As the Player's Association and the owners make some progress in negotiations, there's a lot of questions pertaining to the Cincinnati Reds infield. The biggest question mark may be shortstop, as Kyle Farmer and Jose Barrero are likely to go head-to-head in spring training. But will we see a position battle at third base?
Christian Santana is a name many Reds fans have probably never heard of, but the 25-year-old is currently on the Reds minor league spring training roster. After the horrendous years put up by Mike Moustakas and Eugenio Suárez, could Santana sneak onto the roster?
Christian Santana might be the young bat the Reds need.
Last season the Cincinnati Reds struggled with scoring runs; even with Nick Castellanos in the lineup. The one who struggled more than almost anyone was Eugenio Suárez. Geno hit .198 with 31 round trippers and 79 RBIs.
Over his minor league career with the Los Angeles Dodgers organization, Santana hit .290, with 63 homers, 170 extra base hits, a .440 slugging percentage, and 311 RBIs. Last season, Santana hit .311 with 8 home runs and 51 RBIs for the Oklahoma City Dodgers.
Santana's best season came in 2018 where the right-handed hitter blasted 24 dingers and 109 RBIs to the tune of a .274 batting average. One number that really sticks out is Santana's career batting average on balls in play (BAbip) of .344.
Santana does a number against lefties as well, posting a career batting average of .375 against southpaws. Against right-handed pitching, Santana's batting average dips to .288. Santana's dominance against lefties could give him the opportunity to come off the bench against left-handed relievers.
Santana has spent eight seasons in the minors with a career wRc+ of 104 which measures runs per plate appearances. With a shortened spring training likely on the way, Christian Santana might not get the starting job at third base, but if the Reds struggle to bring in runs, don't be surprised to see him make an appearance down the line.