Will the Arizona Diamondbacks get Deyvison De Los Santos back?

The Arizona Diamondbacks lost corner infielder Deyvison De Los Santos in the Rule 5 draft, but will he get returned to the D-Backs?

Oct 22, 2022; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks first baseman Deyvison De Los Santos plays
Oct 22, 2022; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks first baseman Deyvison De Los Santos plays / Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

The Arizona Diamondbacks only lost two players in the Rule 5 draft. The only one they lost in the Major League phase is corner infield prospect Deyvison De Los Santos. The Cleveland Guardians took De Los Santos. The way the Rule 5 draft works, the Guardians now must keep De Los Santos on their active 26-man roster all season. If not, he will be placed on waivers, and if all other teams pass, he is returned to the Diamondbacks. However, if he is claimed by another team, they must also keep him on their 26-man roster for the entire 2024 season. With that kind of stipulation, will the D-Backs see De Los Santos return to their farm system?

De Los Santos spent the entirety of the 2023 season at the D-Backs' Double-A affiliate, batting a mere .254/.297/.431 with a .324 wOBA and 88 wRC+. The corner infielder had a meager 5.2% walk rate and a strikeout rate of 26%. De Los Santos was better in the second half of the season, however. After the All-Star break, De Los Santos hit .312/.333/.580 with a .394 wOBA and 132 wRC+. But his walk rate took another step down to just 2.8% while he still struck out over a quarter of the time (25.8%).

De Los Santos isn't going to find too much playing time at either of his primary positions. They're not going to move Jose Ramirez off third base or Josh Naylor off first base for De Los Santos. However, there isn't much competition for the designated hitter role for the Guardians right now. There's still a lot of off-season left, and that could change with an outside addition, but De Los Santos would arguably be one of their best options at DH right now.

But the question is if De Los Santos will be good enough to stick in the Major Leagues. I'd opine that he isn't. Look how often he struck out and how little he walked last season. His 0.2 BB:K ratio was the 15th lowest in the minors last season (min. 400 PAs). His BB% only got worse as the season went on, and he had a sub-3% BB% in the second half. Meanwhile, his strikeout rate didn't budge an inch.

On top of that, it's not like he's a middle infield/center field type who will at least bring some value with their defense and base running. Even if De Los Santos had a clear opportunity to play the field with the Guardians, he may be their worst defender. De Los Santos does not grade out as even an average defensive corner infielder. He has a strong enough arm to play third base, but his reaction and range are limited. He saw a handful of games at first base, but again, he did not shine defensively there either.

Many Rule 5 draft picks are eventually returned as well. Of the 15 players selected in 2022, eight were returned to their original teams. It's not uncommon that half or more of the players selected in a Rule 5 draft are eventually returned. Teams need that 26-man/40-man roster spot, and keeping around a guy who may be struggling isn't worth it.

Because of all that, I would not be surprised if the Guardians return Deyvison De Los Santos. He's sort of a positionless defender right now who struggled at Double-A last season. Does De Los Santos have potential? Absolutely, but his talent is still fairly raw. He definitely showed he needed more time in the minor leagues, and I don't think his current skillset will translate to the bigs well.