Oklahoma City RedHawks outfielder Domingo Santana has all of the tools to be a big-time Major League Baseball player.
He’s got the frame at 6-foot-5 and 224 pounds.
He’s got the power with 12 home runs and 47 RBIs this season.
Santana’s also got the prospect label after rising through the Houston Astros system following the 2011 trade with the Philadelphia Phillies that keeps on giving to the Astros.
“There should be some expectations when the guy’s got a pretty good package,” RedHawks hitting coach Leon Roberts said. “He’s young; he’s playing at a high level at a young age.”
Just three years later that trade already looks like a complete steal for the Astros, who landed current MLB players Jon Singleton, Josh Zeid and Jarred Cosart in the deal for Hunter Pence.
It just might be the player who was named later who becomes the steal.
“When they traded me, I was just starting my career,” Santana said. “After that, it just makes me feel like I have new beginning again. I can start over from zero and do it right.”
Santana was reportedly not supposed to be on the list of players available from the Phillies. For his part, he denies any knowledge of that.
Instead, he’s focused on his quick rise to Triple-A at just 21 years old.
He was added to the Astros’ 40-man roster in November to protect him from the Rule 5 draft. Earlier this week, Santana was also selected for the MLB All-Star Futures Game.
It’s a sign of his rise to stardom and what’s to come in the future.
Santana still needs to cut down on the strikeouts. Last season, he totaled 139 in 416 at-bats and he already has 92 in 298 at-bats this season.
“Just trying to shorten my swing and not doing too much, just trying to play pepper with the ball and to get into good counts,” Santana said about his keys to improving. “To get into good counts, you get more favorable pitches to you.”
Still, with the recent struggles by the Astros’ offense, Santana could see himself in Houston at some point this season to provide a spark.
There just isn’t a reason to hurry the fourth and final piece of Houston’s steal of a trade to make the jump.
“He’s 21 years old, and there’s no big urgent hurry to rush him like a Mike Trout, a (Bryce) Harper or some of those other guys,” Roberts said. “He’s still got some growing to do, and there’s some growing pains in there like the strikeouts.
“When you go to the big leagues you’ve got to face the Verlanders, the Sabathias and the Kershaws, all of those kind of guys. He’s got to be mentally and physically mature enough to handle that. Is he going to get there? I think he’s going to get there half-way quick.”