When Casey Blake was traded to the Dodgers last July, most fans had no idea who the prospects were the Indians received for their former grinder.
John Meloan was one half of the deal, a hard throwing bullpen arm. The other has turned into, by most prospect publications, the No. 1 prospect in the organization: catcher Carlos Santana.
Most fans have heard of Santana by now, as he got to play in a few games with the Tribe in Spring Training and has been heavily talked about and mentioned. Here is what some in baseball have to say about the "smooth" switch hitter...
from Ross Atkins
, Indians director of player development: "Carlos is extremely gifted offensively. He has a lot of bat speed and he's disciplined. Defensively, he has above average skills when it comes to catching and throwing. He still needs to refine his receiving skills, his game calling ability and his ability to lead a pitching staff."
of Minorleagueball.com: "...he's continued to produce power and terrific strike zone judgment while transitioning to Double-A.. I'm not sure he gets as much attention as he deserves: he's an excellent prospect, and will battle Buster Posey for "best catching prospect" plaudits once Matt Wieters graduates to the majors."
Pretty high praise for the young 23-year-old Dominican. He seems to be developing into a pretty good receiver, while showing a cannon for an arm.
Santana's leadership behind the dish has help lead to success for Akron, as through May 12th the team had posted a combined 2.81 ERA, with the starting staff of Hector Rondon (29 IP, 1.24 ERA), Frank Herrmann (30 1/3 IP, 2.97 ERA), Chuck Lofgren (27 IP, 1.33 ERA), and Jeanmar Gomez (12 IP, 0.75 ERA) throwing lights out.
But what will eventually get him to Cleveland will be his bat; and he has been raking
down in Akron again this season hitting .273 with a .416 OBP, .534 SLG and .950 OPS.
Those are great numbers as he has demonstrated his keen eye of the strike zone while being pitched around in the middle of the Aero lineup (22 Walks to 15 K's). He is among the leaders in the Eastern League as well, with six home runs and 22 RBI.
It will be interesting to see when young Carlos breaks in with the big league club, with Victor Martinez's 2011 free agent year looming. Santana's switch hitting swing is reminiscent of V-Marts', while sporting his #41 jersey behind the dish at Canal Park.
Hopefully this Tribe phenom will have to choose a different numeral when he gets the call up to Cleveland while his mentor mans the bag over at first.