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Santana....what the....

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#1 DocBauer

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Posted 02 August 2014 - 10:42 PM

I chose this title based on a comment from Shane the other day while referencing Santana and commented; "what the hell" in regard to his performance.

TC tip of the hat to you Shane.

I'm tired of hearing how the Twins won't promote anyone. Arcia was promoted young. Hicks was promoted young. (Ultimately good or bad to be determined) Gave Polanco an early cup of coffee, and might yet give him a September call up. May is up soon I'm sure. Meyer, well, hopefully soon. Even Darnell and Vargas have gotten recent shots.

But I find it interesting that the most intriguing young prospect promotion has been met with anything from apathy to doubt. And I think it's time we just address this head on.

Santana has been a top, athletic infield prospect the past couple of years now. He doesn't appear on any top 100 lists, for whatever that is worth, but depending on who's prospect you look at, has been regarded as anywhere from a top 10 to top 20 Twins prospect. Again, for what it's worth, and depending on your perspective. This ST, Gardenhire spoke of his talent and future prospectus and liked him. Someone, want to say Gladden, commented that he hadn't had any WOW moments as of yet to set himself apart.

I think we were all surprised when he was promoted. I know I was. I absolutely expected Bernier to come up, having a great early start to his season, the Twins playing the solid veteran card they are so often accused of playing. Instead, they pulled up the surprising Santana.

Like most of you, I felt it would involve bench play, a few AB's, and a quick demotion back to Rochester while his coffee was still warm. Instead, based on athletic ability, 20-30 or so games in the minors, and desperation, he was thrust in to a primary role as the starting CF. What a recipe for failure!

Instead, this kid has embraced the challenge, actually shown at least some rudimentary ability to play CF, while also bouncing to SS, and actually shown some defensive ability and improvement.

Gang, do I actually have to tell you that this wasn't supposed to happen?

I'm not going to tell you that Santana is a finished product in any way, offensively or defensively. But just reflect for a moment at what he's done, and been asked to do, this season so far.

His numbers through Saturday: .309Avg/.345OB%/.471Slg/.816OPS with 12Dbls, 2Tpls, 5HRs, 6SBs.
500 AB's project him to 31Dbls/ 5Tpls/ 13HRs/ 16SBs

Just a guess, though he has shown glimpses of power in his bat previously, along with his speed, that the SB numbers might climb, along with triples, but the homers and doubles could level a bit.

Despite his early success, I kept waiting for him to stumble and go back down. Instead, he kept battling pitchers and producing. When he went on the DL I figured it was time to just throw up my arms and say, "fun while it lasted". And yet, he's come back strong. Hence Shane's; "What the hell?" comment.

CF until Buxton arrives, then LF probably, or possibly full time SS, where does Santana fit? After nearly 200 AB's, a stint on the DL and a positive return from it, can we really doubt this kid any longer? Where do we, or more precisely, where does he go from here?

Can we really doubt the drive and talent of this youngster?
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#2 curt1965

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Posted 02 August 2014 - 11:25 PM

Great article, as usual, Doc!

#3 drivlikejehu

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Posted 02 August 2014 - 11:28 PM

You can choose to doubt or not doubt as you see fit. His offense so far is pretty fluky. He has no plate discipline and pitchers will increasingly exploit his weaknesses. I've always thought he should stay at SS because that's where his potential value is - either at AAA or with the Twins.

 

On the other hand, his experience this year will help with his most likely role of utility player, once the bat comes back to reality.


#4 Otwins

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Posted 02 August 2014 - 11:59 PM

I really like the way he has forced Gardy to keep him in the lineup. I get tired of hearing we have to play Parmelee,Arcia, Colabello etc when they do not produce enough to earn the time that they receive. Santana has really quick hands and with that short stride he looks to me like he will be able to make adjustments when he needs to. The issue is where does he fit in defensively but they have to find a spot.


#5 Shane Wahl

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Posted 03 August 2014 - 12:01 AM

Haha. Nice article. It's interesting that he hasn't fallen to earth yet. One would have expected it by now if it was going to happen.


#6 ScrapTheNickname

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Posted 03 August 2014 - 12:33 AM

I like Santana a lot. He's one reason to tune into the game. He runs kind of like Rod Carew. He's sleek. He has a calm demeanor. He's 23 years old.

 

However, I have to note that since June 11th he has hit .238. That's 26 games (105 at bats). Is he getting tired? Have pitchers caught up to him? Was he hitting over his head, and now he's settling down to ... what ... .275? I like to see that above .300 average, but the trend is that he is going to sink below it, and thus start disappointing us.

