Hartman: Twins' Santana shows he's major league ready

  • Article by: SID HARTMAN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 3, 2014 - 8:52 PM

Other prospects remain in the minors while Danny Santana has flourished with the Twins.


The Twins' Danny Santana, right, celebrates with Trevor Plouffe, center, and Chris Parmelee after Sunday's 16-3 victory over the White Sox in Chicago.


CameraStar Tribune photo galleries

Cameraview larger

While everyone has high expectations for Twins highly touted prospects Byron Buxton and Miguel Sano — ranked No. 1 and No. 9, respectively by Baseball America, in all of the minors, there’s no question that less-heralded prospect Danny Santana has been one of the Twins’ best players this season. He has started to prove that he can be a big-league star while Buxton and Sano still have a long way to go.

Last month during the week of the All-Star Game, Twins owner Jim Pohlad told the Star Tribune that he doesn’t believe in the hype around prospects until they prove it with in big leagues. “We’ve been doing this for 30 years now. And a player who is not here yet is not yet a player,” he said. “I’ve heard that for too long. People are excited about these [prospects], but they were excited in ’85, ’95, 2005. They’re always out there.”

Well it’s become clear that Santana is ready. He went 5-for-6 with a double, a triple, four RBI, two runs scored and two stolen bases in the Twins’ 16-3 victory Sunday over the White Sox in Chicago, and he has easily been the most consistent players for Ron Gardenhire in this struggle of a season.

Santana’s .325 average is the highest of any Twins player with at least 50 games played. His eight stolen bases are third on the team and his 32 runs scored are tied with Josh Willingham for fourth.

The Twins signed Santana in 2007 out of the Dominican Republic at the age of 17.

Santana’s breakout minor league season came in 2012, when he hit .286 with eight home runs, nine triples, 21 doubles, 60 RBI and 70 runs scored in 121 games at Class A Fort Myers, also posting a .329 on-base percentage.

Last year, Santana advanced to Class AA New Britain, and he was named the No. 9 overall prospect in the Twins farm system by Baseball America. He hit .297 with two home runs, 10 triples, 22 doubles, 45 RBI and 66 runs scored in .297 with a .333 OBP and a career-high 30 stolen bases.

One of the concerns with Santana was how he would handle playing shortstop at the pro level. In the minors, he committed 28 errors in 2011, 26 in 2012 and 32 last season.

Former Twins manager Tom Kelly told me recently that while Santana primarily has been playing center field in the majors, he believed the young rookie was going to eventually be a great shortstop. Kelly also said that he had liked Santana’s play for a long time.

“He’s a very exciting player, and he always has been,” Kelly said. “It’s just a matter of, when he was trying to learn shortstop, he was error-prone, had some throwing problems, and finishing plays made a lot of errors. This past spring, I thought he improved immensely with his defense at shortstop, and he was very close to being a big-leaguer. … but I think in the future he’s going to be a shortstop.”

So far he has played well in limited appearances at shortstop, posting a .983 fielding percentage with one error over 18 games. He has also showed talent in center, committing two errors over 29 games.

So like Pohlad said, while there’s hope for the Twins prospects in the future, that’s all it is, hope. With Santana, the team is seeing immediate results and he looks like he could be the starting shortstop for the long-term future.

And he is being paid the minimum big-league salary of $500,000. Buxton, as the No. 2 overall pick in 2011, was given a $6 million signing bonus, and in the majors, you have veterans such as Willingham, who is batting .218, making $7 million this year.

The earliest Santana could become a free agent is 2020, so the Twins can look forward to watching him develop for several years to come.

Nicklaus a huge draw

Hollis Cavner, the founder and director of the 3M Championship golf tournament that took place this weekend at TPC Twin Cities in Blaine, said the drawing power of Jack Nicklaus made Saturday the busiest day in the tournaments history.

“We don’t have a clue [on how many people attended], to be honest with you,” Cavner said. “We ran out of parking, went into parking places we never have before, parking at the National Sports Center after we had ran out of airport parking. Our concessions yesterday were double anything they have ever been in the past.”

While Nicklaus was the big draw, Cavner also has repeatedly been able to get Arnold Palmer to appear, and Cavner said he can expect Palmer again next year.

