Astros prospect Domingo Santana hit .292 with 14 homers and an .844 OPS in 104 games at Triple-A to earn his first call-up to the big leagues, but the 21-year-old outfielder has been an absolute mess so far in Houston.
Santana has begun his MLB career by going 0-for-17 with 14 strikeouts at the plate and in watching last night’s Astros-Twins game it amazed me how many sub-90 mph fastballs the right-handed-hitting rookie swung through from left-handers Tommy Milone and Brian Duensing like they were approaching triple-digits.
And as if that weren’t bad enough–0-for-17 with 14 strikeouts!–Santana also made a bone-headed defensive play in left field last night, lackadaisically fielding Joe Mauer’s go-ahead single in the ninth inning of what had been a 2-2 game to allow an extra run to come around to score.
Here’s how Santana explained the defensive miscue afterward to Howard Chen of CSNHouston.com:
I just panicked. I was just trying to throw the ball to the cut-off man, but I just panicked.
And here was manager Bo Porter’s take:
You’ve just got to get the ball in. Whether you throw the ball to the shortstop or you throw it to the first baseman, you’ve got to get the ball to the infield. At no point should the outfielder hold on to the baseball.
Santana still projects to have a solid career, but watching him last night it was tough not to feel sorry for him and wonder how long it’ll take him to get comfortable in the big leagues. He seems totally, utterly lost.
The Giants are finalizing a minor league deal for free agent outfielder Cameron Maybin, according to Andrew Baggarly and Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. The team has not confirmed the signing, but it’s in keeping with their stated goal of adding more veteran presence and outfield options to their roster in advance of the 2019 season.
Maybin, 31, appeared in back-to-back gigs with the Marlins and Mariners in 2018. He slashed an underwhelming .249/.326/.336 with four home runs, 10 stolen bases (in 15 chances), a .662 OPS, and 0.5 fWAR through 384 plate appearances for the two clubs, a clear improvement over his totals in 2017 but still shy of the career numbers he posted with the Padres all the way back in 2011. It’s not only his offense that has tanked, but his speed and defense in center field, all of which he’ll try to improve as he jockeys for a roster spot in camp this month.
The Giants’ outfield has been largely depleted of any kind of consistent talent lately, especially taking into account the recent departures of Hunter Pence, Gregor Blanco, and Gorkys Hernández. Even with the acquisition of, say, All-Star right fielder Bryce Harper, there’s nothing standing in the way of Maybin and fellow veteran signee Gerardo Parra grabbing hold of full- or part-time roles this year, though they’ll need to outperform candidates like Chris Shaw, Steven Duggar, Drew Ferguson, Mac Williamson, Austin Slater, Craig Gentry, Mike Gerber, and others first.
In a previous report on Friday, Baggarly revealed that a “handshake understanding” had been established with several veteran players already this offseason, all but guaranteeing them regular starting opportunities over the course of the season. How those agreements will be affected by spring training performances remains to be seen, but at least for now, the Giants appear prepared to give their newest players a long leash as they try to get back on top in the NL West.