DETROIT -- Carlos Santana got the call. Not the call so many Indians fans are anticipating for the club's top prospect. This was a recent call from manager Manny Acta, who wanted to gauge the Triple-A catcher's thoughts on some of the arms in the top level of the Tribe's farm system. But Acta had another motive with that call. Because while he certainly wanted to hear about the likes of Carlos Carrasco, Frank Herrmann and Josh Tomlin to get a sense of the stuff behind the numbers in the early going this season, he also wanted to hear how well Santana is able to recognize the progress, strengths and weaknesses of his pitchers.
"We went through some good things," Acta said. "He could bring up different things a guy is doing this year that he wasn't doing last year. But it's very tough to grade guys down there and know what they're going to do up here. It's a big jump." It's a jump Santana figures to make soon. His bat is certainly ready for the bigs, as evidenced by his .318 average and 1.026 OPS. But Santana has strides to make with his throwing, and he's still learning how to handle a pitching staff and call a game. The Indians are stressing the importance of his defensive development before he gets the real call to the bigs, not just a call from the big league skipper.