Before 2009: Santana was signed as a 17-year-old out of the Dominican Republic by the Yankees. For the first three years of his career, the Yankees kept him in the Dominican Summer League, where he seemed to improve each season. In 2008, Santana established career highs in batting average (.307), home runs (6), RBI (38), walks (27), stolen bases (19) and OPS (.881). That seemed to punch his ticket to the United States.
2009: Santana made his debut on U.S. soil with Short Season-A Staten Island, and spent all but five games of his 2009 season there. In 40 games, he hit .236 with just one home run and 10 RBI, but was a somewhat surprising call-up to Double-A Trenton in the middle of August. Used more for his legs than his bat at Waterfront Park, Santana scored two runs while going 0-for-7 in five games.
After 2009: Don’t let the brief Double-A stay fool you, Santana is unlikely to come back to Trenton for a little while. My best guess would have him at Low-A Charleston for at least some part of this season. While he proved himself in the DSL, he’s yet to put up a good season in the USA, and he’ll have to put up some numbers in 2010 to have a legitimate chance to move through the system.
Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com