In case you missed it, Tony Blengino over at Fangraphs ranked the minor league systems. His list is a little unique as it emphasizes each teams’ impact prospects, or those that project to be above-average major league regulars. Ultimately, I will admit these are just rankings, and all of the prospect prognosticators are simply giving us their best educated guesses (which no doubt are better than mine). However, it is still nice to be nationally recognized as having a top tier farm system in the entire league. It certainly is a vast improvement over where the Astros' farm system was not too long ago.
The main thing that sticks out to me in the Blengino piece is how high he is on Domingo Santana. I agree with his assessment, but apparently we are higher on him than most. I see a man-child, checking in at 6’5" and 230, who played in AA last year as a 20-year old. I am sorry but I might have understated that, as he not only played last year, but he produced quite well, hitting 25 HRs with a slugging percentage of .498 and an OPS of .842. He even threw in a few net steals (7) just for good measure. I will concede that strikeouts seem to be a problem, and he will look to decrease his total of 139 last year. If he can improve upon that, I am failing to see any real drawback to his game. Ultimately, I agree with Blengino’s final statement regarding Santana:
Very few positional prospects in the game can match that youth/production combo.
Maybe I am a sucker for rooting for the underdog (who doesn’t root for a PTBNL to develop and succeed at the major league level?). Perhaps I am entirely way too high on him, and his strikeouts are a bigger problem than I realize. I will admit that I was amazed at how far Wily Mo Pena could hit a ball. I thought he was going to be a stud, and remember thinking the Reds were crazy for trading him for Bronson Arroyo. In retrospect, that didn’t turn out too bad for the Reds! Unfortunately, there is a possibility that Santana ends up having a similar career to Pena, with spurts of jaw-dropping power, but not nearly consistent to be an everyday regular. But being the eternal optimist that I am, I prefer to project Santana feasting on the opposing pitchers for years to come. If you ask me right now, I will gladly take a .265-.270 hitter, with an OBP in the .350 range, while adding 25 HRs and a cannon for an arm in RF. And I think Santana can develop into that kind of player, and possibly more.