Top Prospects, part 6: Carlos Santana and recap

2010 Top Prospects 4 Position Players
1 The Injured 5 Pitchers 1
2 Fringe Position Players 5.5 Pitchers 2
3 Fringe Pitchers 6 Santana & Recap

 

In his six seasons with Cleveland, Casey Blake provided a tremendous amount of value as a minor league free agent.  820+ games, five different defensive positions (some better than others), more than 800 hits and an OPS+ of 108.  According to FanGraphs data he produced something just north of 12 wins above replacement and something like $29 million dollars in excess value (estimated value-salary).  He was a great pickup for a team decidedly lacking talent in the 2002 off-season.

And yet I think there is good reason to be optimistic that Carlos Santana, who the Indians acquired from the Dodgers when Blake was traded in late July, 2008, is going to provide Cleveland with a lot more value.  Santana started off in the Dodgers system bouncing between the infield and the outfield.  In 2007 they began transitioning Santana to catcher, a process that saw Santana struggle to a .688 OPS.  He got off to a hot start in 2008, slugging .993 OPS in the California League (high-A) with Inland Empire.  I have no idea how the Dodgers organization viewed him, but Cleveland clearly made a wise choice in asking for him in the Blake trade.  Santana showed that his offensive numbers weren't a product of the California League's offensive environment by improving his season line in Kinston with a late-season OPS over 1.000.  All in all, 2008 was a tremendously impressive season for the newly converted catcher.

But there were still questions about Santana coming into 2009.  Was 2008 an offensive fluke?  Could he really stick at catcher?  Would he adjust to upper level pitching?  All signs point to yes.  Santana set career highs in HRs, BBs and had more walks than strikeouts.  He has thrown out more than 30% of the runners who have attempted to run on him since joining the Indians organization.  There are still questions about how he handles a pitching staff (there was a great article a while back from THT showing how CC Sabathia pitched differently with Jose Molina and Jorge Posada), but Akron's pitching staff was basically dominating in 2009 - with Santana behind the plate.

Santana should be in Cleveland sometime in 2010.  And hopefully for many years to come.

C Santana PA aOPS XBH ISO BB% K% Net ProS
2006 391 .661 28 .154 13.6 15.9 17 5.02
2007 334 .769 28 .147 12.0 13.5 22 5.62
2008 568 .959 65 .242 15.7 15.0 71 8.78
2009 535 1.028 55 .240 16.8 15.5 60 10.93

Another perspective (age, level, OPS):

  • Player A: age 21 (A/A+) - .822, age 22 (A+) - .882, age 23 (AA) - .993
  • Player B: age 20 (Rk/A+) - .815, age 21 (A) - .688, age 22 (A+/AA) - .999, age 23 (AA), .943

Player A is Victor Martinez, Player B is Santana...

Medium_carlos-santana-2009_medium

A recap of this series below the fold:

The Series:

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

Part 4:

Part 5.0: The

Part 5.5: The

Pitching prospects ranked on 2009 Progress Score (2009 draftees excluded):

  1. 9.35 - H. Rondon
  2. 8.69 - C. Carrasco
  3. 7.67 - J. Todd
  4. 7.51 - J. Gomez
  5. 6.67 - A. Perez
  6. 5.36 - J. Knapp**
  7. 5.25 - T.J. House
  8. 5.17 - F. Jimenez
  9. 4.93 - J. Judy
  10. 4.87 - S. Barnes
  11. 4.82 - Z. Putnam
  12. 4.17 - P. Espino
  13. 4.06 - J. Tomlin
  14. 4.01 - B. Price
  15. 3.86 - M. Talbot
  16. 3.82 - Y. Pino
  17. 3.74 - E. Berger
  18. 3.46 - C. Cook
  19. 3.30 - M. Popham
  20. 3.03 - R. Edell
  21. 2.94 - B. Grening
  22. 2.76 - N. Hagadone**
  23. 2.60 - C.C. Lee
  24. 2.55 - C. Graham
  25. 2.15 - C. Jones
  26. 1.72 - F. Herrmann
  27. 1.63 - S. Wright
  28. 1.58 - C. Smith
  29. 1.45 - K. Landis
  30. 0.23 - N. Wagner
  31. 0.16 - K. De La Cruz** (5.96 in '08)
  32. -0.04 - R. Morris
  33. -0.76 - S. Frias**
  34. -1.47 - J. Mahalic** (4.85 in '08)

Hitting prospects ranked on 2009 Progress Score (2009 draftees included)

  1. 10.93 - C. Santana
  2. 9.08 - M. Brantley
  3. 7.78 - N. Weglarz
  4. 7.65 - L. Marson
  5. 7.52 - L. Chisenhall
  6. 7.40 - M. LaPorta
  7. 7.22 - C. Rivero
  8. 6.17 - W. Toregas
  9. 5.57 - J. Brown
  10. 5.38 - J. Drennen
  11. 5.15 - A. Abreu
  12. 4.82 - A. Abraham
  13. 4.62 - W. Hodges
  14. 4.48 - M. McBride
  15. 4.33 - C. Phelps
  16. 3.98 - J. Donald** (5.93 in '08)
  17. 3.97 - N. Romero
  18. 3.82 - B. Mills (5.55 in '08)
  19. 3.43 - N. Recknagel
  20. 3.27 - J. Rodriguez
  21. 3.00 - R. Rivas
  22. 2.75 - T. Fedroff
  23. 1.58 - J. Constanza
  24. 1.55 - D. Webb

The Indians have a very deep system.  They have a few very high ceiling guys near the majors (Santana, Brantley, LaPorta, Weglarz, Rondon, Carrasco....), they have a few potential high ceiling guys a little further back (Chisenhall, Knapp, Hagadone, Perez), but more than anything they have depth.  They have a huge number of guys who are good enough to potentially provide a surprise.  Most of them won't.  Most of them will make a marginal contribution to Cleveland if they make one at all.  But not all of the impact players in MLB were viewed as impact prospects in the course of their development.  If player development is about quality and quantity, the Indians appear at the moment (everyone except Adam Miller cross your fingers) to be well positioned for the near and mid-term future.

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