Ravel Santana, who played in the 2010 Dominican Summer League, showed to major league scouts that he was worth taking a shot on. He batted .322 with 10 home runs and 22 stolen bases in 63 games played.
At only 6"1 170 pounds, the centerfielder landed in the U.S. last weekend after complications and approval problems of receiving a visa to enter the country.
The approval was accepted and Santana found his way into life in America. The process was hard for Santana but he is glad to be in the States playing the game he loves.
"I thank god that I'm finally here," Santana said through a translator. "I'm happy to be here and ready to go. It's been great to see some of my teammates who I played with in the Dominican as well."
With so much success coming Santana's way last summer, he now enters a new world of baseball where offspeed pitches and more of an arsenal of pitches await him.
As changes become evident for Santana, he has been working on his game, especially his hitting.
"I have been mainly working on my balance and staying closed at the plate. Sometimes I open my hips too much but working on my swing has been my main goal so far," Santana said.
With the Gulf Coast League set to start up next month, he has been playing in Extended Spring Training games where he has shown success.
Last Wednesday afternoon he started in centerfield as the lead-off batter for the Yankees. Santana went 1-3 with a single, run and two stolen bases. He felt strong on the field and the moment was especially special since it was one of his first games in America.
"I felt great and really good playing out there," Santana said. "I'm just trying to play hard every game as I usually do, and since I am in America I want my level of play to stay consistent while working hard every single day."
As a player trying to move up the next level, adjustments are always made to make the goal reality. Santana realizes that the GCl is starting up soon and knows what he has to do to be productive during the season.
"My legs seem to be here and my energy is good. I do need to work on the little things though like my balance and my swing. My coaches and I have been working on staying balanced at the plate and becoming a consistent everyday player," said Santana.
To have the same success as Santana did in the DSL, GCL Yankees hitting coach Edwar Gonzalez has seen a good work ethic so far from the young Dominican.
"He is a hard worker which helps because he is very talented," Gonzalez said. "[Ravel] can definitely be a great player as long as he works on what he has to work on effectively while staying positive."
With life in America set for Santana, the season can't start up sooner.
"Since I'm here and problems coming to the States are in the past, I couldn't be more eager to start up the season," Santana concluded.
Santana Finally Ready For The States
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