Entering this season, Baseball America had Domingo Santana ranked as the Astros 11th best prospect after last season. But even with that being said, to me at least, the outfielder was overlooked.
Domingo Santana (photo by Tammy Tucker)
When the Astros acquired him midway through the 2011 season, Santana was a top prospect, but he was also young and filled with unrealized potential. After the trade, the outfielder hit .382 in 17 games with five home runs, 13 runs scored, and 21 RBI’s in rookie ball.
That campaign earned Santana a promotion from A-ball to High A for the 2012 season. In 119 games he recorded a .302 average hitting 23 home runs while driving in 97 runs and scoring 87 runs. Once again, Santana earned a promotion, and he spent 2013 with the AA Corpus Christi Hooks.
At this point, the now 21-year old began to appear on my radar with greater frequency. Santana took perhaps the biggest jump in his career this year in competition, and his power production did not suffer. Let’s take a look at his 2013 season.
.252, 25 HR, 64 RBI, 72 R, 12 SB
To start with a positive, Santana actually was able to increase his home run total by two as he adjusted to more difficult pitching. I am not surprised to see his batting average decrease the way it did, but as a long term projection, it does not concern me. The decrease in RBI and runs scored I think is tied to some degree to the drop in Santana’s batting average.
What the Astros choose to do with Santana for next season could be tied to their plans for George Springer. My assumption is that Springer will start the season with Houston, and then Santana would take his place in AAA. That would make sense as he has jumped a level in each of the last two seasons. But if Springer starts the season in AAA, then Santana could return to Corpus Christi and then make the jump to Oklahoma City when Springer heads to Houston.
One other factor to keep in mind here, is that Santana will not turn 22 until August. It is very possible that the Astros decide to give the outfielder some seasoning in AA for that reason, and right now that is a course of action I would tend to agree with. There is no reason to rush him, and let’s see him have some more success in AA first.