Few players have been more vexing to own in fantasy baseball this season than Carlos Santana. Great things were expected from the 29-year-old switch-hitting slugger in 2015, but he’s currently being out-slugged by the likes of Jose Iglesias and Dee Gordon while producing a lower batting average than Ryan Howard and fewer runs batted in than Jose Altuve. That’s about as successful as the recent Ryan Seacrest show was. But while there’s little chance of Seacrest becoming useful in the near future, Santana has been productive in recent years, and, as a player who has yet to reach his 30s, should theoretically possess the same skill set that has allowed him to enjoy that fantasy success. Let’s take a look at his career numbers on a yearly basis since his MLB debut in 2010:

Season G PA HR R RBI SB BB% K% ISO AVG OBP SLG wOBA
2010 46 192 6 23 22 3 19.30% 15.10% 0.207 0.26 0.401 0.467 0.38
2011 155 658 27 84 79 5 14.70% 20.20% 0.217 0.239 0.351 0.457 0.351
2012 143 609 18 72 76 3 14.90% 16.60% 0.168 0.252 0.365 0.42 0.344
2013 154 642 20 75 74 3 14.50% 17.10% 0.187 0.268 0.377 0.455 0.364
2014 152 660 27 68 85 5 17.10% 18.80% 0.196 0.231 0.365 0.427 0.353
2015 99 424 12 47 47 7 16.00% 18.60% 0.162 0.225 0.351 0.387 0.328

Santana had his owners singing “Oye Como Va” on draft day, but he just has them muttering “oy vey” these days. Santana has already set a new career high in steals with 7 this season and his walk and strikeout rates are in line with his career averages. Unfortunately, he hasn’t been hitting for the power or average that was expected of him coming into the season, as his current .225/.351/.387 triple slash line would represent career lows across the board.

Let’s examine his batted ball profile to see if any explanations can be found there:

Season BABIP LD% GB% FB% IFFB% HR/FB Soft% Med% Hard%
2010 0.277 21.10% 35.00% 43.90% 11.10% 11.10% 15.20% 41.60% 43.20%
2011 0.263 15.40% 44.70% 40.00% 17.20% 16.00% 25.10% 43.70% 31.20%
2012 0.278 19.10% 43.10% 37.80% 11.50% 11.50% 13.30% 56.30% 30.40%
2013 0.301 21.80% 42.50% 35.70% 9.70% 13.00% 15.40% 52.40% 32.20%
2014 0.249 19.50% 40.10% 40.40% 14.90% 16.10% 20.00% 45.00% 35.00%
2015 0.252 16.70% 44.90% 38.40% 18.90% 11.30% 22.30% 46.80% 30.90%

Santana’s line drive percentage (16.7%) is down for the second straight year, and his current ground ball (44.9%) and infield fly ball (18.9%) percentages would represent career highs for him. His soft and hard hit percentages are trending in the wrong direction as well. Very concerning.

It wouldn’t be a bear/bull without a player comp thrown in, would it? I have two comps for you today, actually. I’ll give them to you rapid-fire style. We’ll go the mystery player route as well, where each player’s stats will be matched up with Santana’s and the names won’t be revealed until later on. Ooh, the suspense! Here’s the first table which features Santana’s career stats as well as those of a mystery player who is no longer active:

Name PA HR R RBI SB BB% K% AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+
Player A 3316 95 430 398 29 15.70% 17.20% 0.268 0.399 0.441 0.37 126
Carlos Santana 3189 110 369 383 26 15.70% 18.10% 0.245 0.365 0.434 0.351 125

The second table contains stats accumulated from the beginning of the 2014 season through today, and can be seen here:

Name PA HR R RBI SB BB% K% AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+
Player B 829 26 103 116 8 11.50% 18.10% 0.274 0.372 0.446 0.36 132
Carlos Santana 1088 39 115 132 12 16.70% 18.70% 0.228 0.359 0.41 0.342 121

While neither player comparison is perfectly accurate, there are plenty of similarities here. Though Santana has a slight edge in home run power in each table, his slugging percentage is actually lower than each of the mystery players. Santana also has a higher walk rate than player B in the second table, but the overall offensive production is quite similar in terms of overall offensive value. Time to reveal the mystery players. Player A in the career comp table is none other than the legendary Nick Johnson, while player B in the peer comp table is current Blue Jay catcher Russell Martin.

