Astros call up outfielder Santana to bigs

MLB.com's No. 92 prospect should add some pop to Houston lineup

Domingo Santana has posted an OPS higher than .800 in each of his past four Minor League seasons. (Oklahoma City RedHawks)

By Sam Dykstra / MiLB.com | July 1, 2014 2:31 PM

Like George Springer and Jonathan Singleton before him, Domingo Santana has hit his way right to Houston.

The Astros announced Tuesday that they were calling up their No. 7 prospect along with infielder Enrique Hernandez and left-handed reliever Kevin Chapman to the Majors. The organization moved center fielder Dexter Fowler (right intercostal strain) to the 15-day disabled list and designated right-hander Jerome Williams for assignment to make room for the promoted trio. A third spot on the roster was already open when Jonathan Villar was optioned to Triple-A Oklahoma City.

Santana is the biggest headliner of the group. MLB.com has him pegged as the No. 92 overall prospect in the game at the time of the promotion, and that ranking is plenty justified. The right-handed slugger had a .304/.383/.502 line with 13 homers, one triple, 22 doubles and 52 RBIs in 84 games for Oklahoma City. He's coming off an especially productive month of June, when he put up a .324/.420/.510 line with four homers, seven doubles and 16 RBIs in 27 games.

This recent run of production isn't altogether new for the Dominican Republic native. He had hit 20-plus homers in each of his last two seasons with Class A Advanced Lancaster and Double-A Corpus Christi entering this season and looked like he would at least threaten to hit the mark again had he stayed with the RedHawks.

Santana, who was previously named to this year's World Team roster for the Futures Game, has played all three outfield spots this season but has mostly been in the corners, especially in right where he's made nine of his last 11 starts. He received a 60 grade on his arm from MLB.com last offseason and indeed had four outfield assists in Oklahoma City. He could slot into left field, where the Astros have started L.J. Hoes (.190 average) in each of their last four games.

Interestingly, he's the fourth and final member to make the Majors from the 2011 deadline deal that sent Hunter Pence to the Philles. Singleton, right-handed pitcher Jarred Cosart and right-handed reliever Josh Zeid are all up with the Astros now. Santana was included as a player-to-be-named-later in the trade.

Though overshadowed by Santana, Hernandez has done plenty to earn his promotion. The 22-year-old infielder was batting .337/.380/.508 in 67 games with Oklahoma City and was similarly hot in June, when his line stood at .383/.415/.608. He's played all four infield spots but could fill in for Villar at short.

Chapman returns to the big leagues after he made six appearances for the Astros back in April, in which he gave up five runs on five hits and seven walks while striking out six in just 3 2/3 innings. He's been lights-out in Triple-A posting a 0.94 ERA with 37 strikeouts and a .190 average-against in 28 2/3 innings. His 6.6 BB/9 rate in the Minors this season, however, indicates that control could still be an issue for the 26-year-old right-hander.

Sam Dykstra is a contributor to MiLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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