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Fast-Armed Antonio Santos Learns To Slow Down

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The promotion came in late July and began badly for righthander Antonio Santos. After two starts at Double-A Hartford, he was 0-2 and had allowed 11 earned runs with four walks and five strikeouts in 8.2 innings.

What followed was a stunning transformation. In his final six starts, Santos gave up 12 earned runs. He went 3-1, 2.92 in that span with six walks and 41 strikeouts in 37 innings and gave up 30 hits, including just two home runs.

In eight games in the Arizona Fall League, Santos went 1-1, 2.77 with two walks and 16 strikeouts in 13 innings.

Hartford pitching coach Steve Merriman observed Santos in those first two starts, watching closely to better know the 23-year-old Dominican and his powerful right arm

And when Merriman began working more closely with Santos, getting him on track had nothing to do with anything mechanical.

"The stuff’s there,” Merriman said. "He’s got the big arm. Just helping him slow down in his mind really helped him breathe better, helped him think about what he wanted to do. And consequently, he was better at executing because he slowed some stuff down.”

Santos sits 96-97 mph with his fastball and has touched 100. When his slider is right, it’s consistently 88-89 mph. His changeup is in the 86 mph range.

"He has a tendency sometimes to slow his body down when he goes to throw some of his offspeed,” Merriman said. "And that’s pretty typical for young power-arm guys who think they got to control that more instead of just throw it and trust it.”

Merriman, who began going to the Dominican Republic in 2003, helped Santos by making an analogy from his homeland. He asked Santos whether he sped up there or went slower at an intersection.

Santos answered the latter. Why? Because most intersections had no stop signs or stoplights and a bigger vehicle might roll right through.

"He laughed and that analogy stuck,” Merriman. "So whenever he was in a game, I’d say, ‘Hey, what do we do when we get to an intersection?’

" 'Slow down,’ ” he said, and he would laugh.

ROCKY ROADS

The Rockies fired Triple-A manager Glenallen Hill, Hartford hitting coach Lee Stevens and low Class A Asheville hitting coach Paco Martin. Hill spent 15 years in the Rockies organization, the past seven managing their Triple-A affiliate. He was a major league coach with the Rockies from 2007-2012, working as the first base coach and the outfielder andbase running instructor. Hill was also a hitting coach and manager at Colorado’s high Class A affiliate. Stevens spent seven seasons in the Rockies’ organization, the past two at Hartford. He also spent four seasons as the hitting coach at Rookie-level Grand Junction and one at the Rockies’ high Class A affiliate. Martin spent three years in the Rockies’ organization, all as Asheville’s hitting coach.

— Righthander Ashton Goudeau, 27, was re-signed to a minor league contract. He went 3-2, 2.07 in 16 starts at Hartford in 2019, his first season in the Rockies’ organization, with 12 walks and 91 strikeouts in 78.1 innings. He missed a little over two months with a broken right hand. Goudeau sustained the injury when he slammed his glove down in frustration upon returning to the dugout but made several subsequent starts before being sidelined after a June 5 outing. The Rockies sent Goudeau to the Arizona Fall League where he went 1-0, 0.00 in six games In 13 scoreless innings, with four hits and no walks with 18 strikeouts. Goudeau was drafted by the Royals in the 27th round in 2012. Merriman and Rockies pitching coach Steve Foster both knew Goudeau from their time in the Royals’ organization.

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