“He has been a great friend and a business partner, and we’ve had a lot of fun over the years,” Cavner said of the golf legend. “I convince him every year to come back and see us. … I had breakfast this morning and he told me if he was still healthy, ‘I’ll be back next year if I’m healthy.’ That’s pretty good.”

Cavner said the event drew in $25 million, with charitable donations going to Allina Health and to local junior golf programs.

“That’s our No. 1 goal here, is to put on a great show and raise a lot of money here in the local community,” he said.


Ra’Shede Hageman was doing a great job making the transition from defensive tackle, which he played for the Gophers, to defensive end for the Atlanta Falcons in his first NFL training camp. But word came down Sunday that Hageman broke his wrist in a fight with center Joe Hawley. “I think we’re all talking about competing and fighting for jobs, but we’re not talking about fighting each other,” Falcons coach Mike Smith told reporters. “We’ve got to understand that. It’s not what we’re about.”

• No doubt the Wilf family, owners of the Vikings, set a big goal for acquiring a Major League Soccer team for their new stadium when they joined with Relevant Sports, a New York-based soccer promotion company owned by Miami Dolphins owner Steve Ross. The word among soccer officials is that the partnership will help the Vikings land an MLS franchise.

• For years, the Gophers men’s and women’s basketball teams had to share Williams Arena to practice, but that will no longer be an issue with the women practicing at Williams and the men in the newly remodeled basketball facility in the Bierman Building.

Cody Poock, the highly rated former Iowa Western linebacker who was counted as a Gophers starter until he injured his knee in spring practice, is doing some light practice in early drills but is most likely to be redshirted this year, unless the team has a shortage of linebackers when Poock becomes healthy enough to play later in the season.

• The Minneapolis-based Mortenson Construction Company is part of a group attempting to win the bid to build the new Atlanta Braves stadium for $672 million.


Sid Hartman can be heard weekdays on 830-AM at 7:40, 8:40 and 9:20 a.m. and on Sundays at 9:30 a.m. shartman@startribune.com

