Friday, June 11, 2010
Indians summon top prospect
Reacting to Enrique Rojas' breaking news about Carlos Santana, Jeff Sullivan writes:
The Indians have had an unpleasant year, sitting well out of contention in last place in the Central. Santana, though, represents a bright spot, and a reason to keep watching through the end of the season. The 24 year old backstop, who came over in the Dodgers' trade for Casey Blake in 2008, has established himself as one of the best prospects in baseball, dominating every level and batting .307 with a .440 OBP and a .568 SLG in AAA through two months in 2010. He swings an All Star-level bat, and he plays well enough behind the plate to stick at the position in the future.
Santana is as talented a young player as they come, and his promotion will give Indians fans a reason to get excited. It's bad news for Lou Marson, who's really struggled and is probably ticketed for a return to the minors, but marginal players get pushed aside when the upper-level players are ready.
It's also bad news for Steve Buffum, who won't have nearly as many chances to type "Tofu Lou" with Marson (presumably) dispatched to Triple-A Columbus, forthwith.
Meanwhile, there are so many things to love about Santana, whose performance has improved as he's moved up the ladder. He was great in fast-A, greater in Double-A, and sublimely brilliant in 56 Triple-A games this year. He's 24, though -- older than Matt Wieters and Buster Posey -- and so it's time to move him up and see what he's got.
It's manifestly unfair to expect Santana, all by himself, to turn the Indians around. Eventually he's going to need some help from Matt LaPorta, Luis Valbuena, and Michael Brantley. But Santana's the real thing, and at the least he'll give Indians fans something to take their minds off last place as we head into the summer.