Riccardo De Santis
Riccardo De Santis
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 4", Weight 209 lb.
Riccardo De Santis has been a frequent member of the Italian national team.
De Santis helped Italy win the 1997 European Junior Championship. He debuted in the Serie A1 that year, with Grosseto, tossing 1 1/3 hitless, scoreless innings at age 17. In 1998, he went 2-0 with a save and a 6.00 ERA for Grosseto. In '99, Riccardo had a 4-0, 4.07 record. He was 2-3 with a save and a 4.33 ERA in 2000.
In 2001, De Santis went 11-7 with a 4.34 ERA for his hometown club, tying for the league lead in wins. He made his debut with the Italian national team that year. He appeared in the 2001 World Port Tournament. He was 1-1 with a 0.57 ERA in the 2001 European Championship, taking Italy's lone loss, a 2-0 upset defeat at the hands of the Russian national team and Rinat Makhmoutov. He led the tournament with eight batters struck out looking and had the lowest ERA of anyone who allowed an earned run. He gave up just 8 hits in 15 2/3 IP. He was far worse in the 2001 Baseball World Cup, going 0-2 with a team-high 9.45 ERA; in 6 2/3 IP, he walked 7 and allowed 13 hits.
The Minnesota Twins offered him a contract, but he decided to continue his education instead of taking his chances in the US minor leagues.
De Santis had a 9-4, 3.06 record for Grosseto in 2002. He struggled in the 2002 Intercontinental Cup, going 0-2 with a 8.10 ERA and 10 walks in 10 innings. In 2003, Riccardo was 7-2 with a 3.32 ERA for Grosseto and whiffed 90 in 81 1/3 IP. He failed to strike out anyone, on the other hand, in the 2003 Baseball World Cup, going 0-1 with a 9.53 ERA and 12 hits in 5 2/3 IP. He allowed one run in 5 2/3 IP in the 2003 European Championship.
De Santis had his best season yet in 2004. He was 12-1 with a 1.99 ERA for Grosseto with only 78 hits in 113 1/3 IP. He then won all three of his postseason matches to give his team the pennant. He finished fourth in Serie A1 in ERA behind David Rollandini, Jesus Matos and former major leaguer Jaime Navarro. He had a lower opponent average than Navarro.
Riccardo pitched for Italy in the 2004 Olympics, allowing 4 runs but only 4 hits in 7 innings. His 5.14 ERA was third-lowest on the team during the Summer Games.
At age 25, Riccardo was even better than his excellent 2004. He went 11-3 with a 1.51 ERA for a team that was under .500 when he did not get the decision. He was third in ERA, tied for the win lead, was 5th in opponent average (.196) and 6th in opponent slugging (.232). He did not give up a home run in 113 innings. He ranked 5th with 107 strikeouts. He was 1-1 with a 6.00 ERA in the 2005 European Championship, when Italy got the Silver.
De Santis had a busy 2006. He began with the 2006 World Baseball Classic, allowing 3 runs in 4 innings. He did team with Jason Grilli on a one-hitter against Australia. In the 2006 Italian season, Riccardo was 7-4 with a 3.18 ERA, far more human than his two prior campaigns, if still very good. He went 1-2 in the postseason. In the 2006 Intercontinental Cup, De Santis was 0-1 with a 7.00 ERA, walking 7, hitting four and allowing 12 hits in 9 innings.
Riccardo had a 4-6, 3.68 record for Grosseto in 2007. In the 2007 European Championship, he avenged his 2001 loss against Russia, allowing two runs in 7 innings and fanning eight for the win in his lone appearance of the tournament. He missed the 2007 Baseball World Cup, the first major event he had sat out for Italy since he joined the team.
De Santis was limited to 18 1/3 IP in 2008, going 1-0 with a 1.96 ERA. In 2009, Riccardo struggled, going 1-2 with a save and a 5.98 ERA. He allowed a .387 opponent OBP, a far cry from his prime a few years prior. He still made Italy's team for the 2009 Baseball World Cup, perhaps as a veteran presence primarily.