It was a day of no-hitters in the Dodgers’ minor-league system on Thursday. The AZL Dodgers pitched a combined no-hitter, while Andres Santiago no-hit the Tennessee Smokies in Double-A.
Santiago, 24, allowed a walk in the eighth inning to Christian Villanueva, who was erased on a double play. Other than that, Santiago was perfect in facing the minimum number of hitters. He struck out 11 batters on his way to a career-best day. His final line: 9 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 12 K, 109 pitches, 72 strikes. And there was pressure on him, as the final score was 1-0 and the Lookouts are contending for the second-half Southern League North division title. The win put the Lookouts in sole possession of first place. They play four more games with Tennessee that will essentially determine the second-half winner.
He first caught my eye in 2012, when I wrote him up for Chad’s site.
“Additionally, his performance this season against left-handed batters might be the most promising. He actually pitches better against lefties than he does righties.
A reason for that split might be Santiago’s arsenal, which consists of a fastball, slider, and changeup. His fastball sits in the low-90s and can touch 94, while his slider is a weapon against right-handed hitters.”
Also wrote this about him in the Top 50, where he ranked No. 40.
“Santiago has a low-90s fastball that tops out at 94 MPH. He can sink it slightly, but it’s more of a four-seamer. His changeup might be his best pitch, as it’s a low-80s offering that offers fade away from left-handed hitters. He also throws his slider in the low-80s that’s an average, at best, pitch.”
Santiago has struggled since his breakout 2012 season and this outing probably won’t do much to strengthen his overall prospect status, but it’s nice to see that — when he puts it all together — he can be effective. If he ever makes the majors, it’ll likely be as a reliever.
The other no-hitter was a combined effort by the AZL Dodgers. They were led by 17-year-old Jairo Pacheco, who threw six innings, walked two and struck out eight. I ranked him at No. 49 heading into the season. Safe to say he and his 2.27 ERA will be ranked higher come next season. He’s a guy to watch going forward — until he’s traded for a replacement-level starter (more on that in a later post).
Kam Uter chipped in with an inning, and Yeuri Gonzalez threw two-thirds of an inning. Harlan Richter finished the final 1 1/3 innings to complete the no-hitter. Both Uter and Richter were 2014 draftees by the Dodgers. With the win, the AZL Dodgers clinched a playoff berth.
I couldn’t even begin to tell you if an organization had two no-hitters in the same day. It’s probably happened, but I can’t recall it happening anytime recently. But it’s the 19th no-hitter in the minor-leagues this season, so it isn’t as uncommon as one might think.