On March 17, the Mets claimed right-handed reliever Dennis Santana from the Minnesota Twins. Santana, who turns 27 next month, has pitched in five MLB seasons, including a career-high 63 games in 2022 for the Rangers. His basic stats–a 5.22 ERA and 76 ERA+–don’t show a particularly strong pitcher, but the underlying statistics show something different. Santana had a 3.35 FIP over 58.2 innings and a 3.89 xERA. Santana relies on four pitches: a slider, sinker, changeup, and four-seamer. His fastball velocity was in the 91st percentile last season, and his fastball spin was in the 92nd percentile, according to Baseball Savant. His sinker had an average velocity of 96.7 MPH, and his four-seamer was at 97.7 MPH. Santana’s strikeout numbers were slightly below average at a 21.3% rate, but his walk numbers were very poor, at 10.6%, bad enough for the 12th percentile in the majors last year.
Santana is out of options, so the Twins were attempting to pass him through waivers after claiming him from Atlanta earlier in Spring Training. Santana joins a group of Mets bullpen candidates following injuries to Sam Coonrod, Bryce Montes de Oca, and Edwin Diaz. Other options for the Mets include Jeff Brigham, Stephen Ridings, Tommy Hunter, T.J. McFarland, and Jimmy Yacabonis. The Mets have also been looking at other options out of the organization, including scouting veteran lefty Zack Britton throughout the winter. If Santana doesn’t make the Opening Day roster, the Mets could attempt to pass him through waivers as Atlanta and Minnesota unsuccessfully attempted to do earlier this year.