Now that we’ve finished up the series with the Twins, and the whole Casey Blake trade has started to sink in, I thought it would be best to give the WFNY readers some info on the two players we received in return for Casey: Carlos Santana and Jon Meloan.
With All-Everything catcher Russell Martin playing in L.A. for the foreseeable future, trading a catching prospect to the Indians was a lot easier for the Dodgers to do than most other teams. After the Tribe dealt Max Ramirez for a couple of months of a 40-plus Kenny Lofton, we desperately needed to bolster the farm system behind the plate.
With Meloan having less-than stellar numbers this season, perhaps the LA Blue thought that his once-heralded arm was done?
I admit, when I saw that we received a pitcher with a 5-10 record at the Triple-A level, I was less than impressed. But thanks to Paul over at The DiaTribe, my feelings were quickly brought back to life as I now have yet another prospect to look forward to – assuming we put him back in the bullpen where he belongs.
Check out his numbers when he was in the ‘pen over the previous two seasons:
2007 (in AA and AAA) 2.03 ERA, 0.95 WHIP, 91 K, 27 BB in 66 2/3 IP over 49 games 2006 (in A and AA)
1.90 ERA, 0.83 WHIP, 91 K, 16 BB in 52 IP over 21 games
Is that anything short of amazing? His strikeout rates are incredible, and he reportedly touches 97 with his CURVEBALL. I mean, he almost had twice as many Ks as baserunners. I’m no GM, but to put this guy in the starting rotation, and then leave him there after losing 10 games seems preposterous. He has a five-pitch arsenal with a killer slider. Couple all of this with the fact that he just turned 24-years of age, and the thinking here is that the other guy in this trade may not be too bad himself.
I say “other” guy as it seems that most fans are more enamoured with Santana – and for good reason.
Projection-His defense is an unknown at this stage in his development, but his ceiling with the bat is similar to that of Russell Martin. He might not have Martin’s speed, but their skill set is similar. In fact, Santana might even have more power and gap potential than Martin does.
That’s the same Martin that frequents the All-Star game and has been one of the better hitters for the Dodgers over the past few seasons. At 22-years old, Santana was simply tearing up Single-A ball. With a clip of .323/.431/.563, Santana also leads the California League in RBI (96) and OPS (.994). And for a guy that may or may not have good power, he also has 14 home runs and 34 doubles in only 99 games.
Even better? Santana has struck out only 59 times, yet has walked 69 times. Talk about plate discipline.
Some Dodger fans questioned Santana’s ability to translate his current successes up the minor league ranks. It wouldn’t be too far-fetched to see the youngster’s name called up to the Akron level before the end of the season. How the team handles Wyatt Toregas ahead of him remains to be seen. Perhaps calling Chris Gimenez up in Septempber would allow Toregas to move to Buffalo, clearing space for Santana? Neither Gimenez or Toregas have as high of a ceiling as Santana, so blocking his playing time would not be in the team’s best interest. And if Andy Marte/Wes Hodges fail to work out as the long-term third base answer, Santana can play there as well.
If anything, this move will allow the Indians to hold on to Victor Martinez with the eventual move to first base. And any move that keeps Victor’s bat in Cleveland’s line-up for any amount of time is a good move in my book.