Detroit Tigers Top 20 Prospects: No. 13 Cristian Santana

We continue our rankings with Cristian Santana; ranked our 13th-best Detroit Tigers prospect

The staff at Motor City Bengals put together their own Detroit Tigers prospect ranking independent of one another. Co-site experts Rogelio Castillo and Chris Brown aggregated that info and used the averages to come up with the site’s Top 20.

Next on our countdown is Cristian Santana, who is a highly touted international prospect with raw talent and a very high potential.

Cristian Santana’s Background:

Cristian Santana is a 6’0, 165 pound shortstop from the Dominican Republic and was signed by the Detroit Tigers in January, 2021 during the International signing period where he was given a record $2.95 million signing bonus. According to MLB.com, the Tigers had been scouting Santana for three years prior to him signing with the team, and this signing illustrates the increased aggressiveness by the Tigers in the international market. In 2021, Santana played 54 games in rookie ball, sporting a slash line of .269/.421/.520 along with nine home runs and 27 runs batted in. 

Cristian Santana’s Strengths:

According to MLB.com, Santana possesses an extremely advanced approach at the plate given that he is only 18 years old, and this approach will only get better as he matures and advances through the minor league system. In addition, he holds some impressive raw power with his bat, as showcased by his brief stint in rookie ball, and as he grows and fills out his frame, it will be intriguing to see how that power progresses. Fielding wise, MLB.com characterizes him as a “steady defender with quick feet and an average arm”, and hopefully this can improve with upper body strengthening and experience within the Tigers minor league system.

Cristian Santana’s Weaknesses:

One of the main weaknesses Santana possesses albeit it is out of his control is that due to his young age there is a major level of unpredictability about how he will perform as he progresses through the minor league system. As stated and illustrated earlier, his advanced approach at the plate has allowed him to experience success in rookie ball, but it remains to be seen how he will fare in the higher levels of the minor league system. In addition, the raw power that he possesses will only get him so far, and if he wants his power to carry over as he moves through the system, he is going to have to fill out his frame in order for that to happen.

Our Take on Cristian Santana:

Cristian Santana possesses major upside and potential, as he was ranked 14th on MLB pipeline’s international prospects list, and he showcased his skills during the 2021 season in rookie ball with above average numbers especially for an 18 year old. As I mentioned earlier, his young age brings about major uncertainty about how Santana is going to progress, and it will certainly be years until he has a chance to break into the big league club. If I had to wager a guess I would say the Tigers keep him in rookie ball for the start of the 2022 season to get more repetitions, and then if his performance allows, move him up to low-A for the rest of the season. Santana is an extremely intriguing prospect, and is certainly someone who Tigers fans should keep an eye on in the coming months and years.