Carlos Santana (baseball)
|First baseman / Designated hitter|
April 8, 1986 |
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
|June 11, 2010, for the Cleveland Indians|
(through 2017 season)
|Runs batted in||587|
Carlos Santana (born April 8, 1986) is a Dominican professional baseball first baseman, designated hitter, and former catcher who is currently a free agent. He previously played for the Cleveland Indians of Major League Baseball (MLB), making his MLB debut on June 11, 2010, while positioned primarily as a catcher through the 2013 season. Noted for his plate discipline and power, Santana has also emerged as an excellent defender at first base. A right-handed thrower and switch hitter, Santana stands 5 feet 11 inches (1.80 m) tall and weighs 210 pounds (95 kg).
A native of Santo Domingo, the Los Angeles Dodgers signed Santana as an amateur free agent on August 13, 2004. He played in the Dodgers' minor league system until July 26, 2008, when the Dodgers traded him to the Indians. Each season since 2011, he has hit at least 18 home runs while finishing in the top ten in the American League (AL) in bases on balls. In 2017, he was recognized as the Wilson Defensive Player of the Year at first base. He also set the Indians' club records for home runs by a switch hitter for both career and in a single season. Santana has twice participated in World Baseball Classic (WBC) for the Dominican national team, winning the gold medal in 2013.
Carlos Santana was born in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, to a soldier (father) and a doctor (mother). He has seven siblings, including five sisters and two brothers. Their parents began divorce proceedings when he was 15 years old. He and his sisters lived with his mother after the divorce, which afforded him the opportunity to play baseball, and he also became a father figure to his sisters. Santana played baseball with his neighbors in a 5-on-5 format and instead of using bats, they swung with baseball hats. When Santana signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers, he received a bonus worth $75,000, and used part of the money to buy his mother a house.
Los Angeles Dodgers organization
Santana signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2005. He began his professional baseball career with the Gulf Coast Dodgers, the rookie level minor league affiliate. He played 32 games in 2005 and batted .295. In addition to catcher, he played second base, third base, and in the outfield.
Entering the 2009 season, Santana was named the top prospect in the Indians organization by Baseball America. He was also ranked as the organization's top prospect in 2010. He was named the Indians' 2009 Minor League Player of the Year (receiving the "Lou Boudreau Award").
The Cleveland Indians promoted Santana on June 11, 2010, to make his major league debut. He had hit .316 with 13 home runs and 51 RBI in 57 games for the Triple-A Columbus Clippers. He batted third in the order, making him the first Tribe player to debut hitting third since Jim Norris in 1977, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
On June 12, 2010, in his second MLB game, Santana recorded his first major league hit, a two-out, two-RBI double off Washington Nationals pitcher J.D. Martin in the second inning. In his next at-bat, Santana hit his first major league home run to right field in the bottom of the fifth inning.
On August 2, 2010, Santana was injured in a game at Fenway Park while defending home plate against Boston Red Sox baserunner Ryan Kalish. While attempting to dislodge the ball from Santana's mitt, Kalish slid into his left knee, bending it to the side. Santana was unable to walk off the field and had to be removed on a cart. Tests revealed that Santana had a high grade sprain of his LCL and a hyperextension of his left knee. The injury ended Santana's rookie season.
Santana started a triple play against the Chicago White Sox on April 3, 2011 with a diving catch off of an Alexei Ramírez bunt. On April 29, 2011 Santana hit his first major league grand slam, a walk-off to defeat the Detroit Tigers, 9−5.
Santana finished 2011, which was his first full season in the major leagues, with 27 home runs, setting a club record for home runs hit by a switch hitter, and played 66 games at first base. He also hit 79 RBI, 35 doubles and added 97 walks. He was one of four hitters in 2011 to reach 25 home runs, 35 doubles, and 90 walks, joining Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder, and Joey Votto.
On April 10, 2012, the Indians signed Santana to a five-year, $21 million contract with a club option for the 2016 season. In the eighth inning of a May 25 game versus the Chicago White Sox, Santana sustained a hit in the mask from a foul tip and was removed from the game due to experiencing dizziness. He was subsequently placed on the seven-day disabled list with a concussion. Heading into the All-Star break, Santana was hitting .221, five home runs and 30 RBI in 69 games. Manager Manny Acta spoke of the hopes the Indians had for their catcher but admitted he was not hitting "the way we expected him to hit."
When Santana hit a home run in a July 18 game versus the Tampa Bay Rays, it was his first since May 15. He later added on a single and finished the game with a season-high four RBI, his first multi-RBI game since May 11. "I know Santana feels so much better to get that monkey off his back. That power drought had been weighing on him", Acta remarked after the game. Santana matched a career with five RBI in a September 23 game against the Kansas City Royals. He hit two home runs in the game, his third career multi-home run game and first of the season since April 8.
In 2013, Santana and the newly-promoted Yan Gomes split the catching duties nearly evenly, with Santana seeing significant time at first base and designated hitter when Gomes was catching. With the emergence of Gomes' defensive prowess, Santana saw less and less time at catcher. He started 2014 playing primarily third base, a position he had not played since single-A, with some time at catcher. After a stint on the 7-day concussion DL in early June, he played exclusively at first base for the remainder of the season and into 2015. In 2014, he became the first switch hitter since Lance Berkman in 2004 to hit at least 25 home runs with 100 walks in the same season, and the fifth Indian switch hitter to do accordingly.
On September 21, 2016, Santana hit his 150th career home run, doing so against the Kansas City Royals. During the regular season, Santana batted .259, 34 home runs, 87 RBI and .865 OPS. He produced 30 home runs and 68 RBI when batting left handed. Santana homered twice in the 2016 American League Championship Series versus the Toronto Blue Jays. He also recorded the final out of the Series by catching a Troy Tulowitzki pop-up in foul territory, sending the Indians to the World Series. The Chicago Cubs defeated Cleveland in the World Series in seven games. The Indians exercised their $12 million option for 2017.
After the Indians acquired Edwin Encarnación in free agency prior to the 2017 season, he took over as the team's designated hitter, and Santana played primarily first base. During the first 84 games of the season, he hit .238 with 10 home runs. In August and September, the club won an American League-record 22 games in a row, and Santana hit .365/.484/.689 during the streak. He had hit 13 home runs and 313/.429/.596 through that point in the second half of the season. On September 10 versus the Baltimore Orioles, he drove in his 585th run, passing Omar Vizquel as the Indians' career RBI leader among switch hitters. Overall in 2017, he batted .259/.363/.445, 112 OPS+, 90 runs scored, 23 home runs, 79 RBI, 88 BB, 94 strikeouts, and five stolen bases.
Santana placed fourth in the AL in walks and seventh in times on base (242). With significant improvement on defense, he led AL first basemen in total zone runs (13) and assists (95), was second in double plays (129), fourth in putouts (1,055), and fifth in fielding percentage (.996). The Indians won an AL-best 102 games for the regular season, but were defeated by the wild-card qualifying New York Yankees in the ALDS. On November 2, 2017, Santana filed for free agency. He won his first career Wilson Defensive Player of the Year Award at first base, given to the top defensive player in the major leagues at each position. He was also named a finalist for the American League Rawlings Gold Glove Award at first base.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Carlos Santana (baseball).|
- Cleveland Indians award winners and league leaders
- List of Major League Baseball players from the Dominican Republic
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