Carlos Santana celebrates birthday with pair of homers

As we discussed in last month's position primer, there's not exactly a shortage of elite young prospects at catcher right now. Three of Baseball America's top 10 minor leaguers are catchers, and so is the presumptive No. 1 pick in the 2010 MLB Draft.

For near-term fantasy purposes, Cleveland's Carlos Santana(notes) could very well be the most interesting backstop who hasn't yet arrived in the big leagues. The switch-hitter made his Triple-A debut with the Columbus Clippers on Thursday, and it went better than anyone could have reasonably expected. Santana was 4-for-5 with two homers, one double and four RBIs. His team absolutely destroyed Indianapolis, 17-4. And it happened to be Santana's 24th birthday.

So that's a pretty good day. If you'll check the box score from Thursday's massacre, you'll notice that Columbus' opening day lineup also featured Russell Branyan(notes) (3-for-3, double, RBI) and a collection of names that have haunted AL/NL-only rosters in recent seasons (Crowe, Duncan, Buscher, Bixler, Carrasco). If you're involved in an International League fantasy setup, let's hope you drafted a Clipper-heavy roster. (Also worth noting: Pedro Alvarez(notes), the No. 2 overall pick in the 2008 draft, homered for Indy. He's a good bet to finish the season in Pittsburgh).

As for Santana, it would hardly be a surprise to see him make the jump to the majors relatively soon, prior to the All-Star break. He isn't blocked by anyone too intimidating; Lou Marson(notes) and Mike Redmond(notes) are a combined 0-for-11 for Cleveland thus far. Santana needs to simply continue hitting as he always has — 44 total homers over two seasons, .431 OBP in '08, .413 in '09 — while demonstrating that he's recovered from off-season hand surgery. He's of course already owned in competitive dynasty leagues and AL-only formats. When he arrives in Cleveland, he'll be a recommended mixed league add, too.


Photo via AP Images

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