Santiago drafted by St. Louis Cardinals, 2nd Vol selected

C Benito Santiago / Credit: UT Athletics

Vols senior catcher Benito Santiago was taken in the 34th round with 1,023rd overall pick of the 2018 MLB Draft.

Santiago became the 130th overall player drafted out of UT and was the second Vol to be selected in the 2018 Draft. He is the second player to be drafted by the Cardinals organization in the last three years, joining outfielder Vincent Jackson, who was selected by St. Louis in the 14th round of the 2016 draft.

Santiago was previously drafted by the San Francisco Giants in the 38th round of the June 2014 MLB Rule IV Draft.

In 2018, Santiago started 54 games as the Vols primary catcher and finished the year tied for the team lead with 15 doubles and seven home runs, both career bests. The senior also set career highs in at-bats (203), RBI (34), slugging percentage (.448) and walks (19). His 34 RBIs ranked second on the team. In non-conference play, Santiago led the team with a .415 batting average, 39 hits, 14 doubles, 24 RBI, 67 total bases, a .713 slugging percentage and .472 on-base percentage.

As a junior, Santiago started 32 of his 33 games and hit .250 with 20 runs scored, six doubles, four triples, three homers and 20 RBIs. His four triples ranked third in the SEC in 2017.

In a breakout sophomore campaign, Santiago recorded a .309 batting average that included 11 doubles, three triples and one home run. He also drove in 18 runs over 53 games and scored 33 runs for Tennessee during the 2016 season.

During his first year with the Orange and White in 2015, Santiago played in 33 games. The Florida native made his first start as a Volunteer during the second game at Florida International (Miami, Fla.) and recorded 10 putouts behind the plate. Santiago later hit his first collegiate RBI-double against Arkansas in the 2015 SEC Baseball Tournament in Hoover, Ala.

-UT Athletics

 

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