SF Giants prospects to watch at ACL
5. Rayner Santana, C/1B
Rayner Santana was the 21st-ranked prospect in the Giants system heading into this year after a fantastic performance at the Dominican Summer League in 2019. While Luis Matos received most of the attention, Santana is seven months younger than him and led the team with 10 home runs in just 48 games. Yet, as other players from the 2019 DSL team have received more attention, Santana has remained under the radar.
Santana would not be on this list based on what reporters covering the Giants farm system have reported or what team officials have said. However, his combination of youth and power in 2019 is too tantalizing to ignore. There were some minor red flags in Santana’s first professional season. He struck out 58 times in 214 plate appearances (27.1% of the time) and walked 37 times (17.3% walk rate). While the walk numbers are impressive, it’s difficult to know how they will translate since pitching in the DSL is notoriously erratic. At the same time, posting a nearly 30% strikeout rate at such a low level could be a sign that Santana lacks the contact tools to consistently tap into his power as he advances.
I am willing to bet on Santana’s youth and plate discipline, but needless to say, his stateside debut will expose how far he has to go. If he can replicate above-average offensive production and keep his strikeout numbers contained, his stock will trend up quickly. On the flip side, if his strikeout rate spikes to 40%, he could fall off the map entirely.
Defensively, Santana’s future creates another set of questions. Most reports have tracked Santana for a move to a defensive corner, like first base, but his numbers from the DSL were not exceptionally bad. He threw out 30% of opposing baserunners and posted a 98.0% fielding percentage. However, both marks were worse than former Giant Pablo Sandoval when he was a catcher at the DSL back in 2004. Needless to say, Santana will have to progress behind the plate to stick there. If he can, it would go a long way towards improving his prospects.