FanPost

Premature Rankings Talk: Carlos Santana is a top ____ Prospect.

Since the last thread generated nearly 200 votes and some solid conversation and because I'll do pretty much anything to divert my attention from this case note I have to finish by Monday, I thought I'd gauge the community's feelings about the other prospect who intrigues me as much as or more than anyone else in the minors: Carlos Santana.

 

Currently batting .303/.427/.529 with a 27/22 BB/K ratio in 119 at-bats.  15 of his 36 hits have gone for extra bases.  On top of it all, Santana has gotten a tiny bit unlucky - his BABIP sits at .293 despite a 21.7% line drive rate (standard caveat about trusting "line drive rate" as determined by minor league baseball scorers across the nation applies).  Assuming his ball-in-play numbers approximate what minorleaguesplits says they are, you'd expect a BABIP more in the .320-.325 range.

Defensively, BA wrote early in the season about improving footwork, and I don't know how he's been at catching baserunners (a knock against him last season), but I've yet to hear any real talk that he can't handle the position. 

Offensively, he seems to have absolutely everything. He hits for average, he hits for power, he walks far more than he strikes out, and strikes out in fewer than 20% of his at-bats.  Santana's got power, patience, and contact at THE premium position of all premium positions.  

He only has one knock against him: at 23 in double-A, he's not the typical age for the truly elite prospects.  I did some quick looking, and couldn't find a 23-year-old hitter who cracked BA's top 10 in the past 10 years.  The last 23-year-old position player who cracked the top-15 was Dallas McPherson after his 2004 season where he hit 40 home runs between AA and AAA.

Part of this is self-selection: when deserving 23-year-olds start hitting the crap out of the ball in Double-A or higher they tend to get promoted to the majors and eclipse the 130 AB mark.  Another part of it is that 20-year-olds are much more likely to put up the counting stats necessary for hall-of-fame careers, and prospect lists all about upside tend to rank those higher. 

So, where do y'all think Santana fits in?  Again, I don't necessarily want to talk about Santana in direct comparison to other elite prospects, although he probably inevitably invites a comparison to the other elite catching prospect not named Matt Wieters.  Instead, think about the general range, and where a talent like Santana's would fit in a top 100 list during a typical year (whatever that is).

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