#29 - Adalberto Santos
Measurables: 5'11, 185
Bats: R, Throws: R
Acquired: 22nd round (657th overall), 2010
Buried Treasure 2012 Top 20: Not ranked
Santos was drafted in the 22nd round (657th overall) in 2010 by the Pirates. In college - at Oregon State - Santos has played centerfield, but the Pirates announced him as a second baseman. Santos was immediately sent to the State College Spikes where he had an excellent start to his professional career. In 276 plate appearances, Santos posted a .319/.406/.479 line, showing a good hit tool, an excellent ability to get on-base and good pop, especially for someone his size. In fact, Santos walked (33) more times than the struck out (31), resulting in a 12.0% walk rate and a 11.2 strikeout rate, both phenomenal numbers. To acclimate Santos - who's an average athlete at best - the Pirates allowed him to play in the corner outfield spots during his first season. One negative for Santos was his age. He turned 23 shortly after he was drafted.
Due to Santos's advanced approach and success at State College, the Pirates had him skip West Virginia and start his first full season playing for the Bradenton Marauders. Santos excelled while playing in Bradenton, posting a nearly identical triple-slash to his 2010 line. In 407 plate appearances, he his 7 home runs and posted a .314/.392/.476 line. His plate discipline eroded a bit, but that's to be expected as an advanced college player climbs the ladder. Plus, overall the numbers remained excellent, with a 10.6% walk rate and a 13.5% strikeout rate.
Santos also played 26 out of 105 games at second base, making 7 errors. Scouting reports indicated he had poor range and left field would most likely be his defensive home in the future due to a fringy arm as well. Santos also showed some acumen stealing bases, stealing 27 bases out of 31 attempts. However, that's due to good instincts and experience and minor league pitching; Santos is an average runner at best. Ending a month shy of his 24th birthday, Santos remained behind the age eightball. Still, his ability to get on-base through a good hit tool, low strikeout rate, and high walk rate gives him an outside chance of a major league career.
In 2012, Santos made two shifts. First, he shifted back to the outfield, giving up the second base experiment for now. Second, Santos was promoted to AA, starting the year with the Altoona Curve. Santos unfortunately was unable to play a full year with the Curve as a knee injury cost him two months. He continued to hit well in the 274 plate appearances over 68 games that he did get. Santos only managed to hit 2 home runs, but posted a .340/.425/.433 line, increasing his on-base percentage even more to offset his power outage.
Santos will almost assuredly start 2013 in Indianapolis, if not on the major league squad. He just turned 25 last month, and he doesn't offer an attractive defensive profile or much power. Santos can get on-base, with a career minor league OBP over .400. If that can translate to the major leagues and Santos can develop moderate power and shore his defense up in the outfield, he could be a major league starter for a team that values OBP. More than likely, he might get a few years in the major leagues as a bench bat, although his lack of defensive flexibility limits that chance.