Baltimore Orioles: Taking a look at Rule-5 pick Anthony Santander

ST. PETERSBURG, FL - JUNE 23: Manager Buck Showalter
ST. PETERSBURG, FL - JUNE 23: Manager Buck Showalter /

The Baltimore Orioles have an outfielder that you may not know, but soon will.

Anthony Santander was picked up by the Baltimore Orioles through the Rule-5 Draft from the Cleveland Indians in December 2016.

He has been on the disabled list and just began his rehab assignment with the Double-A Bowie Baysox on July 27. Unfortunately, right shoulder surgery and forearm issues have kept him out of the game all season.

High up on the prospect list

Santander is currently listed as the Orioles #9 prospect according to the folks at MLB Pipeline. Fortunately, the report on Santander is hopeful. As a member of the Indians’ Class-A Advanced Carolina League, he was in the top four in several categories including doubles, home runs, and RBIs in 2016.

In 2010, Santander began switching hitting and the reports from MLB Pipeline is good:

SARASOTA , FL – FEBRUARY 20: Anthony Santander
SARASOTA , FL – FEBRUARY 20: Anthony Santander /

"“A consistent hitter from the left side of the plate who possesses above-average raw power and makes hard contact to all fields, Santander is more pull-oriented and exhibits greater swing-and-miss tendencies as a right-handed hitter, although he does draw his share of walks from both sides.”"

Santander has made one start in Double-A Bowie. On July 27, he batted 1.000 and scored five runs. Impressively, he had three walks and a double while adding three RBIs to his stats. His second game was rained out.

Rule-5 rules regarding roster moves

If Santander does not make it on the Orioles 25-man active roster, he must be returned to the Cleveland Indians per the Rule-5 rules. Because he has been on the 60-day disabled list, the Orioles have been able to keep him on the Major League roster preventing Cleveland from getting him back.

In an article from Brittany Ghiroli with MLB, Buck Showalter said about Santander:

"“Any time you invest that much time and effort, the scouting the selection the rehab, you knew you were going to have to rehab the surgery. And to see the potential you could get a payoff for it, a payback for it, that’s always kind of uplifting.”"

Santander is only 22 years old and has spent five seasons in the minor league system. He never made it to the majors when he was with Cleveland. In his five seasons, his career slash is .273/.345/.452 with an OPS of .797.

Before his shoulder injury, Santander had 28 at-bats with the Orioles during Spring Training. He batted .250 with two home runs.

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How he can help the O’s

The 22-year-old Venezuelan could be a key piece to the Orioles’ future. He can spend up to 20 days in the rehab assignment before he has to be added to the roster. Santander is an outfielder who also plays first base.

Now that Hyun Soo Kim is with the Philadelphia Phillies, the Orioles are lacking a bit in the outfield. Seth Smith is entering free agency at the end of the 2017 season, so there is clearly a spot for Santander. If he could man right field on a daily basis, Mark Trumbo could be the full-time designated hitter. Trey Mancini could live in left-field and Adam Jones can maintain his strong hold in center. Joey Rickard, who is inexpensive, and under team control for many years, can fill in as a bench outfielder until Jones enters free agency in 2019. Santander can also play first base, but that spot clearly belongs to Chris Davis who is signed through 2022.

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If Santander can get keep the bat going in Bowie, he could make his team debut with the O’s in August. His powerful bat will be a welcome addition to the team and could help get the Birds closer to that second Wild Card spot.