Prospect Report: Did Domingo Santana Make Any Step Forward In 2014?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Domingo Santana looked like he was primed to make a significant jump in 2014, then he got his opportunity in the Majors… After that, things appeared to spiral in the wrong direction for him. While we can’t say with any certainty if his 14 K performance over 17 AB in the Majors caused his slide, it’s easy to imagine. Of course, maybe his “improvements” earlier in the season were more wishful thinking than anything.

Prior to the season Baseball America ranked him as the team’s ninth best prospect saying:

“At the plate, Santana’s long arms ensure that he’ll always strike out some, something he exacerbates with a high hand position, which forces the bat to travel a long way to get through the zone. But when he gets his arms extended, he can hit the ball out of the park to all fields. At Double-A Corpus Christi in 2013, 11 of his 25 home runs went to right or center field.”

Earlier in the season there was some hope that he had gotten the strikeouts under control, with them trending in the right direction at Triple-A:

  • April – 29.8%
  • May – 27.6%
  • June – 25.2%

Of course, in limited time in July/August he posted marks of 34.7% and 29.7%, ending with an overall mark of 29.0%. We can say it’s a positive, because he was at 29.2% at Double-A in 2013 and he faced better competition, but it’s hardly a good mark.

The power, though, does appear to be for real. He followed up a 28.4% HR/OFB at Double-A with a 23.2% mark at Triple-A. While he did hit just 16 HR, it was a decreased fly ball rate (23.2%) that was the issue. He was at 34.2% and 31.7% the previous two years, so it’s easy to envision an improvement.

When coupled with the ability to steal double-digit bases, there is something to like. The question is if he can adjust and make enough contact to make an impact.

It’s not a surprise that he was fed a steady stream of breaking balls (22) and offspeed pitches (19), which caused 11 of his 14 K in the Majors. It’s something we would expect to continue until he proves that he can handle them.

It’s also unknown how many AB he will get, with George Springer & Jake Marisnick likely locked into the lineup and a host of alternatives for the final spot in the outfield. That said, until he proves he can handle something other than a fastball and can make consistent contact, he’s going to struggle anyways.

In dynasty leagues he’s a player who you can stash in a minor league spot and see how he develops. In yearly formats, keep tabs thanks to the power but there’s nothing that needs to be done for now.

Sources – Minor League Central, Brooks Baseball, Baseball America

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