Throughout the 2022-23 offseason, Crawfish Boxes will be reviewing all 316 players to appear at any level for the team through the 2022 season.
In the lower echelons of the minor leagues, there is a notable dearth of metric information that we’ve become used to at the major league level. Take some of these things with a grain of salt.
In part one of our series, we’re taking a look at 20-year-old right-handed pitcher Jose Andujar. Born on February 10, 2002, the Azua, DR native struck out 42 in 30 2⁄3 innings for the DSL Astros in 2021, starting in seven of his 13 appearances and going 4-5 with a 5.28 ERA. His solid strikeout numbers came with a wildness caveat, with 27 walks for that year.
A lateral promotion would see Andujar start the 2022 season with the FCL Astros Orange squad. Wildness remains a concern to his game, with 35 (vs 37 strikeouts) in only 28 innings. Andujar posted an 0-2 record for the Orange team, with a 6.75 ERA. So far through his professional career, he’s managed a 1.824 WHIP, something he’ll need to get under control in order to progress past the rookie level in 2023.
On the positive side of things, hitters and runners have a hard time getting a read on Andujar as well. He limited opponents to a .202 batting average and allowed only five of nine would-be base stealers to successfully take a free base in 2022. In his best showing of the season, on June 16, Andujar struck out two and surrendered one walk over three hitless innings, earning his first save in a 9-2 win against the FCL Marlins.
In the event that Andujar figures out his control problems, and considering a more-or-less average rate of development, his arrival in the majors would be around 2027.
Luis Santana is a five-foot-nine infielder from Bani, DR. Born on July 20, 1999, he signed his first professional deal with the New York Mets in 2016. He spent three seasons in their system, and joined the Astros system on January 6, 2019 via trade. To wit, he came over with Ross Adolph and Scott Manea for Cody Bohanek and J.D. Davis.
In 2019, Santana’s first season in Houston’s organization, he split his time between the Low-A Tri-City ValleyCats and the Double-A Corpus Christi Hooks. Through 70 games in total, he slashed .257/.337/.329 with two homers and 17 RBI. He stole four bases, walked 20 times, and struck out 33 times in 252 plate appearances.
After taking off the 2020 season (along with the rest of minor league baseball), Santana played 49 games for the High-A Asheville Tourists in 2021 and hit .229 while manning second and third base. He again only hit two home runs, but one of them went viral:
this unbelievable bat flip from Astros prospect Luis Santana (acquired from the Mets in the JD Davis trade) already has nearly 500K views but it'd be well over a million if it was shot in landscapepic.twitter.com/aUL2t3hymW— Céspedes Family BBQ (@CespedesBBQ) May 7, 2021
The 2022 season would see Santana appear in 90 contests, although he remained at the High-A level for the Tourists. He improved his slash line to .294/.386/.457, slamming nine homers with 49 RBI and 11 stolen bases.
The month of June, in particular, was a good one for Santana, resulting in his selection was the South Atlantic League Player of the Month. According to Asheville.com:
Luis tallied at least one hit in 19 of the 21 games he played in during the month of June and recorded ten multi-hit games. Santana capped the month off with a 5-for-6 performance against Bowling Green to become the first Tourists player in 2022 to deliver a five-hit game.
Defensively, Santana played 230 1⁄3 innings at first (.995), 196 1⁄3 innings at second (.989), 158 1⁄3 innings at third (.936), 78 innings in right field (.889), and 9 1/3 innings in left (.800).
Also of note, Santana has been called on to pitch on three separate occasions for Asheville this season, allowing one hit and striking one batter out over three innings. He issued one walk, and has put 20-of-38 pitches over the plate.
Despite his recent progress, Santana has been a minor leaguer since 2016. If the Astros are appreciative of his growth, and he continues to progress over the next two seasons, Santana could make it to the majors likely sometime in 2025.
So what do you think? Let me know in the comments if you’re on board for this magnificent endeavor. Let me know if you’re not on board, too, but imma write them all anyway. Thanks for reading.