Monday afternoon in Goodyear saw the A-ball teams stay at home and take on the Texas Rangers squads from the same level. It was a big day for third baseman Leandro Santana. The recently turned 21-year-old had a breakout season of sorts in Billings during the 2017 season. In 67 games for the Mustangs he hit .280/.347/.455 with a team best 11 home runs. The power was on display for Santana against the Rangers. He smacked a triple in his first at-bat that I saw from him on the day. He followed it up with an absolute moonshot home run the next time he came to the plate. You can see them both in the video below.

Nick Howard is back on the mound

To say that things have been a struggle for Nick Howard since joining the Cincinnati Reds organization would be putting it lightly. The 2014 1st round draft pick went through what many would call a case of the yips. He struggled mightily to throw strikes in both the 2015 and 2016 seasons, walking 81 batters in 58.0 innings. That, however, wasn’t the end of things. Howard also suffered an arm injury during the 2016 campaign and had shoulder surgery. When he returned to the mound in instructional league last fall, he reportedly was impressive and was one of the MVP’s for the Reds organization.

On Monday he threw two innings, and I was able to see one of them. I didn’t catch any radar readings from the outing, though from reports I heard from his time in instructional league he was in the low 90’s during the fall. If he’s pitching again in Goodyear (his day could fall when his team is on the road), I’ll be sure to check out his velocity and report back. What I did see, though, was a Nick Howard that knew where the baseball was going. He threw strikes and the stuff looked good.


14 Responses

  1. robert a powers

    This poor kid has had 1 problem after another; I hope he is finally over all this. I have to admire his courage and determination. WISH HIM NOTHING BUT THE BEST.

  2. Simon Cowell

    It would be a huge plus for the organization if Nick Howard makes a 100% comeback. He’s been snake-bitten so far in his professional career. I’m wishing him the best of luck.

  3. fatboy567

    it was fascinating that DW brought him up on the reddit AQA as a guy to look out for

  4. donny

    I am curious to know if Kevin Quackenbush is going to make the bull pen.

    • sultanofswaff

      I think Quack has a very good chance, and with Lorenzen out he probably is a shoo-in.

  5. Michael W.

    Doug I really like the montage video you have before the clips start.

    • donny

      Yeah, i do to. It looks pretty sporty to say the least.

  6. CP

    Santana just adds to the talented mix of OF that could find themselves at Dayton this year. Makes we wonder which of them will find themselves at the new team in TN just so they can get more playing time….

    Great to to hear about Howard. Can’t help but pull for a guy like him to be able to find his stride now. Who knows? Maybe he figures things out and makes a push to be apart of the next competitive Reds bullpen in a couple years….

    • RedsinWashSt

      I think he plays 3rd so that should not be a problem.

  7. The Duke

    Santana definitely knew that was gone as soon as he hit it. Held the pose for just a moment and watched. If Santana steps up he makes what looks like a solid Dayton lineup for this year even more solid. Downs, Garcia, Gordon, Sugilio, Fairchild, and Santana as every day players is a lot of offensive potential.

    Great to hear that Nick Howard is looking solid this spring. If anyone deserves a break, it’s that guy. Do you think he goes back to Daytona, or maybe push him up to Pensacola given his age and good fall instructionals/spring training?

    • Big Ed

      Santana has a nice, short stroke. His walk rate in the minors is pretty good, too, especially for a guy who just turned 21. And in the video, he laid off a tough strike that was on the outsider corner low.

  8. Champ Summers

    Anyone know what Shoulder surgery? Labrum? Rotator cuff? Something less catastrophic?

  9. donny

    I noticed 5 things in that video.

    1. I noticed Santana’s hand position in his stance. How he has his hands out in front and then he slides them back and into position to hit as the pitcher is delivering the ball and the ball is coming to the plate all at the same time. I see that he does that as a timing thing, but i wonder,and i can see down the road when or if he is struggling that the Reds brass has him change his hand position to stop all that movement and help him cut down on swing and miss rate. He has the power and it doesn’t seem that he needs to do that to generate power.

    2. His Triple

    3. His home run

    4. His pitch recognition to hit that off speed pitch for a home run and his ability to sit back on the pitch.

    5. If Santana is 6-2 . Then that catcher must be around 6-6, because he looks massively huge.