Player Spotlight: Carlos Santana

Player Spotlight: Carlos Santana

Indians 1B/DH Carlos Santana (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

Indians 1B/DH Carlos Santana (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)

The projections next to the player names are an average of THE BAT, ATC, Steamer, and ZIPS projection systems found on Fangraphs. NFBC ADP data is from the date range 1/01/2019-02/11/2019. Carlos Santana is back in Cleveland, but will he be back to his old self?

Carlos Santana, CLE (ADP 196): 634 AB, 77 R, 22 HR, 75 RBI, 3 SB, .250/.364/.447/.811

Carlos Santana has had an unusual offseason. First being traded from the Phillies to the Mariners, then to Cleveland, his original MLB team. Santana has three big calling cards: durability, solid power, and elite plate skills. He’s averaged 154 games played, 24 home runs, 15.3% walk rate, and just a 16.6% strikeout rate over his first eight full MLB seasons. He’s a really consistent player despite occasional swings in his batting average due to low BABIP’s. His career BABIP is a stunningly low .265 (league average is around .300) but it makes sense because he’s a very slow runner that has pulled the third highest percentage of his batted balls since 2012, subjecting him to shifts.

The move back to Progressive field shouldn’t have a profoundly negative impact on the switch hitter’s home run total. Cleveland is slightly better than Citizens Bank Park for lefty power, but it’s substantially worse for right-handed sluggers. Moving back to the AL will allow him to play some DH, taking some injury risk out of the picture for the aging former catcher. He’s slated to bat cleanup for the Indians behind Francisco Lindor and Jose Ramirez, so RBI chances should be plenty.

Ignore the fact that he’s 33 and don’t put too much stock into his .229 batting average last season. Santana was a top 100 player going into 2018 and not much has changed. A 2018 BABIP significantly worse than his poor career mark means he’ll be closer to his career .247 batting average than the .229 he posted last year. I’m picking Santana where I can around his ADP because the three calling cards he continues to possess aren’t often found this late in drafts. He remains a top 100 option in OBP leagues.

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