Fautino De Los Santos is the White Sox second best prospect

Fautino De Los Santos impressed me in his one inning of work at the 2007 Futures game even though he walked a batter, hit another, and gave up a deep home run to Justin Upton. DLS worked between 93-96 MPH with his fastball, usually 94-95, and featured a wicked tight slider at about 80-81. He faced 4 of the top (let's say) 45 prospects in baseball in Evan Longoria (AA), Brent Lillibridge (AAA), Justin Upton (AA), and Jacoby Ellsbury (AAA/Majors), all of whom have reached at least AA, and proved he belonged.

Early in his outing he pounded the lower part of the strike zone with mid-90's fastballs that had some good natural movement to them thanks to a lower-than-over-the-top arm angle. But his best pitch was the slider, which appeared even better than Dewon Day's "80" rated slide piece (Though to be fair to Day, because of his back issue I'm not sure that we've ever seen his best stuff.) DLS froze Ellsbury for the strikeout on his third pitch with a backdoor slider right at the bottom of the zone. As my jaw sat agape, Justin Upton boomed a no-doubter 15 rows deep into the left field seats, putting my jaw back to its proper position. He then got ahead of Longoria on a fastball (called strike) and two sliders (foul) before throwing an ass-seeking fastball that no batter could avoid.

After throwing those first 7 pitches for strikes, DLS got a bit wild. His slider was up a bit, and after plunking Longoria he seemed like he was a trying too hard not to come inside on another batter (which is understandable in an All-Star game). But the velocity, which has been said to get better, or at least stay with him, as the game wears on, kept climbing the more pitches he threw. His last pitch to Lillibridge, a fastball that tailed back to the outside corner, registered 96 on the ESPN gun and 97 on the in-stadium readout.

He was very impressive for a pitcher in low-A ball, and could easily succeed with his current repertoire at any minor league level, but the Sox should stick with a one-level-at-a-time approach with him, as he'll need to develop a third pitch if he ever hopes to be a top-of-the-rotation starter in the majors. He should probably go to Winston-Salem soon, though Aaron Poreda's next destination may have something to do with that call.

As I've been known to do in the past, I fell asleep before getting to write about the Buehrle signing. I wrote this immediately following the Futures game, and don't feel like adding anything at 1 AM. More on Buehrle and the future over our three days without White Sox baseball.

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