EDITOR’S NOTE: Luis Santana was traded to the Houston Astros January 6th, after the 2019 countdown began. As such, the decision was made not to remove Santana, keeping him on the Amazin’ Avenue 2019 Top 25 Mets Prospects list.
13. Luis Santana, 2B
Height: 5’8”, Weight: 175 lbs.
DOB: 7/20/99 (19)
Acquired: IFA, July 7, 2016 (Bani, Dominican Republic)
53 G, 204 AB, .348/.446/.471, 71 H, 13 2B, 0 3B, 4 HR, 27 BB, 23 K, 8/11 SB, .376 BABIP (Rookie-APPY)
Luis Santana grew up on his native Dominican Republic boxing, but he eventually began playing baseball. He was signed on July 7, 2016 and given $200,000, one of the highest signing bonuses of all of the rookies that the Mets signed during the 2016-2017 international free agent period. He spent the 2016 and 2017 seasons in the Dominican Summer League and hit a cumulative .317/.413/.462 in 87 games, with 37 walks and 22 strikeouts. He made his stateside debut this past season, and had an excellent year with the Kingsport Mets. He played 53 games, missing the last few due to a broken hand, and hit .348/.446/.471 with 27 walks and 23 strikeouts.
Santana is listed at 5’8”, but even that seems like a stretch. His small size brings with it a smaller strike zone, and he is no stranger to taking walks, having more career bases on balls than strikeouts. Passively drawing walks is not the infielder’s modus operandi, as he has an above-average hit tool. He possesses plus bat speed and strong wrists, meaning he can barrel almost anything. His mechanics are a bit noisy, with a wide crouch, very exaggerated bat waggle and a large kick, but he makes it work. He swings hard and puts a jolt into the ball, but does not project to be much of a power hitter.
Outside of his ability to hit, Santana is not particularly toolsy. His short, stocky frame does not give him much speed and his arm is below average, limiting him to second base.
Steve Sypa says:
Despite everything Santana has going for him- his tiny strike zone, his bat speed and wrists, his nice swing path- the infielder is going to always be dependent on BABIP, and prospects like that can lose their shine very quickly. As he moves up the minor league ladder, more pitchers will be able to hit their spots and defenders will be able to field better. Santana is a true underdog, and as a fellow short person, I will certainly be rooting for him to buck the system.
Lukas Vlahos says:
It’s a lazy comp, but think of Luis Santana as a poor-man’s Luis Urias, the Padres prospect. He’s short, he probably only plays second, he has no power, he has limited speed, but he walks a ton and seems to barrel everything. Urias was a couple levels higher than Santana at the same age- High-A, while Santana spent all of 2018 in rookie ball- but the profiles match almost exactly. It’s an extremely risky profile, particularly given Satana’s odd hand path, and if the hit tool doesn’t work against 95+, he’ll never see the majors. On the other hand, he might be the kind of guy that traditionally goes ignored and winds up having a fifteen-year major league career that’s better than anyone realizes. He’s one to watch in 2019, and he’s another guy the Mets will hopefully challenge a bit.
Kenneth Lavin says:
If I have a type as someone who follows the minors relatively closely, Luis Santana might be it. I’ve always had a soft spot for short middle infielders with advanced feel for hitting and not much else. Santana doesn’t project to add much value beyond the bat, as he’s currently not a very good defender at second base, and doesn’t really have the speed or arm strength to play anywhere else. Listed at just 5’ 8”, Santana doesn’t project to hit for much power, but has shown excellent bat to ball skills, and draws a ton of walks because of his small strike zone. He ended up hitting a robust .348/.446/.471 in 242 PAs for the Kingsport Mets in 2018, and walked more times than he struck out for the second season in a row. There’s a lot of movement in the swing, as he uses both an exaggerated leg kick and lots of movement in his hands to get as much power as his small frame will allow into his swing. The swing may not work as well against better pitching, but Santana is definitely someone I’m looking forward to seeing in full season ball at some point in 2019.