The Kansas City Royals have been very patient with Mike Moustakas, the once-touted prospect who has never been able to deliver consistently in the big leagues. The Los Angeles Angels, by comparison, have acted swiftly with pitcher Hector Santiago, an offseason acquisition that they counted on to boost their rotation, but has fallen flat in his new home.
Both of these early-season disappointments have been dealt the same fate — they've been sent to Triple-A.
The Royals finally sent down Moustakas, who hasn't turned into the slugger they hoped he'd be when they drafted him second overall in 2007. Forget about slugging, the Royals would just be happy if he hit the ball. Moustakas, 25, hit .242 and .233 in his first two full seasons, neither as good as Kansas City hopes. Things have been even worse in 2014, as his average is just .152.
As Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star notes, there were some indications this might be Moustakas' year to finally get it together, but that hasn't happened:
A winter spent in Venezuela with hitting coach Pedro Grifol buoyed Moustakas heading into the season. He scorched the Cactus League for the second year in a row. But Moustakas once again failed to deliver in the regular season.
In his place, the team recalled utility man Jimmy Paredes. He will back up Danny Valencia, who had begun to siphon playing time away from Moustakas.
Santiago, meanwhile, was part of the three-team trade that sent Mark Trumbo from the Angels to the Arizona Diamondbacks. Santiago, 26, came over from the Chicago White Sox, where he showed promise in 2013. He pitched 149 innings, starting 23 games and owning a 3.56 ERA. He and Tyler Skaggs joined the Angels via the Trumbo trade and were expected to bolster the Angels' needy rotation.
Santiago sure hasn't done his part. He was 0-6 with a 5.19 ERA in seven starts. He was recently taken out of the rotation and sent to the bullpen, making two appearances and not allowing a run, thus lowering his ERA a bit to 4.82. The Angels figured a stint in the minors would help Santiago get his mojo back more than sitting in the bullpen would, so he's off to join the Triple-A Salt Lake Bees.
Santiago didn't get all doom-and-gloom over the move, telling Mike DiGiovanna of the L.A. Times:
"It's a little bump in the road," Santiago said before ace Jered Weaver threw a complete game in Wednesday night's 2-1 win over the Astros at Angel Stadium. "Obviously, you want to be in the big leagues and help the team. But who says in two weeks I'm not going to be back up here and back in the rotation?"
He very well could be right. He could turn things around, just like Moustakas could. Both of them going down to Triple-A and getting their seasons — heck, in Moustakas' case, his career — back on track would be welcome developments for the folks in Kansas City and Anaheim.
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