Benito Santiago has a name others notice, especially when he’s behind the plate. The Coral Springs (Fla.) Christian catcher has led his team to a 17-7 record and a spot in the Class 3A, District 14 playoffs, hitting a team-leading .379 with 12 RBI. He’s even more impressive defensively, as he has a quick release that has caught eight runners stealing this season.
Though he’s the son of the former Major League catcher of the same name, he said he hasn’t had much contact with his father. Until the regular-season American Family Insurance ALL-USA baseball team comes out in June, we’re looking at players who have a chance to be on that team.
Name and school: Benito Santiago, Coral Springs (Fla.) Christian
Height, weight: 5-10, 175
Baseball future: The senior has signed with Tennessee.
Top outings: On March 28 at the National High School Invitational in Cary, N.C., he went 2-for-3 with three RBI in a 6-4 defeat of Milton, Ga. On Wednesday, he went 1-for-2 with a stolen base in a 4-3 defeat of Pope John Paul II (Boca Raton).
Others’ take: “He doesn’t have to do anything extra,” said Coral Springs Christian coach Matt Cleveland. “That’s why he’s a big-time prospect. If he just learns to play within himself, he’ll do great. He’s a catcher, but he runs a 6.7 (time to first) and could play center field if he wanted to. The defense we never really worry about. He’s got so much talent back there and he’s been hitting all year.”
Santiago’s take: “I just come out and compete. That’s all we were taught to do. I watch other catchers and learn from them. I would probably say one I model myself after is Yadier Molina. He’s very athletic, has accuracy and is a well-rounded guy on and off the field.”