Debby Santana held his own as a 17-year-old in the Arizona Rookie League in the 2018 season. He showed real power, slugging .426 with 17 extra-base hits in 50 games – including six home runs. But he did struggle a bit to get on base and hit for average, posting a .250/.295/.426 line overall with just 10 walks and 44 strikeouts.
As an 18-year-old, the Cincinnati Reds sent Debby Santana back to the Arizona Rookie League for his second tour. The season started out well enough. The third baseman played in eight games during June – the Arizona Rookie League season didn’t begin until the 17th – and he went 10-35 (.286) with two doubles and a triple. That did come with just one walk and with 12 strikeouts in 36 trips to the plate, but resulted in a .286/.306/.400 line for the roughly two weeks of playing time to start the year.
July got out to a strong start. In the first four games of the month, Debby Santana would go 5-14 (.357) with two walks and a home run – his first of the season. He would slump a little bit over the next week, going just 3-16 with seven strikeouts. The final two weeks of the month saw the infielder turn things around. He went 13-35 with a double and a triple, hitting .371 in the span. That stretch didn’t include a walk, but he struck out just six times over that span. He would complete July with a .323/.338/.415 line. Unfortunately that would also be the end of his season. He suffered a strain and didn’t recover in time before the season ended near the end of August.
For all 2019 Season Reviews and Scouting Reports – click here (these will come out during the week throughout the offseason).
Debby Santana Spray Chart
Debby Santana Scouting Report
Position: 3B | B/T: R/R
Height: 6′ 2″ | Weight: 185 lbs | Acquired: International FA, August 2016
Born: August 24, 2000
Hitting | He’s shown in his professional career that he can and will use the entire field, and in the past, hit the ball with authority the other way. The hit tool could be average in the future.
Power | While it didn’t play up in games in 2019, Santana has power to come into with above-average raw power.
Running | He’s a below-average runner.
Defense | The parts are there for average defense in the future, but currently he’s a well below-average defender who has made 40 errors in 97 games at third base in his career.
Arm | He shows above-average arm strength.
On the surface, the 2019 season was a step forward in some areas over the 2018 season – but also a step backwards. We need to first address that the sample size at play for both the 2018 and 2019 seasons was small, but that the 2019 season was all of 105 plate appearances – which in other leagues that play every day, is literally just one months worth of plate appearances. That said, the average and on-base percentages were up for Santana in 2019, while the power was down. From a peripheral standpoint, though – everything was down. The already low walk rate dropped, his solid strikeout rate went to poor, and his above-average power played as below-average power. A .435 BABIP hid plenty of that, though.
As noted, the sample size was small, and an injury shut down his season – so let’s be very hesitant to worry too much about some of those numbers. The walk rate, though, is something to keep an eye on moving forward. It’s been low in each of his three professional seasons, and gotten lower with each one. It’s going to need to improve as he moves forward in his career if he’s going to get the most out of his hitting tools.
Defensively there are plenty of reasons to wonder about where he winds up. The rate at which he’s made errors in his career is alarming. He’s still young – he turned 19 in August, so he’s going to play nearly all of the 2020 season as a teenager. But an error nearly every other game played shows just how far he needs to come in order to remain at third base. It’s possible that he could wind up in a corner outfield spot, or even slide across the infield and end up at first base down the line.
Longest Home Run of the Year
He only hit one, but he hit it far. 429 feet on July 5th.
Interesting Stat on Debby Santana
He had big time platoon splits in 2019. He struck out 26 times without a walk against righties with a .667 OPS. In 30 plate appearances against lefties he walked three times with five strikeouts and posted a .934 OPS.
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