Born: December 16, 1987
Hector Felipe Santiago was born December 16, 1987 in Newark and grew up in Bloomfield. He and his younger brother loved baseball and learned the game from their father, Hector Sr., a flooring installer. Hector’s powerful left arm made him a standout for Bloomfield Technical High School. He and basketball forward Da’Sean Butler were the star athletes for the Bloomfield Tech Spartans.
Hector was selected by the Chicago White Sox in the 30th round of the 2006 draft. He opted to play a year of Junior College ball at Okaloosa-Walton Community College (now Northwest Florida State College) before signing with the Sox and beginning his minor-league career in 2007. Hector was groomed as a reliever for four seasons. As he matured, however, he added a slider, change and screwball to his repertoire. In 2011, the team made him a starting pitcher and he rose from Class-A Winston-Salem to the majors in three months.
Hector spent most of 2012 in the Chicago bullpen, and then became a starter for the club in 2013. He pitched better than his 4–9 record, fashioning a 3.56 ERA with nearly a strikeout an inning. Hector suffered from bouts of wildness, walking 72 batters and hitting 15 in 149 innings. The Angels liked what they saw and acquired Hector in a three-team December trade that included the Diamondbacks. Mark Trumbo and Adam Eaton were the other key players in the deal.
Hector blossomed in Anaheim. In his second season with the Angles, he won 9 games and fanned 162 batters in 180 2/3 innings. When Sonny Gray was unable to pitch in the 2015 All-Star Game, Hector was chosen as his replacement. He traveled to Cincinnati but did not get in the game, which the AL won 6–3.
Hector followed with a solid 2016 campaign. His record stood at 10–4 for a sub-.500 club when he was traded to the Minnesota Twins for prospect Alex Meyer and veteran Ricky Nolasco. Hector won 3 of his 9 decisions with Minnesota to finish the season 13–10. He ranked among the AL leaders with 33 starts but also gave up a league-high 79 walks and 33 home runs.