According to the Houston Chronicle's Evan Drellich, it appears that corner outfielder Domingo Santana has been recalled to join the Astros. Maybe.
Sources: Astros outfield prospect Domingo Santana is on his way to meet the big league team.— Evan Drellich (@EvanDrellich) June 15, 2015
Drellich's nebulous wording in the Tweet opens Pandora's box to speculation - speculation that will doubtless be answered before completion of this post. But in the meantime, one wonders: is it a trade of Santana? Is it a trade of somebody else? Is somebody injured? Is Jake Marisnick being optioned to AAA? Is Santana being presented with an award? Has he never actually met the big league team, and now's his chance?
I assume we will find out fairly quickly.
Santana, age 22, has spent the 2015 season by making an abject mockery of the Pacific Coast League. The right-handed slugger slugged a cartoonish .320/.444/.584 with 11 home runs in 56 games for the Fresno Grizzlies and is currently amidst an on-base streak that dates back to May 4th. More importantly, he has reduced his strikeout rate over the past month to a tolerable 23%, which hopefully can translate to the major leagues. This is particularly important for Santana, since he struck out fourteen times in eighteen plate appearances during a brief but disastrous call up mid-season last year and has a history of alarming K-rates.
If savvy fans want a little bit of hope that Santana's production won't come crashing down due to his .444 BABIP at AAA, it is worth noting two things: first, he boasts an 18% walk rate at AAA this season, indicating that contact woes might be mitigated by reaching base via the free pass. Second, Santana's career .387 BABIP might indicate a guy who can sustain slightly higher than usual BABIPs (but not .444 high!) due to his very high line drive rate (28% compared to 20% PCL average).
Wishful fans have described Santana as a Giancarlo Stanton starter kit, or Nelson Cruz. While this outcome is incredibly unlikely (for anybody), the traits he shares with those established superstars are what have made him a top prospect since being acquired from the Phillies in return for Hunter Pence in 2011. Some rumors even say that Santana's inclusion on the list of players available to fill the "Player to be named later" part of that trade was actually an accident, a clerical mistake on the part of the Phillies' front office.
But for 2015: let the speculation begin! Where does he play? The outfield is crowded with starters George Springer, Marisnick, Colby Rasmus, and Preston Tucker. DH is set with Evan Gattis. He seems to be a man without a position. And so is born the wondering. Has GM Jeff Luhnow pulled off a trade for a starting pitcher? A hot prospect? Have Marisnick's offensive struggles finally overcome his defensive wizardry? Or is this a case of a prospect simply forcing his way into the lineup by dominating his level?
We shall see!
We now know.
Sources: Colby Rasmus, who has homered tonight, will be heading to the bereavement list, bringing up Domingo Santana.— Evan Drellich (@EvanDrellich) June 16, 2015