2010 Columbus Clippers: Catchers
As the month of March comes to a close, I can start to smell the Sugardale hot dogs in the Arena District…
Carlos Santana (Bats Switch, Throws Right), 24 years old, 5-11, 190 lbs, Santo Domingo, DR
Santana is the #1 prospect in the entire Indians organization, regardless of position. He was acquired from the Dodgers in the Casey Blake trade in 2008. Last year, he batted .290 with 23 HRs and 97 RBIs in route to the Eastern League MVP award and a championship with Akron. His 90 walks, .530 slugging percentage and .943 OPS led the league. Oh by the way, he was also the 2008 California League MVP with Inland Empire.
Offensively, he is good enough to play every day in the majors. Santana has a ton of strength to all parts of the field, from both sides of the plate. He has great strike-zone awareness (averaging 90 walks the last two seasons) and the ability to make a pitcher look when a mistake pitch is made. Defensively, he has an above average arm and tremendous accuracy throwing out runners. The Indians want Santana to fine tune his catching skills before jumping into the Cleveland spotlight.
Damaso Espino (Bats Right, Throws Right), 26 years old, 6-1, 210 lbs, Los Santos, Panama
Espino served as the Clippers backup catcher last season and batted .261 with 2 HRs and 14 RBIs. He has very little power, but is solid defensively and handles pitchers well.
He has become a good organizational player for the Indians and provides the catching depth at the upper levels of the minors that most organizations cherish.
Chris Gimenez (Bats Right, Throws Right), 27 years old, 6-2, 215 lbs, Gilroy, CA
Gimenez will mostly play the corner infield and outfield spots, but will also serve as the Clippers third catcher. After starting the 2009 Clippers season in a platoon with Wyatt Toregas, Gimenez was recalled to Cleveland on May 31st and stayed in the bigs for four months. He started last season 0-for-21 in Triple-A and batted just .144 in 45 games with the Indians.
He won’t be in the Clippers lineup everyday so it’ll be important that Gimenez takes advantage of his opportunities at the plate, in order to overcome the demons of last season.
Others: With the free-agent signing of veteran Mike Redmond to backup last year’s trade acquisition Lou Marson, it begs the question “What about Wyatt Toregas?” Unfortunately, there isn’t an answer as of yet. He could be designated once Manny Acta announces the Indians opening day roster.