Astros: Get to know compensatory draft pick Alex Santos
Let’s get to know Houston Astros compensatory draft pick Alex Santos.
We had to wait a while to see new GM James Click’s first draft pick with the Houston Astros. Thanks to the sign stealing scandal, the team’s first pick did not come until No. 72 overall. With that pick, Click chose high school pitcher Alex Santos.
Based on MLB.com’s rankings, this looks like a bit of a steal. They had Santos ranked as the No. 56 prospect in this class, so the Astros got him 16 spots after that. Baseball America ranked him even higher at 45. He’s young, having just turned 18 in February, so this is a high upside draft pick who’ll probably take a while to develop. We may not see him for a few years.
The Scouting Report
Santos’ best two pitches are a fastball that hits the mid 90s and a slider in the mid to upper 70s. Both are given 55 grades by MLB.com on the 20/80 scale, and he also sports a low-80s changeup with a 50 grade. He also gets a 50 grade for his control and his overall grade.
At 6’3″ and 185 pounds, he has good height but obviously has a thin build. He’ll fill out more as he matures, which could add some extra velocity to the mix as well. It’s not hard to imagine him ending up with a fastball that sits in the mid 90s and can touch the upper 90s. He throws from a high 3/4 arm slot and can get a little run on the fastball, so it could become an electric pitch.
The slider could be an interesting weapon as well, as he can alter the velocity and angle of it and can locate it in different spots. It sports two-plane break as well. The change is still developing but could become a useful weapon. Even if it doesn’t, he could be an effective reliever with that fastball-slider combo.
Given his age, we don’t have much in the way of stats to go on. He was part of USA Baseball’s 18 and under National Team Trials roster last summer, and the scouting report notes he’s shown an ability to pitch effectively when he doesn’t have his best stuff. That kind of ability is a good sign, and it’s why teams are willing to bet on his potential and his high ceiling.
Santos hails from The Bronx, New York, and grew up a Yankees fan, which might automatically disqualify him in the minds of some fans. But he seems happy to switch his allegiance to his new team, and there’s something poetic about going into the Yankees’ backyard and taking a key young pitching prospect.
One thing that’ll help him moving forward is he’s developed a strong work ethic, which you really can’t be successful without. He seems both humble and hungry, so his makeup will help him as he advances through the minor leagues. His father and uncles played baseball in Puerto Rico, so it certainly runs in the family.
Again, given his age, it’ll be a few years before we see him in the majors, most likely. But in that time, the hope is that he’ll grow into his body some more and add a little velocity while continuing to refine his offspeed pitches and his control. He’s got the raw skills teams look for, and the sky is the limit.