Daniel Ernesto Santana
- Bats Both, Throws Right
- Height 5' 11", Weight 173 lb.
Shortstop Danny Santana began playing in the Minnesota Twins system in 2008 and made his major league debut with the Twins in 2014.
Santana was signed by Twins scout Fred Guerrero in December 2007. He began his career with the DSL Twins, hitting .274/.343/.426 with 6 doubles, 10 triples and 15 stolen bases in 19 tries over 51 games; he fielded .920 at shortstop. He tied Alexander Mejia for the Dominican Summer League lead in triples. In 2009, he hit .265/.302/.418 with 12 stolen bases (caught once) and only eight walks in 44 games (170 at-bats). He fielded only .918 at short. Low walk totals would become the norm for Santana. He tied for third in the Gulf Coast League with five triples.
He hit .252/.287/.370 with 15 stolen bases (in 23 tries), 10 walks and 70 strikeouts in 70 games split between the Elizabethton Twins (.264/.285/.421 in 30 G) and Beloit Snappers (.238/.289/.315 in 40 G) in 2010, fielding .890 at SS overall. In 2011, he hit .247/.298/.373 with 55 runs, 24 stolen bases, 15 times caught stealing, 25 walks and 98 strikeouts in 104 games for Beloit. He fielded .924 at SS and also saw regular action at 2B and CF. His 28 errors led Twins farmhands. He tied Brian Dozier for first in the Twins chain in swipes but also led in times caught. He tied Ender Inciarte for third in the Midwest League in times gunned down stealing despite not making the top 10 in successes.
He hit .286/.329/.410 with 70 runs scored, 17 stolen bases in 28 tries, 29 walks and 77 strikeouts for the Fort Myers Miracle in 2012, showing big offensive progress. He also fielded sharper, .950 at SS. He was 6th in the Twins chain in runs (between Miguel Sano and Matt Carson), second in hits (145, 5 behind Oswaldo Arcia), third in triples (9, behind Adonis Pacheco and Aaron Hicks), 6th in steals and tied for first in times caught stealing. In the Florida State League, he tied Nick Shaw for 8th in runs scored, was second to Ramon Flores in hits and tied Derek Dietrich for third in triples (behind Mel Rojas Jr. and Rubi Silva). Baseball America rated him as the #9 Twins prospect, between Max Kepler and Luke Bard.
In 2013, he hit .297/.333/.386 with 66 runs, 160 hits, 10 triples, 30 stolen bases in 43 tries, 24 walks and 94 strikeouts in 131 games for the New Britain Rock Cats. He fielded .946 at SS. He was 6th in the Eastern League in average (between Caleb Joseph and Javier Herrera), was second in triples (one behind Brian Goodwin), led in sacrifice hits (11) , led in hits (160), led in hits (5 ahead of Joseph), was third in steals (behind José Ramírez and Darrell Ceciliani) and tied Shannon Wilkerson for second in times caught stealing (3 behind Ramírez). He led EL shortstops in putouts (204), assists (357) and errors (32) He made the EL All-Star team as the shortstop; the other infielders were 1B Allan Dykstra, 2B Hernan Perez and 3B Mark Minicozzi. In the Twins chain, he was second in hits (three behind Byron Buxton), tied Jorge Polanco for second in triples (8 behind Buxton), was third in steals (after Buxton and Antoan Richardson) and tied J.D. Williams for second in times caught stealing (6 behind Buxton, who had 25 more successes). In winter ball, he hit .311/.339/.451 for the Águilas Cibaeñas. Baseball America named him the Twins' #9 prospect, between Trevor May and Polanco.
He hit .268/.311/.381 to open 2014 with the Rochester Red Wings. He was called up to Minnesota when Mike Pelfrey went on the DL. In his MLB debut, he pinch-ran for Josmil Pinto in the 7th inning of a scoreless game against the Cleveland Indians and stayed in at DH. He singled off Cody Allen in his first at-bat. Minnesota won 1-0 in the 10th.
On May 8, 2017, he was traded to the Atlanta Braves in return for LHP Kevin Chapman. He elected free agency on December 1, 2017, but was re-signed to a minor league deal later that month. Santana was assigned to the Triple-A Gwinnett Stripers to begin the 2018 season, and was called up to Atlanta on June 22nd. He was designated for assignment on July 19th, and was outrighted on July 22nd. He elected free agency after the season.
On January 9, 2019, Santana signed a minor league contract, which included an invitation to major league spring training, with the Texas Rangers. He was assigned to the Triple-A Nashville Sounds to open the season. His contract was purchased on April 13th, and he was added to the major league roster. Santana played in 130 games for the Rangers in 2019, slashing .283/.324/.534 with 28 home runs and 81 RBI in 474 at-bats. Santana only played in 15 contests for the Rangers in 2020, hitting .145/.238/.273 with 1 home run and 7 RBI in 55 at-bats. On December 2nd, Santana was non-tendered by the Rangers.
On March 7, 2021, Santana was signed to a minor league contract by the Boston Red Sox, and received a non-roster invite to spring training. Santana began the minor league season on a rehabilitation assignment with the High-A Greenville Drive, then played in Triple-A with the Worcester Red Sox. On May 21st, he was added to Boston's active roster. He made his Red Sox debut that night at Citizens Bank Park against the Philadelphia Phillies, hitting a home run in an 11–3 Red Sox win. He was placed on the injured list on July 9th due to a left quad strain, was sent on a rehabilitation assignment with Worcester a week later, and was activated on July 19th. Santana returned to the injured list on July 22nd due to a left groin strain.
Before the 2022 season, he was handed an 80-game suspension for testing positive for boldenone, a banned performance-enhancing drug.
Primary Source: 2014 Twins Media Guide
- 2014 Topps All-Star Rookie Team
- 20-Home Run Seasons: 1 (2019)