 

On the other hand, go Santana. May you hit .320 this year.

Edited by ScrapTheNickname, 03 August 2014 - 12:33 AM.


#7 The Wise One

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Posted 03 August 2014 - 01:11 AM

Still with the stretch of higer SO his BABIP is remaing high. Either he will have to work on being able to hit the pitches he is missing on, or he will becme a .250 hitter. With all the tracking devices I am sure that they can figure out what he misses on regularl. If there is not a pattern of what pitches he misses on it becoes a guessing problem. That could also be fixable.


#8 kab21

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Posted 03 August 2014 - 05:21 AM

He's by far the best option in CF for awhile but ZiPS and steamer project him as a .260/.300/.360 hitter for the rest of the season.  I think those are fair projections until he makes big strides with his plate discipline.  Perhaps he will continue this run but mid .600's OPS hitters usually don't rate very high on prospect lists.

 

I don't mind Santana playing CF this year but I'm concerned that he's going to be Plan A next season until Buxton or Hicks take it away.  This much time away from SS could screw up his alleged good defense.

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I look forward to the day that a pitching prospect is truly blocked by good pitchers.


#9 Thrylos

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Posted 03 August 2014 - 05:34 AM

CF until Buxton arrives, then LF probably, or possibly full time SS, where does Santana fit? After nearly 200 AB's, a stint on the DL and a positive return from it, can we really doubt this kid any longer? Where do we, or more precisely, where does he go from here?

 

It is hard to make conclusions using someones' first couple hundred or so MLB PAs.  Remember what Parmelee did his first season up.   Killebrew hit .200/.281/.363 & .222/.291/.394 in his first 2 seasons (Hicks anyone?)

 

I think that Santana would be a very good utility player in a championship caliber team (and that's what one should target.)  In a horrible team (pick any of the last 4 Twins' teams,) he can be a starter either at CF or at SS (but it will not really matter...)

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#10 Sconnie

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Posted 03 August 2014 - 07:11 AM

Haha. Nice article. It's interesting that he hasn't fallen to earth yet. One would have expected it by now if it was going to happen.

This. It took MLB pitchers all of three weeks to figure out Colabello, and yet Santana continues to succeed. What's amazing to me is during the tv broadcast Smalley (I believe) pointed out that Santana does his hitting motion with very little leg kick and almost entirely upper body, and yet he produces power. Fascinating.... Maybe his unusual approach makes him harder to target. I don't really care, he's fun to watch, and has continued (SSS) success. I wouldn't count him out as a future starter. He has been one of few Twins who has been fun to watch every game.

#11 Seth Stohs

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Posted 03 August 2014 - 07:12 AM

 

I'm tired of hearing how the Twins won't promote anyone. Arcia was promoted young. Hicks was promoted young. (Ultimately good or bad to be determined) Gave Polanco an early cup of coffee, and might yet give him a September call up. May is up soon I'm sure. Meyer, well, hopefully soon. Even Darnell and Vargas have gotten recent shots.

 

Doc said this well. I was doing a radio show yesterday and realized that the Twins have called up a lot of young players. Yes, May will make one more start for Rochester (presumably). But we've seen Vargas and Santana who I don't think anyone would have said "they're ready" when they were called up. Hicks was in that situation... twice. Arcia was very young. I don't know which "prospects" are at AA or AAA that should be called up right now.

 

Secondly, Santana was never a top 10 prospect for me. I liked him as early as four years ago in Beloit, but not enough to Top 10 him. Anyway, he's done very well, particularly playing a new position. It will be interesting to see what his position ends up being long term. I tend to agree that he's a utility infielder, but I'm guessing he starts next season as the starting CF and moves to SS as soon as Buxton is ready.

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#12 Halsey Hall

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Posted 03 August 2014 - 08:37 AM

I've a couple friends that both work at Hammond stadium and have for years.  One works the fields and the other roams them watching when not working in the stadium.  Both have told me for two years that Santana should be up.  So, I've watched him more closely than most players.  He is enjoyable to watch, he's fast, with quick hands and makes some really great plays.  But I haven't seen him nearly as much as my friends.  Defensively he has played with the Twins as could be expected, but I'm really surprised with his approach at the plate, and his results.  To me, he just looks confident and seems to have a plan every at bat. He doesn't look overwhelmed to be at the highest level and is taking it in stride.  I'm really surprised and happy for him and hope he continues to have success. He could be a sparkplug for us for years to come. 

he's gotta go

#13 mike wants wins

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Posted 03 August 2014 - 08:38 AM

Until he shows he should not be the CF next year, he should be, imo. If they do want him at SS next year also, them I think he should get some time there this year.

