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Domingo Santana is 0-for-17 with 14 strikeouts and “just panicked” defensively

Aug 12, 2014, 10:16 AM EDT

Domingo Santana Astros Getty Images

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.

  1. unclemosesgreen - Aug 12, 2014 at 10:18 AM

    Yeah, there were horses, and a man on fire, and I killed a guy with a trident.

    • doctorofsmuganomics - Aug 12, 2014 at 10:53 AM

      I’ve been meaning to talk to you about that. You should find yourself a safehouse or a relative close by. Lay low for a while, because you’re probably wanted for murder.

  2. yahmule - Aug 12, 2014 at 10:24 AM

    On a more positive note for the Astros, recently acquired centerfielder Jake Marisnick went 4-4. I know Miami had a logjam in the OF, but I don’t think I would have parted with this kid.

  3. proudlycanadian - Aug 12, 2014 at 10:25 AM

    How does this compare with Willie Mays? I understand that Willie’s initial major league game did not go very well also.

    • asimonetti88 - Aug 12, 2014 at 10:34 AM

      Willie Mays started his career 0-23 before blasting a home run off Warren Spahn.

    • felser - Aug 12, 2014 at 10:37 AM

      “I knew Willie Mays. Willie Mays was a friend of mine. And Domingo Santana, sir, is no Willie Mays”. Decent enough point, but I couldn’t resist the quote. Will be interesting to see how it plays out. The curse of the Phillies prospects traded by RAJ continues, as none, despite great potential for many, have yet established themselves as more than mediocre major leaguers.

  4. nottinghamforest13 - Aug 12, 2014 at 10:29 AM

    Another potential talent flushed down the toilet by Bo Porter’s lack of support for developing players. His adherence to the old ways has gone beyond the point of decency. He’s a train wreck & he’s lost the clubhouse.

    • stex52 - Aug 12, 2014 at 10:32 AM

      Doubling down on stupid again, are we? Darn those black coaches!

      • asimonetti88 - Aug 12, 2014 at 10:36 AM

        Maybe I’m missing something here but just because he doesn’t like the coach doesn’t mean it’s because Porter is black. I disagree with his statement, but it doesn’t mean he’s racist.

      • stex52 - Aug 12, 2014 at 10:43 AM

        You would have to go back on Nottingham’s history. This is not the first time he has commented on this site.

      • Hard On For Harden - Aug 12, 2014 at 11:23 AM

        I don’t get all the down votes for stex. For those that read every Astros post (and maybe there aren’t many of us and that’s the issue), the poster in question used to regularly take racist shots at Porter before reemergence with a “G rating”.

      • asimonetti88 - Aug 12, 2014 at 11:44 AM

        Oh. Well I didn’t know that.

      • stex52 - Aug 12, 2014 at 11:50 AM

        This is an unnecessary post, but I will say it anyway. I am really unconvinced that Porter is a good coach yet. But I will make that judgment based on his coaching. Most of what is said in the original post is ridiculous, because the kid had not been up long enough for Porter to have any effect one way or the other. As with comments he has made on other players. But it does fit the narrative used.

  5. stex52 - Aug 12, 2014 at 10:31 AM

    Since we know he was doing well at AAA I think it is safe to assume we are witnessing a really spectacular case of nerves. I hope he gets his head into the game sooner rather than later. And yes, Marisnick is off to a good start.

    The Astros have appeared to turn the outfield from a weakness into a relative strength this year, once Fowler and Springer get healthy. Now if they can do similar magic with the corner infielders, the relief staff, and a couple more starters, we may be getting somewhere.

  6. Francisco (FC) - Aug 12, 2014 at 10:34 AM

    I’m going to start thinking players traded directly by Ruben Amaro just flame out and die and need to be traded again before they can get back on track.

    • DelawarePhilliesFan - Aug 12, 2014 at 10:39 AM

      Yes – the only thing RAJ has done well is knowing when to fold ‘em.

      And yet he f’d that up this year too (see: Brown, Domonic)

      • stex52 - Aug 12, 2014 at 11:46 AM

        My exception would be Pence. Gave him up too quickly, even though he wasn’t cheap.

      • DelawarePhilliesFan - Aug 12, 2014 at 12:21 PM

        To clarify – I meant knowing when to give up on young guys (Happ, Drabek, Worley). On veterans – RAJ has been wretched (trading Cliff Lee, keeping Ryan Howard, not trading Cliff Lee in 2013….)

  7. timberwolvesbrisin - Aug 12, 2014 at 10:48 AM

    Feel sorry for a kid in the big leagues? Please adjust your priorities.

    • joebraga - Aug 12, 2014 at 12:56 PM

      I can’t even fathom someone as dense as you.

  8. jamesmfitzpatrick - Aug 12, 2014 at 8:34 PM

    On the flip side, there’s nowhere to go but up!

    Right?

  9. jkaflagg - Aug 12, 2014 at 8:35 PM

    Key part of the article: “21 year-old outfielder”…….

    Springer is 24 and looked awful his first three weeks in the majors….glad we didn’t get all pissy and toss him out with the trash. And I can’t see how Bo Porter has somehow ruined this guy within two weeks after he just spent five years in the minors working his way up; I seriously doubt he told him to go up there and strike out as much as possible.

    The question on Santana has always been how well much contact he’ll make; swing-and-miss will always be part of his game, but if his power develops he’ll be useful to some team. The Astros already have a lot of Ks in the lineup with Springer, Singleton & Carter so he might not eventually fit in their lineup; but righthanded power is a rare and much-valued commodity in baseball today, so you can bet Santana will get plenty of opportunity to adjust either in Houston or elsewhere.

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