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De Los Santos: Don't Forget The Forgotten Man

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When the A's traded Nick Swisher to the Chicago White Sox, they lost a power hitting OFer they could sure use right now. But it was just too good a deal to pass up. The White Sox offered up Gio Gonzalez, a former first-round pick whose electric stuff has been on display at times in Oakland, and Ryan Sweeney, who has already become a top defensive RFer who flirts with a .300 batting average.

Yet the best of the three prospects Chicago offered up was Fautino De Los Santos, then 22 years old with a mid-90s fastball and a high ceiling as a starter -- arguably as a #1 starter if all rolled right.

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It didn't. De Los Santos needed Tommy John surgery and was pretty much forgotten as Sweeney, and the Gonzalez, made impacts in Oakland. De Los Santos is back, however, now 24 and currently pitching out of the bullpen where he has recently been promoted to AA with terrific results.

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De Los Santos, in 15.2 IP at single-A Stockton, posted a 2.30 ERA, allowing 13 hits, with just 3 BB and 22 K. Promoted to AA Midland, his 7.56 ERA in 8.1 IP is mostly due to one poor outing, but encouraging is the fact that he has struck out 13 against 4 BB. It remains to be seen whether he stays in the bullpen or is eventually stretched out to start again, and how aggressively the A's will promote him -- given his age (he turned 24 in February), I would think the A's would be pretty aggressive as long as he is both healthy and effective.

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Two years ago, De Los Santos was considered many to be the jewel of the Nick Swisher deal; don't be shocked if he still is.