What I just typed is probably an opinion, not a fact. I mean, I'm usually right, so you should maybe assume it is or will be a fact soon, but that's up to you. :)


#14 spycake

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Posted 03 August 2014 - 08:45 AM

I agree with Doc and Seth that the Twins generally don't promote slowly.  Although Santana's initial promotion didn't surprise me -- he was on the 40-man roster and had a decent spring.

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#15 Thegrin

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Posted 03 August 2014 - 09:53 AM

When Santana comes to the plate I don't anticipate, I just watch and enjoy. When balls are hit to CF, I unconsciously hold my breath (as I do with all our outfielders). Isn't Baseball wonderful ? :)

 

The most important thing about Santana's future is that he is sandwiched between Eduardo Escobar's excellent SS play this season and the progress of Jorge Polanco.  Which of the 3 will be the Twins shortstop in the future is unpredictable and will be one of the keys to the Twins future success.

 

What if Escobar continues to hit respectably? Should Santana take over at SS ?  Would he field better? Escobar has proved to be a descent utility player. Who plays CF? (Please don't say Hicks!)

What if Polanco proves to be a superior fielder and hitter ? Where does Santana play? What happens to Escobar?

Assume that Dozier is the 2nd baseman and becomes the Gold Glover he has shown he can be.  What happens to the loser of the SS battle ?  Trade chips, anybody ?


#16 nicksaviking

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Posted 03 August 2014 - 10:01 AM

The Twins have been very proactive lately calling up the young batters and I expect an earlier than expected debut for Buxton as well.

 

The pitchers do not appear to be get the same consideration though.  Perhaps it speaks to their confidence, or lack thereof when it comes to developing pitchers.


#17 Lakeside

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Posted 03 August 2014 - 10:18 AM

After seeing him in Spring Training I was one that expected Santana to come up sometime this year and take over the SS spot.

 

However, after seeing him so far I'm not so sure that I would be correct.  After seeing his power hitting from the left-side, I'm wondering if maybe Danny Santana is the future Twins Leftfielder.  He's a little raw in LF, but ideally you would want your corner outfileders to be able to consistently hit 15-20 Hrs/year. I'm guessing he may be able to do that.  Eventually he will give the Twins good defense, with his speed in LF and his offensive speed would be a plus for that position.

 

In this scenario, I'm assuming that Buxton will be the CF.

 

This scenario also lets Escobar, Dozier, Nunez, Beresford, Polanco, Michael, and Rosario (can also be a reserve outfiled as can Nunez)  fight it out among themselves to be the 2B/SS fixtures.  From what I hear, Levi Michael is being groomed as the teams future Nick Punto.

 

A contending team needs its 3-4-5 hitters to be capable of 20Hrs/year and I look to Sano, Vargas, and a Rightfielder (possibly from a trade or Aaron Hicks???) as this possibility. The power that Santana seems to have from the leftside is a real plus.

 

Finally, while we wait on Buxton (and I am a little concerned about his progress this year)  I might suggest that we sign Denard Span as the CF next year and start going with this plan.


#18 birdwatcher

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Posted 03 August 2014 - 10:53 AM

The Twins have been very proactive lately calling up the young batters and I expect an earlier than expected debut for Buxton as well.

 

The pitchers do not appear to be get the same consideration though.  Perhaps it speaks to their confidence, or lack thereof when it comes to developing pitchers.

I'd submit this is not just a recent phenomena, nor is it less prevalent for pitchers. It's a function of talent, not philosophy. Thorpe is the youngest player in the Midwest League by what, four years? Exceptional talent has always risen through the system fast; Hrbek, Blyleven, Carew, Wynegar, et al from the past. Arcia, Santana, Gordon, Thorpe, Polanco, Vargas, Stewart, Pinto, Rosario, Buxton, Sano....it's a very very long list of prospects who are among the very youngest players at their level.


#19 ScrapTheNickname

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Posted 03 August 2014 - 11:10 AM

"When Santana comes to the plate I don't anticipate, I just watch and enjoy."

 

Yes.

 

 

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#20 nicksaviking

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Posted 03 August 2014 - 11:30 AM

I'd submit this is not just a recent phenomena, nor is it less prevalent for pitchers. It's a function of talent, not philosophy. Thorpe is the youngest player in the Midwest League by what, four years? Exceptional talent has always risen through the system fast; Hrbek, Blyleven, Carew, Wynegar, et al from the past. Arcia, Santana, Gordon, Thorpe, Polanco, Vargas, Stewart, Pinto, Rosario, Buxton, Sano....it's a very very long list of prospects who are among the very youngest players at their level.