The most concerning thing about Santana’s 2015 season is his complete lack of power versus left-handed pitching. Let’s take a look at his splits:

Screen shot 2015-08-06 at 8.06.58 AM

Santana has yet to homer against left-handed pitching this year, and his .276 SLG (10th lowest in MLB) and .041 ISO (12th lowest) when facing lefties are among the worst in baseball. You could call it the Pablo Sandoval syndrome. Whatever the reason, Santana has hit for less power against southpaws than Ben Revere this season. For a player who derives the majority of his fantasy value from power production, this is obviously a huge concern.

It might be time to reevaluate the expectations for Santana moving forward. He’s become an average drain (.228 BA since the start of ’14) who doesn’t hit for power against LHP or steal enough bases to provide much value with his legs, which is to say that he’s not as much of a Chris Davis type of fantasy player these days as he is a Curtis Granderson type.

Final Verdict:

Brown Bear Walking in Snow

 

 

 

 
  1. Happy Vegans says:
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    I’ve only seen him hit a few times this season but his lower half didn’t look right. Nagging injury??? Just didn’t look right the whole way through the swing. Also, his IFFB is higher this season. Just missing on his swing? Sore legs would do that.

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      @Happy Vegans: Something seems to be off with him. It’s too early for a decline in physical skills, so it could be an injury that he’s playing through. A leg issue could explain it, but at the same time he’s already matched his single season high in steal attempts this year.

      Either way, he’s a low average power hitter who’s topped 20 homers once since 2012. He looks like a N. Johnson/Martin/Grandy type of player at this point.

      • J-FOH says:
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        @Big Magoo: it might not be the leg, could be a shoulder or that mysterious oblique everyone claims they have

        • Big Magoo

          Big Magoo says:
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          @J-FOH: He probably would’ve hit the DL by now if it was a serious issue. It would have to be something in a really specific area to explain the extreme splits too.

          • J-FOH says:
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            @Big Magoo: maybe he is one of those rare players who tries to play through it?

            • Big Magoo

              Big Magoo says:
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              @J-FOH: Not if it was serious. The Indians are pretty much out of it, and he’s been struggling for awhile now. He would’ve been DL’ed at some point.

              • J-FOH says:
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                @Big Magoo: actually Mike and I were texting about him a while back and he said CS was chasing everything. Seems like a guy that lost it upstairs and has been pressing

                • Big Magoo

                  Big Magoo says:
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                  @J-FOH: Yeah, could be the Ian Desmond syndrome for him, except that his 37.2% Swing% would be a career low. His 22.2% O-Swing% is in-line with last season (22.0%) and well below his 2013 mark (25.8%), so he doesn’t seem to be chasing more than usual.

                  • J-FOH says:
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                    @Big Magoo: this was Mikes visual analysis being in the Indians market

                • Mike

                  Mike says:
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                  to be fair, I didn’t say anything about swinging, I just said he was stupid

                  • J-FOH says:
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                    @Mike: sorry for my bad interpretations

                  • J-FOH says:
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                    @Mike: I could of sworn you said he was chasing alot of bad pitches

                    • Mike

                      Mike says:
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                      for a guy who walks a lot and supposedly has a great eye, he can’t seem to pick out the pitches to drive. You should hear Hamilton (CLE radio guy) on Santana…it’s hilarious.

                  • Mike

                    Mike says:
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                    and I traded for him, so what does that make me? lol

                  • Big Magoo

                    Big Magoo says:
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                    @Mike: If you create a league with “stupid” as a category, let me know. I’m in!

