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A look at the Tribe's new prospects07/26/2008 2:29 PM ET
By Kevin T. Czerwinski / MLB.com
The available bats on the market continued to change addresses on Saturday as the Dodgers acquired Casey Blake from the Indians for a pair of prospects.
Here's a closer look at whom the Indians picked up:
Carlos Santana, C: Make all the jokes you want about Santana sharing a name with a famous musician. The Tribe will gladly take the jokes if Santana continues to produce the way he has this season for Inland Empire of the Class A Advanced California League. While the Cal League is known as a hitter's haven, Santana has taken that reputation to new heights this year, leading the Minor Leagues with 96 RBIs heading into Saturday's action.
He was also hitting .323 (fifth-best in the league) with 14 homers and an on-base percentage of .431, which is also tops in the Cal League. Santana leads the circuit with 88 runs scored, is third with 52 extra-base hits and fourth with a .563 slugging percentage.
While his strikeout-to-walk ratio is exceptional, it's not because the opposition is issuing him intentional passes to keep the bat on his shoulder. Of his 69 walks this season, only four are intentional. Santana has struck out 59 times and has walked more times (178) in his career than he's whiffed (174).
Santana is a switch hitter who has made significant strides at the plate this season. He hit .213 against right-handers last year, but is hitting .317 against them this season.
The Dodgers signed Santana as a free agent from the Dominican Republic and he was originally an outfielder. But Logan White, the club's assistant general manager in charge of scouting, has spoken often about versatility and his philosophy regarding switching a player's position. So after watching Santana in the outfield for a year, he moved him behind the plate and the youngster responded.
Santana offers an athletic option behind the plate. He calls a good game considering his experience and is very good at keeping the ball in front of him when it's in the dirt despite the fact he's leading all Cal League catchers with 16 errors. He's second in the league throwing out runners attempting to steal (46 percent) after gunning down 38 percent of would-be base stealers last season in the Midwest League.
He's having a better year than Lucas May, the Dodgers other top catching prospect currently playing at Double-A Jacksonville. It will be interesting to see whether Santana has similar success if the Indians put him in the Class A Advanced Carolina League or bump him up to Double-A Akron.
"He's raw but I like him," one scout told MLB.com. "He's raw as far as catching skills but he can catch, hit and play hard. I'm not sure yet how he calls a game and receives because he's still young and has a lot of stuff to work out behind the plate but he's a good get for Cleveland.
"In his prime he might hit 10-15 homers in the big leagues. But right now his hitting part is ahead of his power. He squares the ball up well, is aggressive and takes good hacks. The ribbies he has this year aren't a fluke or a Cal League thing. I think he'll hit more for average than power but he has a plus arm and he's still learning so there's a higher ceiling there. I like him a lot."
Jon Meloan, RHP: The hard-throwing former fifth-round pick was a starter at Arizona but spent his first three seasons as a pro in the bullpen. While he was 27-2 during his final two collegiate seasons, he made an exceptional adjustment to life in the bullpen going 10-5 with 22 saves and a 2.40 ERA in 86 appearances -- nine starts -- heading into this season.
The Dodgers, however, moved him back into the rotation this season at Triple-A Las Vegas this season and the results have not been nearly what the club would have liked them to be. Meloan is 5-10 with a 4.97 ERA in 21 games -- 20 starts. He's 1-5 with a 6.18 ERA in his last eight starts.
While those numbers don't stand out, here's some that do. Meloan has struck out 335 hitters in 262 Minor League innings. He's walked 121 over that stretch, including 60 this season. Meloan has gone seven innings once this season and that was on July 14 against Tacoma, the only game he's won since June 2.
"He's got some arm strength and some pretty good stuff," the aforementioned scout said. "It's just a matter of getting his mechanics straight enough where he can throw consistently all the time.
"Overall, it was a good deal for Cleveland."
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.