 

Thorpe and Berrios have been fast risers, perhaps they'll break the mold, but we can't assume that just because they got bumped quickly in rookie and A ball that they will be in the majors soon.  Caution seems to be preached with pitching, which is fine, but with Gibson, May and Meyer, there seemed to be more detours than there were for the hitters in the upper minors.  A near finished product seems to be the expectation for the pitchers while the batters are allowed some developmental time at the majors.

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#21 Hosken Bombo Disco

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Posted 03 August 2014 - 11:32 AM

I'd submit this is not just a recent phenomena, nor is it less prevalent for pitchers. It's a function of talent, not philosophy. Thorpe is the youngest player in the Midwest League by what, four years? Exceptional talent has always risen through the system fast; Hrbek, Blyleven, Carew, Wynegar, et al from the past. Arcia, Santana, Gordon, Thorpe, Polanco, Vargas, Stewart, Pinto, Rosario, Buxton, Sano....it's a very very long list of prospects who are among the very youngest players at their level.

ok, but Santana was called up basically as a warm body when the Twins found themselves carrying 14 pitchers all the sudden. Gardy was still happily writing in Florimon at short even after Santana arrived.

Give Santana credit- he continues to hit and has made the most of his opportunity in center. He has really improved there. You can also give the Twins credit by trading Fuld so that Santana can continue to play center full time and learn.

#22 TheLeviathan

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Posted 03 August 2014 - 11:47 AM

Doc said this well. I was doing a radio show yesterday and realized that the Twins have called up a lot of young players. Yes, May will make one more start for Rochester (presumably). But we've seen Vargas and Santana who I don't think anyone would have said "they're ready" when they were called up. Hicks was in that situation... twice. Arcia was very young. I don't know which "prospects" are at AA or AAA that should be called up .

These are all hitters. The Twins appear to be very willing to push hitters aggressively but are the polar opposites with pitchers. Very strange.

And if you want to cite Berrios or Thorpe...let's wait to see how that goes once they hit AA. That's where the difference starts to manifest. At the very least you can say the Twins tolerate far more glaring warts in their hitting prospects than they do their pitchers when considering call ups.

Edited by TheLeviathan, 03 August 2014 - 11:50 AM.

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#23 CRArko

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Posted 03 August 2014 - 04:58 PM

Yup, the kid is starting to regress. ;)
Take your time, and do it right. - N. Fury

#24 Monkeypaws

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Posted 03 August 2014 - 05:13 PM

What a line today: 5 for 6, 2 runs, 4 RBI, 2 SB, double, triple, walk. Pretty insane stuff.

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#25 Jaykay

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Posted 03 August 2014 - 06:35 PM

Another "what the...." type of day

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#26 drivlikejehu

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Posted 03 August 2014 - 07:26 PM

In a small sample, large variations are to be expected. Some will overperform, some will underperform, etc. It happens all the time.


#27 teekz

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Posted 03 August 2014 - 08:03 PM

He's been a pretty fun guy to watch this year. He seems to be doing better and better in center.

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#28 Twins Twerp

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Posted 03 August 2014 - 08:19 PM

In a small sample, large variations are to be expected. Some will overperform, some will underperform, etc. It happens all the time.


Statistics be damned...this kid can play and he can hit. He may go through a slump but I bet he is batting .285 still the end of the year. He is a great athlete so he will be able to settle in somewhere. I just dont see how some can hope for a correction to the mean. Wt heck? He may be overperforming a bit but i think it is less than stat heads are talking about. Dang he is fun to watch.

#29 drjim

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Posted 03 August 2014 - 08:46 PM

In a small sample, large variations are to be expected. Some will overperform, some will underperform, etc. It happens all the time.


I must admit this was not my first thought when watching and contemplating the game he played today.
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Papers...business papers.

#30 Paul Pleiss

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Posted 03 August 2014 - 09:39 PM

Like Doc, I've been waiting, and waiting... and waiting for Santana to fail. It's just not happening. Sort of like how I've been waiting for Joe Mauer to turn back into Joe Mauer. i'm not sure that this season is indictive of how either player will play next season and into the future, but I've stopped waiting for Danny Santana to fail. I like what he's doing, and am just happy to see someone in a Twins uniform playing well, having fun and smiling. He's been a great addition to the top of the lineup, and plays a servicable CF while the Twins wait for anyone resembling a true CF to emerge at the higher levesl of the system or via FA/trade/waiver claim etc.

 

Danny Santana, I tip my hat to you.