Domingo Santana Scouting Report (2014)
Is Domingo Santana the next man up in Houston? Our own Mike Newman thinks so, including Santana as a honorable mention in his 6/10 edition of MLB Depth Chart Dynamos. Having promoted top prospects George Springer and Jonathan Singleton this season, the Houston Astros will look to the player-to-be-named later in the Hunter Pence deal to fill a gaping hole in left field. Santana has exceeded expectations against advanced competition, slashing .287/.366/.487 and blasting 10 home runs — especially impressive for the third youngest player in the Pacific Coast League. A fringe top-100 prospect entering the season, is the young Dominican a long term answer for the Houston in outfield?
At 6-foot-5, 225 pounds, the right-handed hitting prospect is physically imposing. well-roportioned throughout, the athletic Santana has room to add additional muscle. Another ten to fifteen pounds on his frame wouldn’t effect his overall athleticism. Deceptively fast, Santana runs well for a man his size. A solid-average runner, he hovers around 4.3 seconds to first out of the batters box. While his speed hasn’t equated for much on the base paths, it helps him in the field.
Combining solid-average speed, athleticism and a plus throwing arm, he’s pinch above average in the field. Creative fly ball routes keeps Santana from becoming a plus defender. His throwing arm gets high marks for velocity and accuracy. In game action, he narrowly missed gunning down Brewers farmhand Adron Chambers at the plate on a line drive off the wall. Throwing a strike to the cutoff man, Santana made the play much closer than it should have been. His defensive prowess won’t win him Gold Gloves, but complement his offensive game nicely nonetheless.
When the Phillies signed Domingo Santana for $300,000 in 2009, they took a gamble on a projectable 16-year-old baseball body. As a 17-year-old in the South Atlantic League, Santana struggled. Over matched, Santana repeated the Sally the following season. He adjusted and thrived. A solid walk rate, a high BABIP and strong isolated power numbers have sustained his success through to the PCL. However, his hype is cooled by a a high strikeout rate. Breaking down his swing, the high strikeout totals come into greater focus.
As the pitcher delivers the pitch, it takes time for his hands to travel from his sternum to the load position. A slight hitch costs him precious milliseconds, forcing him to react faster. Solid-average bat speed makes up for a bit of the delay. However, an indirect path to the ball causes the bat to drag through the zone. This leaves him prone to swinging and missing. It also causes a moderate uppercut to his swing. A pull hitter, the youngster has power suited for the Crawford Boxes at Minute Maid Park. It’s 30-home-run power potential if he stays inside the baseball and attacks pitches. Adjustments are needed for Santana to reach his potential.
Domingo Santana is a better prospect than evaluators will acknowledge. Where flaws are regularly ignored by hype machines, his obvious flaw is the overblown one. High strikeout rates should be analyzed before writing off players. His stats indicate Santana is ready for the big leagues. Realistically, he needs an entire season in Triple-A for seasoning and development. Quality pitchers will exploit his deficiencies. At 21, the Dominican outfielder has plenty of development time ahead. A few tweaks would improve his hit and power tool tremendously. For a player who may have been accidentally acquired in a trade producing Singleton, Jarred Cosart and Josh Zeid, Santana’s development is a bonus for the Astros organization.
Tool Present Future Projected Role First Division Starting Right Fielder Hitting Ability 35 40 Power 55 65 Speed 55 50 Fielding Ability 50 50 Arm 60 60
Owning Domingo Santana
A 21-year-old on the verge of his Major League debut being available in fantasy baseball leagues is not the norm. However, the Astros’ power hitting prospect has managed to remain under the radar in an organization with other top power prospects. Santana avoiding the prospect hype machine is a fantasy owners’ gain. With power potential from the right side of the plate being Domingo Santana’s calling card, The outfielder is primed to succeed at Minute Maid Park. A waiver claim for a couple bucks is an appropriate investment for the Astros future corner outfielder.
17 Jun 2014 / Chris Blessing / 2
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