Sep 26, 2014; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Atlanta Braves starting pitcher Ervin Santana (30) pitches during the first inning of a game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
2. Ervin Santana
Signed to the largest free agent deal in Twins history, Minnesota immediately bolstered their rotation with the addition of Santana this offseason. After pitching well for the Atlanta Braves on a one-year contract, Santana got the multi-year deal he was looking for.
In 2014, Santana owned the second best K/9 mark of his career at 8.2. He struck out 179 batters, and was a reliable workhorse for the Braves. Pitching in the AL Central with the Royals during 2013, Santana struck out 161 batters to the tune of a 6.9 K/9. While National League hitters provided a better opportunity for strikeouts, Santana returns to the AL Central now familiar with the division.
Expecting an increase on the second highest strikeout total of his career probably isn’t going to happen. Regardless, Santana should surpass the 200 inning plateau, and will likely compile around 170 strikeouts with a K/9 landing somewhere in the mid-to-low 7’s.