Position: Third Baseman
Santa was the Tigers big splash in Latin America last summer, signing as soon as the international signing period opened in July. The Tigers scouted Santa heavily in advance of his signing and ultimately gave him a rumored $750,000 signing bonus.
Santa has two tools that draw rave reviews from scouts, his power bat and power arm.
Santa has good strength in his swing and generates good leverage for his age. He can drive the ball way out of the park in batting practice but is still learning to translate his strength to game situations. Scouts I spoke with last summer tossed 60-grades on his raw power and believe he could hit 25 home runs annually if the rest of his game comes together.
The ability to make contact remains very raw for Santa. He doesn't recognize pitches well and is still learning the bounds of the strike zone and what pitches he can drive. He has the length in his swing that invokes images of a classic power hitter, but that length also opens up significant holes in his game. There were several talent evaluators that questioned whether Santa would even hit .250 down the line.
Santa is a below-average runner now and could lose speed as he ages and bulks up. He will have to work hard not to become a 20-grade runner and possible base clogger.
Despite his plus arm strength, there are still concerns about whether Santa can remain at third base. He is already thick in the lower half and doesn't have great range, with the obvious concern that he could thicken up more with physical maturity.
The only place for Santa to go on the defensive spectrum is first base. He has solid hands and he seems to have the aptitude to develop the appropriate footwork if forced to the position.
Regardless of whether Santa plays third base or first base, there is going to be significant pressure on the development of his bat. He will need to hit and hit for power to become the prospect the Tigers envision because his glove is never going to carry him.
Did not appear professionally in 2011 after signing in July.
There are no notable injuries in Santa's past but he will need to focus on his conditioning as he gets older to remain a durable player that can avoid most minor injuries.
Santa will make his professional debut in 2012 after participating in the Tigers Dominican Instructional League last fall. The Tigers are still weighing whether or not to bring Santa stateside for some exposure to the system's top coaches in spring training. If he comes stateside during that time, his performance will determine whether he will play in the DSL or GCL this summer.
Santa is eons away from the big leagues and will likely need 5-6 years in the minor leagues to develop both physically and offensively. Fans should not be surprised or disappointed if he needs two or even three years in short-season ball before he reaches West Michigan.
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