Scouting profile: Domingo Santana
The Philadelphia Phillies signed huge right-handed hitter Domingo Santana in 2009 as an international free agent from the Dominican Republic. In a major deal with the Houston Astros, the Phillies traded Santana along with Jon Singleton, Josh Zeid and Jarred Cosart for Hunter Pence.
At this season's non-waiver Trade Deadline, the Astros sent Santana to the Milwaukee Brewers along with prospects Brett Phillips, Josh Hader and Adrian Houser for Carlos Gomez and Mike Fiers. It was an impact trade for both franchises.
Now ranked No. 4 among the Brewers' Top 20 prospects and on the team's Major League roster, Santana made his big league debut with the Astros in July 2014. He scuffled in that initial performance, striking out in 14 of his 18 plate appearances.
Santana's best tool is his raw power. At 6-foot-5, 225 pounds, Santana is a major presence at the plate. He gets extension with those long arms and has little trouble covering the entire plate. He can take pitches to all fields, especially fastballs.
Santana's bat is quick through the ball. He is aggressive at the plate.
Santana is a credible outfielder. His strong and accurate arm is his second-best and second-most refined tool. He can make long strides and can fit in anywhere in the outfield, but there is little question he has a prototypical right field arm.
In an environment in dire need of power, Santana offers the type of strength and power that can change a game with one of his long swings. His power makes him attractive. If he makes contact, he can be dangerous.
Santana's defense can be characterized as a tad above average. That means he can come into a game as a pinch-hitter and stay in the game on defense.
Santana has more speed than one might imagine for a man of his size. He can run down balls in the outfield and perhaps steal a few bases if the situation is right.
Santana has just turned 23 -- he has a chance to improve his contact rate. However, his swing and miss and strikeout rates are way too high. Although he has shown some improvement lately, in fact, he has struck out 29.5 percent of the time or 872 times in 2,947 plate appearances. In many cases, he was simply overmatched by opposing pitchers.
Santana's swing is long and without much discipline at this point of his career. He scuffles against breaking balls and becomes even more aggressive when he is down in the count. High velocity pitches up in the zone give him trouble, as he has difficulty recognizing pitches to hit. He must work hard to improve his hitting mechanics and discover a consistent approach to attack the ball.
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This season, Santana has hit 18 home runs and has driven in 77 runs combined at Triple-A Fresno (Houston) and Colorado Springs (Brewers.) Those statistics have increased his credibility as a dangerous power hitter waiting in the wings.
The future of Santana
The Brewers will have to be patient with Santana -- he is still young and is still learning to sort out pitches he can drive. If he learns the strike zone and can hone his skills hitting breaking balls, he can be a force at the plate.
Milwaukee's Miller Park is made to order for Santana's right-handed power. In brief opportunities in the big leagues to date in his career, he has shown he can find the seats.
The reality of Santana's career to date is striking. Even with eye-popping size and power, Santana has already been traded twice. He still has more to learn. Ultimately, his future will depend on his ability to make contact, drive in runs and reduce his strikeout rate.
Santana in a word