                    • Mike

                      Mike says:
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                      that’s one category I would dominate lol

      • Happy Vegans says:
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        @Big Magoo: I noticed the SBs too. Of course, if you have sore legs/hips at the beginning of the season and you get your cortisone then, the next one would be about 6 weeks later. BTW he had no SBs in June. And JFK was the target of a multi- corporate conspiracy… there was no moon landing… and there is a military space shuttle.

        • Big Magoo

          Big Magoo says:
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          @Happy Vegans: Forgot about the UFOs… Still wouldn’t explain the complete power outage against lefties, especially if he’s feeling good enough to steal bases.

  2. Grey

    Grey says:
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    Sky talked me into liking Santana this year, I should’ve traded all my Santanas to Sky

    • J-FOH says:
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      @Grey: I got sucked into Sky’s Santana Siren Song too. Passed on Frazier for Santana in perts. FMFBL

      • Grey

        Grey says:
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        Sky needs to start handing out apologies!

        • J-FOH says:
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          @Grey: Im expecting an Im sorry letter….Im still waiting on my Hosmer card from you, its been years now.

          • Grey

            Grey says:
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            Hos’s been decent this year!

            • J-FOH says:
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              @Grey: you made your call 2 or 3 years ago

              • Grey

                Grey says:
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                They’re all my calls…every one of them!

                • J-FOH says:
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                  @Grey: Miller is finally being half the man you called him to be

                  • Grey

                    Grey says:
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                    Ha

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      @Grey: That would’ve been so smooth

    • Cheese Eating Surrender Monkey says:
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      @Grey: player rater (esp OBP/OPS) loved him this year as well, it’s why i have him in so many leagues.

  3. Spammer Jay says:
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    thanks for writing this. Needed to see it!

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      @Spammer Jay: No problem. Sell, Spammer Jay. Sell!

  4. Can anyone tell me if the recently acquired Parra will be Platooning in Baltimore or get the majority of at bats.

    • J-FOH says:
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      @Dnut eastwood: we have all concluded that he should see the majority as long as he continues to hit lefties (for his career he hasn’t). Could sit vs tough lefties

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      @Dnut eastwood: He’s been far better than any of their alternatives this season (Snider, Pearce, etc.), so he should see the majority of the playing time going forward.

      • J-FOH says:
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        @Big Magoo: they have shown an edge to platooney tunes regardless of how hot a player has been. Many times they have made no sense. Pearce returning could be the wildcard, which he shouldn’t be but you never know with them. It feels safe to me to assume he plays everyday unlessa tough lefty is on the hill. For roto it doesnt matter but for H2H guys it can be a problem come playoff time

        • Big Magoo

          Big Magoo says:
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          @J-FOH: He’s started in each of Baltimore’s five games since the trade at both LF and RF. Barring an extended slump, I think he’ll only sit around once a week, which would probably only help his numbers since it would be against a tough lefty like you mentioned.

          • @Big Magoo: showalter is definitely a NL style guy who manages more then mist

            • Big Magoo

              Big Magoo says:
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              @Dnut eastwood: Yup. Buck isn’t afraid to play the matchups and shake things up from time to time. Parra is their 2nd best outfielder right now though, so I don’t see him missing much time in the near future.

  5. chadaristic says:
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    Maikel Franco was dropped in my forever keeper league for some reason, so I dropped Santana for him 4-5 days ago. Feels smooch better.

    • chadaristic says:
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      @chadaristic: hmm, I think I like smooch better than “so much”. Don’t you just love when a typo turns out better than what you intended?

      • Big Magoo

        Big Magoo says:
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        @chadaristic: Haha, smooch has a nice ring to it. Nice move. I’d definitely prefer Franco in that format.

