Give the people what they want
Ha ha, yesterday someone started following me on twitter for the simple reason I had made a reference to Dennis Santana. That got me one of my best responses to a farm report so in that vein here is an in depth report on Dennis Santana the best pitching prospect in the system that no one has heard of.
The only reason I’ve paid attention to Santana is because of Nate Purcell who comments over at TBLA. He usually has a good read on prospects and even though David Hood didn’t put Santana in his top 60 that didn’t mean that Santana was not a prospect. MLB has Santana as the Dodgers 27th top prospect.
Dennis Santana, RHP, 1.7 KATOH+ WAR – A converted shortstop, Santana throws a future plus-plus sinker and has a potential plus slider. The command is well below average but Santana is a solid athlete and his walk rate dropped this year. He’s a potential late-inning arm.
For detail about Dennis Santana, Dustin Nosler is the man. Dustin based his scouting report on a game he saw in person on April 7th.
Future: At 21, there’s no need to rush Santana. He’s in his third season of pitching, so there isn’t a lot of mileage on his arm. And the Dodgers have been pretty solid at converting position players to the mound in recent years (Kenley Jansen, Pedro Baez, Blake Smith — yes, he made it to the majors with the White Sox) and it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Santana make it to the bigs as a reliever. His fastball could play up, and if he tightens the slider there’s an outside chance of him being a late-inning, high-leverage reliever because of his poise. If not, he should be a solid middle relief-type. His improved command/control (while still not plus) has increased his chances of reaching the majors. I ranked him No. 33 coming into the season, and he’s enjoying success in the California League so far. I’d expect him to make a not-insignificant jump up the rankings come midseason.
The key takeaway I have of Santana is that he’s a converted shortstop who has only been pitching a few years. Maybe everyone is underselling his upside because his stats in the offensive minded California League have been outstanding. With each outing he has increased his strike-out totals.
Date IP H ER BB SO HR 2017-04-08 3.2 3 0 0 3 0 2017-04-14 4.0 1 0 1 4 0 2017-04-20 4.1 8 2 0 4 1 2017-04-25 6.0 6 1 0 7 0 2017-04-30 5.2 4 0 2 8 0
If command was an issue it certainly has not been in 2017 with only three walks in twenty-three innings. The last time someone was pitching like this in the Cal League that no one had heard of was last year when Brock Stewart did it, and he eventually went from an unranked Dodger prospect to pitching for the Dodgers. And oh yeah, he was a converted 3rd baseman.