4. Cristian Santana, CIF Los Angeles Dodgers
The next name on our list is a bit of a difficult fit on the Mariners roster. But thanks to his plus raw power and missile arm, Cristian Santana could be worth that risk. About to enter his age 23 season, Santana wrapped up a fairly successful season in AA Tulsa.
In 102 games and 399 AB, Santana hit .301/.320/.436 with 10 home runs, 22 doubles, and 57 RBI. Remember, AA didn’t use the Major League ball as AAA did, so while the power numbers are only okay, the offensive environment is favorable.
Santana is more raw tools than a polished hitter at this stage of his career. His bat speed is described as electrifying and as such, he carries a 65 raw power grade. However, he swings and misses quite a bit (88 strikeouts), thanks to his overly aggressive approach.
Santana is not the “control the zone” type of hitter Dipoto typically targets. He only walked 10 times last season. But when he does stay within the zone, he crushes the ball to all fields and can be a dangerous hitter.
Whether or not the Mariners think they can help Santana learn to control his aggression may determine whether or not Seattle even considers him. But the raw power is legitimate.
So too is his 65-grade arm. Santana has an absolute cannon and can make any throw needed on the baseball field. He isn’t a great defender at the moment, but currently carries an average grade at the hot corner. There are some concerns he may need to move to first, putting more pressure on his hit tool to mature.
But at 6’2″, 175 lbs., Santana still has room to add good weight and could push his raw power tool to near elite levels. Santana is definitely more of a project than an instant contributor but with the raw tools he has to work with, he will be a tempting option to many teams in the Rule 5 Draft.