SF Giants top prospects: No. 21 — C Rayner Santana
Highest Level: DSL
Acquired: IFA (2018-19)
Future-Value Grade: 40+
Rayner Santana was a part of the Giants’ fantastic 2018-19 international free-agent class. A strong arm with some power potential behind the plate, he seemed like an intriguing gamble to scouts. The early returns in the Dominican Summer League were far better than expected.
Still 16 for a good chunk of the season, Santana posted a .294/.439/.553 triple-slash line with 10 home runs in 48 games. His strikeout rate was high (27.1%) given the level of competition, but his willingness to draw walks (17.3% walk-rate) and youth make it a bit easier to look past the swing-and-miss. It obviously remains a concern, but he has enough going in his favor to still believe in his big-league potential.
Santana has a powerful right-handed swing with home-run power to all fields. His frame does create some concerns on the defensive side of the ball, where his plus arm is really his only solid defensive trait behind the plate. If he can take the necessary steps to stick while continuing to be productive offensively, he could soon make a push for the top of the Giants prospect list. However, it’s far more likely he has to shift over to first base.
Obviously, a move to a less-premium position would put a lot of pressure on his bat, but he has the potential to still become an everyday player. If Santana grew up in the United States, he’d likely be playing in his senior year in high school, where he’d rank among the best prep prospects in the country. It’s easy to lose perspective with international players about just how much younger they are when they begin their careers than their domestic counterparts. Instead, he’ll continue working with the Giants player development staff to refine his swing, approach, and defense and will likely see time at the Arizona Rookie League this summer.