Mario Jose Santiago
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 2", Weight 210 lb.
- Schools Laredo Community College, Baton Rouge Community College
- Born December 16, 1984 in Guayama Puerto Rico
Mario Santiago made it to AAA then pitched in South Korea and Japan.
Santiago was picked by the Royals in the 16th round of the 2005 amateur draft. He debuted with the AZL Royals (6 H, 2 HB, 4 R in 2 IP, 0-1) and the Idaho Falls Chukars (0-3, 6.61). In 2006, Mario was 3-6 with a save and a 5.37 ERA for the Burlington Bees, giving up 78 hits in 60 1/3 IP.
Santiago made progress in 2007, posting a 5-10, 3.74 record with a save and allowing under a hit per inning for Burlington. He was named the team's Pitcher of the Year. In 2008, Mario went 8-8 with a 3.43 ERA for the Wilmington Blue Rocks, finishing second in the Carolina League in ERA behind Douglas Arguello.
Santiago pitched for Puerto Rico in the 2008 Americas Baseball Cup, going 1-0 and allowing no runs in 8 2/3 IP. He got the win over Panama and helped Puerto Rico win the Cup. Back with Wilmington in 2009, he fell to 6-13, 4.30 and tied Derrick Saito for the most losses in the Royals chain. He was second in the Carolina League in losses, one behind Levi Maxwell, a year after being second in ERA; he allowed 159 hits, second behind Matt McSwain.
In the 2009 Baseball World Cup, Santiago was 2-0 with a 0.90 ERA and .162 opponent average. He beat Antonio Noguera and Spain, 5-3. He gave up just one unearned run in 7 innings in a win over South Korea. In the third round, he got a key start against Team Canada and battled Nick Bucci for several scoreless innings but was yanked with 2 outs and 2 on in the 5th, replaced by Alex Woodson; Puerto Rico lost, 3-0, and just missed out on a Bronze Medal.
Mario was 1-1 with a 0.75 ERA for the Indios de Mayagüez in the 2010 Caribbean Series, losing a duel to Raúl Valdés of the Leones del Escogido and then beating the Naranjeros de Hermosillo. In the regular season, he had a solid season for the Northwest Arkansas Naturals (6-6, 3.56). In the 2010 Central American and Caribbean Games, he donned the Puerto Rican uniform again and beat Venezuela. He tossed 7 shutout innings against Mexico but was matched by the Mexican staff; R.J. Rodriguez relieved and blew the game, a 1-0 loss, as Puerto Rico finished 4th just as in the 2009 World Cup.
In the 2010 Pan American Games Qualifying Tournament, Santiago was 0-1 with a 4.00 ERA, losing to Venezuela. He split 2011 between the Naturals (5-1, 2.23 in 16 G) and the Omaha Storm Chasers (3-3, 2 Sv, 5.70 in 19 G). In 2012, he moved to the Korea Baseball Organization and was 6-3 with a 3.40 ERA for the SK Wyverns. He started game 2 of the 2012 Korean Series but bombed, giving up a 2-run double to Young-seop Bae and a grand slam to Hyung-woo Choi, both in the 3rd inning, to take the loss in a 8-3 contest. He bombed in game 6 as well, taking another loss, as SK was eliminated.