind, this was his first time facing Major League hitters.
Sanmartin, from Cartagena, Colombia, is a left-handed pitcher that the Reds acquired in a 2019 trade with the New York Yankees in the same deal that brought Sonny Gray to the Reds. That same year he started at the Reds high A team in Daytona and earned a promotion to their AA team in Chattanooga. He did not pitch in 2020 due to Covid shutting down the minor league season. Then in 2021 he started at Chattanooga and after 4 games was promoted to the Reds AAA affiliate in Louisville.
At Chattanooga he went 2 – 0 with a 0.50 ERA with 23 strikeouts in 18 innings pitched. He pitched in 21 games at Louisville and went 8 – 2 with a 3.94 ERA with 89 strikeouts in 82.1 innings pitched. Those numbers earned him a promotion to Cincinnati with September call-ups.
In his two Major League starts Sanmartin went 2 – 0 and pitched in 11.2 innings and only gave up 2 earned runs to post an ERA of 1.54. He had 11 strikeouts and only gave up 2 walks. He posted a WHIP of 1.200. He did give up 12 hits, with 4 of those hits being doubles.
He had a batting against slash line of .267/.298/.356. Against right-handed hitters he had a batting against slash line of .346/.370/.423. He had fared much better against lefties with a batting against slash line of .158/.200/.263. He is going to have to learn how to get righties out at a higher rate to have long-term success in the Majors.
His batting against slash line the first time through a line-up was .294/.333/.412. He fared much better the second time through the line-up with a .222/.222/.278 batting against slash line. However, the pitching and hitting dance is all about adjustments to each other and his batting against slash line the third time through the line-up rose to .300/.364/.400. So either the hitters adjusted against him after seeing him pitch or he was getting tired.
Two starts at the Major League level is not near enough time to predict how well a pitcher will pan out. However, his track record from the minors with these two MLB starts shows that Sanmartin is bursting with potential. Derek Johnson, the Reds pitching coach, has a quality pitcher to work with and develop. Sanmartin is not slated to be in the Reds starting rotation for the 2022 season, but they need to decide how they want to develop him. He could pitch out the bullpen, which he did 21 times in his Minor League career, and 8 times last year, in order to face Major League hitters. Or, do the Reds want to keep him in the Minors to develop him as a starter. No matter what, Sanmartin is full of potential and will have Reds fans excited to see him develop for the Big Red Machine.