Detroit Tigers Potential Top-100 Prospect – Cristian Santana
No Detroit Tigers international free agent has received a larger bonus than the $2.95 million given to Cristian Santana in 2021, and it didn’t take long for him to look like he was worth it. Santana posted a 161 wRC+ in the Dominican Summer League last year, hitting .269 with a 13.9% walk rate and nine home runs in just 54 games. That precocious power and feel for the zone earned him a promotion to Low-A Lakeland this year, where he’s the youngest player in the Florida State League, and the first 18-year-old Tigers position prospect to begin in full season ball since Willy Adames in 2014.
And so far Santana is holding his own. He’s hitting just .207 through eight games, but he has already drawn six walks, and he hit his first home run of the season last week. There’s no confirmation of the distance on his monster blast, but we know it came against a 95.5 MPH fastball, it left his bat at 106.7 MPH, and it had a launch angle of 34 degrees. Similarly batted balls in the big leagues traveled 440 feet on average. That’s remarkable pop for such a young hitter.
And Santana doesn’t have very far to go to land on a top-100 list. MLB Pipeline and FanGraphs already rank him as the 5th best prospect in Detroit’s system, and all four of the Tigers ranked ahead of Santana on the FanGraphs list are in the top 100. Santana probably projects better to second base than shortstop, which could keep him off some lists, but he might hit enough that it won’t matter.