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions


Houston 2 FINAL
St. Louis 5
Washington 9 FINAL
Atlanta 8
Miami 5 FINAL
Boston 3
Minnesota 1 FINAL
Tampa Bay 2
NY Yankees 4 FINAL
Philadelphia 1
Baltimore 4 FINAL
Toronto 5
Detroit - LP: J. Mantiply 4 FINAL
NY Mets - WP: C. Torres 5
Cincinnati 5 FINAL
Chicago Cubs 2
Los Angeles 10 FINAL
Milwaukee 1
San Francisco 12 FINAL
Texas 3
Chicago WSox 0 FINAL
San Diego 5
Kansas City 11 FINAL
Cleveland 9
Seattle 4 FINAL
Los Angeles 7
Colorado 0 FINAL
LA Angels 3
Oakland 7 FINAL
Arizona 2
Pittsburgh 3 Bottom 8th Inning
NY Yankees 0
Chicago 84 FINAL
Indiana 98
Sacramento 114 4th Qtr 0:03
Orlando 117
Utah 89 4th Qtr 0:30
Philadelphia 80
Miami 97 FINAL
Washington 99
Toronto 94 FINAL
Charlotte 103
Cleveland 81 4th Qtr 9:50
Atlanta 86
Boston 68 3rd Qtr 1:40
New Orleans 62
Detroit 60 3rd Qtr 5:48
Houston 67
LA Lakers 66 3rd Qtr 1:46
Memphis 65
Phoenix 56 3rd Qtr 8:38
Brooklyn 51
Denver 55 2nd Qtr 0:54
San Antonio 60
Dallas 9:30 PM
Golden State
Columbus 3 FINAL
New Jersey 2
Minnesota 3 FINAL
Carolina 1
Buffalo 2 3rd Prd 16:05
Ottawa 3
Calgary 4 3rd Prd 14:44
Detroit 2
Edmonton 1 2nd Prd 18:33
Chicago 0
Pittsburgh 9:00 PM
Longwood 68 FINAL
Char Southern 60
Ark-Pine Bluff 94 FINAL
Miss Valley St 75
Southern Ill 45 FINAL
Wichita State 56
Winthrop 67 FINAL
Radford 66
Evansville 67 FINAL
Illinois State 71
Towson 69 FINAL
Elon 74
Gardner-Webb 72 FINAL
High Point 71
Samford 76 FINAL
UNC Greensboro 81
Northern Ill 70 1st OT 0:11
Ball State 64
Bowling Green 75 FINAL
Buffalo 77
Brown 69 FINAL
Dartmouth 75
Toledo 59 FINAL
Eastern Mich 85
Akron 77 FINAL
Kent State 79
Ill-Chicago 72 FINAL
Oakland 69
Miami-Ohio 65 FINAL
Ohio 95
Columbia 46 FINAL
Penn 54
Cornell 53 FINAL
Princeton 66
Central Mich 62 FINAL
Western Mich 74
Bradley 46 FINAL
Northern Iowa 71
Morehead State 75 2nd Half 1:44
Murray State 75
Yale 40 2nd Half 7:53
Harvard 33
Furman 38 2nd Half
Citadel 27
Coll of Charleston 23 1st Half 0:04
Drexel 29
UNC-Asheville 26 1st Half 2:02
Coastal Carolina 27
Texas Tech 26 1st Half 6:18
Baylor 24
Pacific 21 1st Half 4:24
San Francisco 17
Detroit 8:30 PM
Cleveland State
Loyola-Chicago 8:35 PM
Indiana State
Belmont 9:00 PM
Eastern Ky
Loyola Marymount 10:30 PM
Santa Clara
Chicago 9:00 PM
Los Angeles
Saint Louis 63 FINAL
(21) George Washington 77
Wake Forest 68 FINAL
(16) Duke 77
Furman 55 FINAL
(17) Chattanooga 68
Monmouth 61 FINAL
Quinnipiac 82
Michigan State 60 FINAL
(4) Maryland 70
Belmont 65 FINAL
UT Martin 71
Arkansas 36 FINAL
(3) South Carolina 58
Mercer 56 FINAL
East Tenn St 66
Richmond 45 FINAL
Fordham 46
Miami-Florida 61 FINAL
(2) Notre Dame 77
Siena 61 FINAL
Iona 71
Washington St 48 FINAL
(9) Arizona State 67
Ark-Pine Bluff 63 FINAL
Miss Valley St 51
(23) Rutgers 57 FINAL
(24) Northwestern 62
Tennessee St 71 FINAL
SIU-Edwardsville 59
Loyola Marymount 50 FINAL
Gonzaga 70
(18) Texas A&M 65 FINAL
LSU 71
Cincinnati 76 FINAL
UCF 66
Saint Josephs 61 FINAL
Dayton 80
(19) Stanford 67
Santa Clara 42 FINAL
San Diego 51
Virginia Tech 43 FINAL
(7) Florida State 82
Memphis 71
Lehigh 75 FINAL
Holy Cross 62
Rhode Island 53 FINAL
Duquesne 66
North Florida 35 FINAL
(20) Fla Gulf Coast 74
Kennesaw St 54 FINAL
Jacksonville 55
USC Upstate 45 FINAL
Northern Ky 64
Lipscomb 69 FINAL
Stetson 92
Nebraska 65 FINAL
(14) Iowa 74
Saint Peters 57 FINAL
Marist 62
Navy 60 FINAL
Bucknell 49
Lafayette 56 FINAL
American Univ 79
Colgate 45 FINAL
Army 48
Georgia 41 FINAL
(5) Tennessee 75
Dartmouth 71 FINAL
Brown 53
Penn 50 FINAL
Columbia 34
(13) Princeton 70 FINAL
Cornell 37
Kansas 49 FINAL
Kansas State 57
Harvard 68 FINAL
Yale 63
(15) North Carolina 37 2nd Half 15:32
(10) Louisville 32
San Jose St 80 2nd Half 7:27
Houston 10 2nd Half
Tulane 30
Utah State 28 1st Half 7:18
Colorado State 24
Colorado 25 1st Half 8:03
(8) Oregon State 19
New Mexico 24 1st Half 5:21
Wyoming 15
Minnesota 2 1st Half 19:01
Ohio State 2
(12) Kentucky 9 1st Half 14:52
(11) Miss State 15
San Diego State 8:30 PM
Niagara 8:30 PM
Texas Tech 0 1st Half 20:00
West Virginia 0
Boise State 9:00 PM
Fresno State
Washington 10:30 PM
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters





question of the day

Poll: Who is doing the best job coaching a Minnesota pro sports team?

Weekly Question