Name: Danny Santiesteban
DOB: February 17, 1985
When the Twins selected Santiesteban in the 39th round of the 2004 draft, they really did not know what kind of player they were getting. Feeling he was not ready for the grind of pro ball, Santiesteban instead decided to go to Palm Beach Community College in Florida, where he would star on their baseball team for two seasons. He was part of a group of five draft-and-follows who signed with the Twins last spring, and is the cream of that group.
Santiesteban is that rare blend of power and speed that every organization is looking for, as well as having the best outfield arm in the entire organization. A seasoned player, he does the little things that helps the team win, as well as providing unbelievable pop at the plate. Assigned to the Gulf Coast League, it did not take Santiesteban long to separate himself from your everyday Minor League player.
By the time he had finished his second week in the Gulf Coast League, many scouts were already talking about him moving up to Beloit. As a 20-year old, Danny showed the ability to pick up clutch hits, as well as the knack for driving the ball to all fields. He quickly became the most feared hitter on the GCL Twins' roster, before a bit of bad luck all but ended his inaugural season of professional baseball.
In Mid-July, while he was in the middle of leading the Gulf Coast League in runs batted in, and slugging percentage, Santiesteban broke his pinky while sliding headfirst. Amazingly, Danny still led the team in home runs, smacking six, as well as in RBI with 24. He accomplished all of this while playing in a fraction of the games that most of his GCL teammates played in.
For the season, Danny slugged .640, scored 16 times, and 12 of his 23 base hits went for extra-bases. Also, he showed the ability to play a stellar centerfield, as he went the entire season without committing an error. If healthy, Santiesteban could make a rocket-like ascension through the Twins organization.
Batting and Power:Santiesteban is in his element at the plate, as he is able to strike fear in the opposing pitcher's heart. While he does have a bit of a long swing, that is something he has been working on, and he also needs to cut down on being so aggressive at the plate. But, he is a dangerous batter, and has the uncanny ability to hit the ball to all fields. When he is not clearing the fences, he can easily turn a single into a double, or a double into a triple. When you have a 20-year old batter who can hit for average and power, there is no doubt that he is ticketed for bigger things, at higher levels. A nice kid with a great zest for becoming a better player, Santiesteban spent his entire off-season working on his game, and would have gotten to Fort Myers even earlier for Spring Training had he had the money.
Baserunning and Speed:Santiesteban is fast, and when I say fast, I mean he has plus speed. While he only stole one base in 2005, it was usually because he was either hitting a home run, or standing on second base after hitting a double. When given the green light, Danny can swipe a bag off anybody, and he should show more aggression on the base paths with a full season of baseball this season. He is also a heady baserunner, something he accredits to his college coach that taught him the little things a player must do to succeed in the sport.
Defense:While he has tremendous instincts in the field, something that really cannot be taught, it may be his rocket of a right arm that really separates him from all the other outfield prospects in the organization. While some people believe he could move to right field, Santiesteban is a great centerfielder, and could succeed at any position in the outfield. Some even has suggested he could toe the line as a third baseman, a move that even excited Danny a bit. With his arm, the Twins will find a place for him to play, although I personally would like to see him in centerfield.
ETA. Late 2008.While it is anybody's guess how long it will take Danny to make it to the Show, especially after an injury-shortened season, I have come to know him as one of the hardest workers in the organization, and that is something the scouts see as well. He will be in Elizabethton this season, and will mostly likely make his way to Beloit. With his five tools, he should be in New Britain at some point in 2007, and I truly believe will get a spot on the Twins' 40-man roster. From there he could be a September call-up in 2008, although the safe play is 2009.