Lynchburg outfielder Anthony Santander’s incredible week was rewarded by the Carolina League on Monday when he was selected as its Player of the Week for games played between July 11 and July 17.
The 21-year-old Venezuelan has been on an extended tear at the plate over the last few weeks for the Hillcats. It continued this week, as the switch-hitting outfielder had ten hits in 23 at bats (.435) with a 1.000 slugging percentage and 1.480 OPS over the span of five games.
He had hits in all but one of his games this week, hitting five singles, a double, and four home runs while driving in nine. He hit a solo homer and a pair of singles while scoring twice on Wednesday in Carolina. Over the weekend, he destroyed the Wilmington Blue Rocks, hitting homers from each side of the plate (including a grand slam) while driving in a professional career high of six runs in the game. He followed it up with a four-hit game on Sunday when he had three singles and hit his third home run in two days and fourth in four days while scoring twice and driving in two.
During the week, he extended his hitting streak to a season-high 12 games before ending it with an 0-for-4 at the plate on Thursday. He has hit safely in 22 of his last 24 games.
In 14 July games, he is slashing .373/.441/.763 with a 1.204 OPS. His bulked up power numbers have pushed him past teammate Bobby Bradley for the Carolina League’s RBI lead, as his 68 are two better than Bradley’s 66. He is third in the league in homers (14), trailing Bradley’s 16 and league leader Aderlin Rodriguez’s 17.
Santander joined the Indians organization on July 2, 2011, as a non-drafted free agent. He spent 43 games in the rookie league in 2012, hitting .305 with four homers and 32 RBI. He spent parts of the next three seasons at Class-A Lake County (and eight games at short-season Mahoning Valley in 2015), while reoccurring elbow issues slowed his development several times along the way.
The 2016 season is his first at the High-A level. He is hitting .290 for the year with 25 doubles, 14 homers, and 68 RBI in 82 games. He has scored 61 runs, provided 95 hits, and has stolen eight bases in 12 attempts. He has worked almost exclusively in left field for the Hillcats, outside of three starts at first base.
Santander is the fifth Lynchburg player and third position player to receive a weekly honor from the Carolina League this season, joining former Hillcats players Mike Papi and Julian Merryweather and Santander’s current teammates Yu-Cheng Chang and Sean Brady.
Photo: Jay Westcott/The News and Advance
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