- Full name Cristian Santana
- Born 06/18/1989 in Loma De Cabrela, Dominican Republic
- Profile Ht.: 6'0" / Wt.: 175 / Bats: R / Throws: R
Organization Prospect Rankings
Santana anchored the Rangers' strong 2005 international haul, signing with the Rangers for a $325,000 bonus. He had cleanup surgery in his shoulder that caused him to miss all of 2006, but he finally made his debut in the Arizona League in 2007, though he missed a month after breaking a bone in his thumb on a foul tip. Santana is a premium athlete who drew interest as a center fielder from other clubs, and one Rangers official described him as "Raul Mondesi, if you put him behind the plate." He has a strong, square-shouldered frame and quick hands that give him a short path to the ball. He has yet to tap into his plus raw power, but he demonstrated a maturing offensive approach last summer, hitting with confidence in two-strike counts and using the whole field. Santana is a plus runner, not just for a catcher. He receives well, has good footwork and does a good job blocking balls in the dirt. He has some arm strength, but his arm action is actually too short and could use some more arm swing. If he can straighten out his throwing, he has the ability to be a special catcher in the big leagues, and enough offensive potential that he could still be an impact player at another position. He could get a shot at the Midwest League in '08, but a return to Spokane (where he finished 2007) might do him some good.
As a 16-year-old in the Dominican Republic, Santana drew interest from the Braves, Cubs, Mariners, Mets, Red Sox and Yankees before signing with the Rangers for $325,000. He comes from the same town as Rafael Furcal, who served as his adviser during negotiations. Some of the other clubs on Santana's trail wanted to make him a center fielder because he's so athletic. He's a plus runner--not just for a catcher, but for any position player. Texas wants to keep him behind the plate, however, because he has caught all of his life and loves the position. Santana has an above-average arm and impressed the Rangers by throwing behind runners at first base in instructional league, where he was the youngest player in their camp. He's a quick, agile defender with advanced catch-and-throw skills for his age. Santana is still raw in all phases of his game, particularly at the plate. He has quick hands and good bat speed, and he could hit for power as he grows into his body. He likely will debut in the Rookie-level Dominican Summer League.
Minor League Top Prospects
Santana was a key member of the Rangers' 2005 international signing class, but labrum surgery forced him to miss the 2006 season and he didn't make his pro debut until this summer. He made up for lost time, hitting his way to a promotion to the Northwest League by season's end. Santana has the bat speed, strength and athleticism to repeat his swing and hit for at least gap power, if not above-average power down the road. He's a plus runner underway, particularly for a catcher. Compactly built and athletic, Santana was the league's best catching prospect, with raw arm strength and receiving skills that project as above-average. Both tools need refinement, however, as he tied for the league lead in passed balls (12) and lost his feel for throwing mechanics as the year progressed. He threw out just 18 percent of basestealers.