Jose Abreu has taken the American League by storm after his hot start with the Chicago White Sox.
Abreu, 27, is in his first season of Major League Baseball after playing five years professionally in his native Cuba.
Danny Santana of the Minnesota Twins has taken a different route for his early success. He was signed by Minnesota as a 16-year old out of the Dominican Republic. Santana sported a .274 batting average during his stint in the minor leagues with 232 home runs in a little over five seasons.
He was called up to the Twins in May and only has 22 games under his belt. Still, he has adjusted to the rigors of the big leagues tremendously.
Abreu may lead all rookies with 17 home runs, but Santana has already collected 34 total bases in his short time with Minnesota."He's swinging it," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire told the Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune:
“He’s doing fine. He doesn’t know these pitchers, so he’s making some adjustments. He sees a breaking ball the first time, he’s ready for it the next time. The kid’s fun to watch.”
Santana is currently riding a five-game winning streak and his most productive outing in the majors came on June 7 against the Houston Astros when he went 4 for 5 with four RBIs. Santana went 6 for 15 in the three-game series in which the Astros left with two victories.
The Twins are still toying with options to find the best place on the field for Santana. He's taken hacks at designated hitter, first base, third base and all three outfield positions.
His speed is ideal for centerfield and he actually may be the fastest Twins player since Carlos Gomez or Ben Revere, writes Patrick Reusse.
Still, he may be more comfortable in the infield. He played only sparingly in center in the minor leagues. Currently, the outfield situation is crowded for the Twins, who are trying to climb out of last place in the American League Central Division with a 29-32 record.
Abreu's White Sox sit above Minnesota with a 31-33 record.
Meanwhile at Target Field, Oswald Arcia; Aaron Hicks; Eduardo Nunez; Chris Parmalee and Josh Willingham occupy the Twins' outfield on a regular basis. Plus, Alex Presley and Sam Fuld are on the disabled list.
Santana likely won't see much more time at DH as the Twins recently signed free agent slugger Kendrys Morales to a deal.
Morales, also hailing from Abreu's Cuba, signed for one year and roughly $7.6 million.
He has yet to play for the Twins, this season, but enters his seventh year in the MLB with a career .280 batting average and 232 home runs.
Santana, meanwhile, will do his best to remain in the lineup and help revive the Twins out of their consistent space in the cellar.
Santana has the speed on the field, maybe it will translate to a quick rise in the standings:
"He can do some things that I probably can't do," said teammate Brian Dozier.
"He's exciting, a big-time threat on the bases. He's fun to watch."