The Twins are waiting for Class AA New Britain shortstop Danny Santana to harness his massive talent.
“Run … he can fly,” Twins General Manager Terry Ryan said. “Throw … he has a bazooka. Switch hit, he can bunt, you name it. He’s got a box full of tools.”
Santana, in some ways, did take a step forward this year in his first season at New Britain. He entered the weekend batting .296, which would be his highest batting average in a minor league season. He has 27 stolen bases, a personal best. He has 34 extra-base hits, four shy of last season.
Santana was invited to his first major league spring training camp this season and his athleticism even stood out there. But the Twins are dying to see Santana, 22, smooth some of the rough edges in his game.
“Making too many errors. Not drawing enough walks,” Ryan said. “That’s disappointing to me more than the errors because some of his errors are on plays you would not expect him to get to. But he’s made some errors on routine ground balls and it didn’t seem like he was ready for the first pitch. Just immature, young, unforced errors.”
The Twins don’t have much depth at the shortstop position, so if Santana could take a step forward he would stand out as the top shortstop prospect in the organization.
Santana was named to the Eastern League postseason All-Star team, which was released this week.
Meyer back to old self
Righthander Alex Meyer threw four shutout innings on Thursday for Class AA New Britain, scattering six hits. He’s now thrown nine scoreless innings since returning from shoulder problems. Meyer missed seven weeks while dealing with the injury.
“He’s looked very good,” said Brad Steil, the Twins director of minor leagues. “We think he’s pretty much back to normal.”
Overall, Meyer is 4-3 with a 3.21 ERA for the Rock Cats. Meyer will head to instructional league after the minor league season before heading to the Arizona Fall League in October.
Josmil Pinto can hit. He batted .308 at Class AA New Britain in 107 games and posted a .411 on-base percentage and an .892 on base-plus-slugging percentage.
He was promoted to Rochester, and has continued to hit.
Pinto, 24, is batting .303 through 18 games, although he has walked only once and has hit one home run. But the Twins have always liked his bat. It’s his defense — specifically calling games — that has been his challenge. That’s why they left him most of the year at Class New Britain, where manager Jeff Smith is a former catcher.
“He can throw,” Ryan said. “He’s strong as a bull. He blocks, shifts well. His pitch selection can be improved upon.”
Like Santana, Pinto was named an Eastern League All-Star.