Chris Santiago lettered in his junior and senior seasons at De La Salle High School in Concord, California. Effective as a hitter and pitcher, he earned multiple awards in 2018 and 2019, including EBAL MVP, EBAL First Team Utility, All Nor-Cal First Team, All Bay Area First Team, and All-Metro First Team. In his two years on the varsity team, he batted a cumulative .387 with 8 home runs and pitched a total of 15.2 innings with 28 strikeouts. He went undrafted in the 2019 MLB Draft and honored his commitment to St. Mary’s College of California, a private Catholic college in Moraga, California.
Santiago appeared in only 4 games in 2020, his freshman season, the season getting cancelled early due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He had more luck in 2021. In addition to appearing in 37 games, he also made 6 appearances out of the Gaels’ bullpen. All in all, he hit .187/.283/.253 in 91 at-bats with 1 home run, 2 stolen bases in as many attempts, 11 walks and 23 strikeouts while posting a 11.81 ERA in 5.1 innings with 8 hits allowed, 2 walks, and 7 strikeouts. He played for the Kokomo Jackrabbits of the Northwoods League that summer and hit .272/.349/.352 in 53 games with 3 home runs, 1 stolen base, and 20 walks to 44 strikeouts while posting a 0.69 ERA in 13.0 innings on the mound, allowing 6 hits, walking 6, and striking out 16. This past season, Santiago hit .287/.363/.525 in 51 games with 10 home runs, 1 stolen base in 2 attempts, and 12 walks to 37 strikeouts while posting a 4.50 ERA on the mound in 20.0 innings, with 10 hits allowed, 9 walks, and 20 strikeouts.
A two-way player, head coach Greg Moore would have Santiago start at either third base or first, and then later come in to relieve games. A solid-but-incomplete player as a hitter and a pitcher, scouts and evaluators generally consider his upside as a pitcher to be higher than his upside as a position player.
At the plate, Santiago stands stall with his hands high and his bat wrapped behind his head. He swings with a toe tap mechanism, generally staying balanced during his swing because his load and stride are minimal and feature very little movement. He has surprising power for such simple mechanics
As a pitcher, Santiago has a fastball that sits in the low-to-mid-90s and tops out at 97 MPH. The pitch has a lot of backspin and features rising life as a result. He is still developing his secondary pitches, and his breaking ball still morphs between a slider and a curveball. The pitch sits anywhere between the upper-70s to the low-80s and features slurvy break.