As part of a Prospectus Triple Play, Andrew Baharlias takes a look at Julio Santana, the 32-year-old right-handed reliever who looks to have a shot at a bullpen job this spring. He put together a nice season for Detroit in 2002 (actually, Santana and the Tigers' mascot were the only people to do that for the Tigers in 2002) and has bounced around the minors and Japan since then. Baharlias points out what it was that caught Doug Melvin's eye:
In the Dominican Winter League this past fall, he was again lights out, posting a 0.96 ERA, 29 Ks, and no walks in 18.2 IP. ... BP's Clay Davenport ran some quick equivalents on Santana's Dominican League stats and concluded--albeit totaling a small sample --that his performance was definitely above major-league caliber.
Given the lack of any clear power arms in the bullpen, and the way most of the prospective set-up guys have performed this spring, it wouldn't surprise me to see Santana pitching important innings by mid-May.