Rotoprofessor’s Prospect Report: Carlos Santana

Aug 28, 2009

RP4
Written by
Eric Stashin the Rotoprofessor

I did a report on Carlos Santana all the way back in April (which you can read by clicking here), talking about just how good he could be.  He has been discussed as one of the brightest young catching prospects in baseball and in 2009, he has lived up to the hype (all stats are through August 24):

383 At Bats
.285 Batting Average (109 Hits)
20 Home Runs
86 RBI
80 Runs
1 Stolen Bases
.410 On Base Percentage
.522 Slugging Percentage
.310 Batting Average on Balls in Play

As if those numbers are not impressive enough, they don’t even touch on the best of them all.  To date, he’s struck out 76 times while walking 81 times.  That’s right, he’s struck out less then he’s walked!

In fact, for his minor league career (1,546 AB), he has 276 strikeouts vs. 279 walks.  To say that he has tremendous plate discipline is an understatement.  Prior to the season Baseball America, who ranked him as the Indians top prospect, said:

“Santana has shown good strike-zone discipline ever since signing with the Dodgers. He swings aggressively at strikes and routinely squares up balls with authority, using his lower half well and getting good extension. He has a good two-strike approach and doesn’t chase pitches outside the strike zone. He should hit for a high average and OBP with average power. He’s more athletic than most catchers.”

His BABIP is extremely repeatable and he’s shown power at all levels of the minor leagues.  If the 20 HR this season aren’t enough, he has 27 doubles and 2 triples.  That’s 49 extra base hits in just 383 AB, certainly an impressive number.  Couple that with a 45.4% flyball rate and it shows that more power may be in his future.

There’s no reason to think that even in the major leagues, the 23-year old wouldn’t be able to be a .275+ hitter with around 20 home runs, and that may just be his floor.  The ceiling could put him among the games best offensive catchers.  That’s not too bad for a player acquired from the Dodgers as part of the deal that sent Casey Blake to Los Angeles last season.

With Victor Martinez now calling Boston home and Kelly Shoppach failing to seize the job, there is every chance that the team turns to Santana in September.  What do they really have to lose?

If Santana does get a chance to play, he has the potential to be a must own in all 2-catcher formats immediately.  There are very few catchers with his type of plate discipline who brings the potential for both a solid average and power.

Given the state of the Indians offense, the team could even try him out in the middle of the line-up immediately, though that may be a long shot.  They have protected Matt LaPorta in the early going since his recall, so Santana would likely get the same treatment.

Still, with LaPorta getting regular ABs to see what he has, the team might as well do the same thing with their catcher of the future.   At 55-70, the Indians are clearly playing for their future.  With Santana already on the 40-man roster, there isn’t a need to make a move to bring him up, so there really is no downside.

Keep your eyes and ears open and see if the Indians make the move.  If they do and you play in a 2-catcher format, grab him without a second thought.  He has the potential to have a Geovany Soto type impact the moment he steps on the diamond.

What do you think of Santana?  How good could he be?

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