  6. y4rivera says:
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    12 team keeper 260 cap $5 inflation

    Hi, this is a follow-up to the negotiations from yesterday where I declined his Bryant $11 and Springer $13 for my Machado $21 and Puig $17. He sent 2 more offers. Which if any should I take? I’m still in contention.

    Bryant and Springer for Machado and Sano $6

    Bryant, Soler $11, and Severino $6 for Machado

    If you don’t like them should I counter with Bryant and Springer for Puig and Sano?

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      @y4rivera: Both of those offers actually look pretty decent, but losing Machado would probably hurt your chances this year. The Puig/Sano counter sounds solid for you though.

      • y4rivera says:
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        We managed to get a deal done.

        I traded Puig, Sano, Desmond, Boxberger, and Gregorson
        I got Bryant, Springer, Familia, and Perkins

        I also did a separate trade where I gave Frazier $29 for Blackmon $11. I’m really happy with the moves because I’m built nicely for this year and still have excellent keepers. I can slide Machado into Frazier’s slot and Blackmon into Puig’s. Blackmon also helps me with steals which was my weakest cat.

        My offense (prices shown for cost to keep next year)
        c- Perez $13 (wouldn’t keep)
        1b- Rizzo $19
        2b- Cano $41 (wouldn’t keep)
        3b- Machado $21
        ss- Tulo $41 (might be too expensive)
        of- McCutchen $52 (too expensive)
        of- Brantley $11
        of- Blackmon $6
        u- Bryant $11

        dl- Miggy $48 (might be too expensive)
        dl- Springer $13

        • y4rivera says:
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          *Blackmon $11 for next year, not 6

          • Big Magoo

            Big Magoo says:
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            @y4rivera: I like both of those deals for you. Nice job!

            The one high-priced player that you have who might be worth keeping is Tulo. Depends on your budget and what you think he’d go for if you had to bid on him again, but I think he still has one or two big seasons left in him (especially in Toronto). You’re pretty much set at the corners with Rizzo, Machado, and Bryant and in the OF with Springer, Brantley, and Blackmon. It’ll be easy enough to add another outfielder or two on draft day, but it would be nice to have one of your MI slots locked up before then.

            • y4rivera says:
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              Thanks for all your help.

              • Big Magoo

                Big Magoo says:
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                @y4rivera: No problem

  7. Grizza3569 says:
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    Sal Perez or Schwarber ROS in points league?

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      @Grizza3569: I’d go with Schwarber. He looks like the real deal and the Cubs are using him in the outfield when he’s not catching in order to keep his bat in the lineup. Perez is likely to see a drop in production in the 2nd half due to his heavy workload behind the plate (just like last season).

  8. bigbear says:
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    Say it ain’t so!!! I drafted him in a OBP league this year and have been keeping the faith… You make a compelling argument to my chagrin. Mike’s comment about the CLE commentator cements it for me.3

    Is there a place where I can find historic league averages for things like ISO or line drive/fly ball %? Or a 5 year league average trend? I’d think there would be some value in knowing that too.

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      @bigbear: Santana is much more valuable in an OBP format. He’s always among the league leaders in walks. Don’t worry!

      Fangraphs has all of that info that you’re looking for. Here’s how you can access that info:

      1. Go to fangraphs.com

      2. Click on “leaders” in the top toolbar (batting or pitching, whatever you’re looking for)

      3. Player stats are automatically loaded, so click the “league stats” tab if you’re looking for league averages

      The league totals are displayed for counting stats such as runs and RBI, but league averages are displayed for nearly everything else. You can sort for batted ball, plate discipline, etc. via the toolbar directly above where the stats are shown.

      Hope this helps!

  9. Will says:
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    Man a dude in my league who was convinced he needed a real catcher got desperate at the trade deadline and gave me Buxton for Santana. Hahahahaha and it’s a keeper league. Hahahahaha.

    • Big Magoo

      Big Magoo says:
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      @Will: Buxton for Santana in a keeper? Wow, great deal for you!

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