If you were offered a 23-year-old ballplayer with both shortstop and outfield eligibility, who hit .319/.353/.472 with seven homers and 20 steals in 430 plate appearances…would you keep him? If you were a hot dog…would you eat yourself? These are important questions. The player is Danny Santana, whose rookie season with the Twins was useful to fantasy owners despite his May arrival and lost time with a leg injury. Santana is going to be an on-the-fence decision in a lot of shallow keeper leagues, which makes him worth discussing for the purposes of this keeper post.

If your league keeps just a handful of players, say five or so, then Santana is not going to enter your field of vision. But if you’re in a league that keeps 10 or more players, he gets interesting. Part of it is his successful rookie year, but he’s also bringing some extra value to the table thanks to his age (23), his dual eligibility in most formats (SS/OF), and what was probably a low price to acquire in 2014. I’m guessing many leagues had him on and off waivers for the better part of the 2014 season, and yet he ended up ranking 11th on the Razzball player rater among shortstops. So what’s his value going forward? Is he worth keeping for 2015?

As Grey mentioned in his top 20 shortstops post earlier this week, Santana wasn’t even getting full time at bats until July. So his numbers could have been even better with 600+ plate appearances under his belt. Another positive is that Santana used his speed to get on base and help in the stolen base category. Almost 20% of his hits were infield hits and his stolen base percentage was a very solid 83% (20-for-24). The wear and tear of his first season and a leg injury didn’t slow him down as the year progressed. He ended up swiping six bags in August and another eight in September. He’s a switch-hitter who saw both righties and lefties well, and smacked line drives at a 26% clip. When it was all said and done, Santana was worth 133 wRC+ in 2014, ranking second only to Hanley Ramirez among shortstops with at least 400 PA.

What does the future look like? Santana enjoyed a BABIP north of .400 in 2014. Some of that is the type of player he is (speed, liners, grounders), but it’s also fair to expect the number to regress. Both his walk and strikeout percentages were below average. If they don’t improve, it will be impossible to expect the same .300+ batting average and would in turn keep his steals and runs in check. He also never hit more than eight homers in the minor leagues, so power’s not his game and it’s hard to realistically project him for double-digit homers down the road. Now that we’ve got all the buzzkill realism behind us, he’s still a really nice player. Santana could easily end up in the top 12 again next year barring a sophomore slump. Steamer is projecting 72/7/51/24/.271 for 2015. I’m not one to argue with robots, but that projection is for a .326 BABIP, and I could see that number being a bit higher. Aside from homers, I think Santana will beat that projection in runs, steals, and average…especially if he can improve his approach as the Twins’ everyday leadoff hitter.

The possibility for 30 steals from middle infield without leaving us high and dry in power is valuable. The 23-year-old’s position flexibility and low price in most leagues makes him a legit keeper option.

 
  1. J-FOH says:
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    I agree with the BABIP remark, he’s pretty young. On the flip side that K-rate to BB-rate makes me a little yikes. That 2013 K rate at AA gives him some hope though in the long run. Just hope he doesn’t turn into Aybar. Another factor to consider is who is going to manage the Twins next year and how they choose to use him? It was pretty easy to predict Gardy, but now we are in the unknown. See Matt Williams this year

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      Good point on the manager. Obviously starting at short and leading off would be ideal for fantasy.

      Yes, that BABIP will end up being an outlier and those K/BB rates are woof, so to me it’s a question of do the approach and contact skills improve with age and experience…(I’m thinking/hoping the answer is yes)

      • J-FOH says:
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        @Mike: the minor league numbers aren’t screaming off the page, but worth a flyer for one of those guys that takes it another step when they get to the show. It’s like at my daughters soccer game yesterday when they let some of the full backs play forward and the other team couldn’t even get on our side of the field because those girls wouldn’t let them no matter how hard they tried. It was quite amusing and sad to waatch the other team get worked over by our “slower” less talented players because they stepped up their game with the opportunity.

        I hope people keep him in perspective and don’t go all Brad Miller on him because you might be able to get Aybar like 10-12 rounds later and have a better BA, less slumps, and slightly less counting stats while being able to grab a better piece where others draft Santana. There is one thing about a guy you grab from the FA pool and another about the cost of him on draft day. You feel me there?

        • Mike

          Mike says:
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          Yup. Don’t see him being kept in leagues that protect less than 10 players, and yes, with him it’s about the cost of acquiring him in 2014. Figure most leagues he was a FA pickup and therefore a 20th round or later keep. In auctions, he’s probably only costing a couple beans to protect.

          • J-FOH says:
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            @Mike: we can only hope peeps don’t spend too many beans. Now we should have more fun around here…boobs or butts? what’s your take?

            • Mike

              Mike says:
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              Yes

              • J-FOH says:
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                @Mike: yes both or yes let’s…ok I’m bored and a little lonely today

                • Mike

                  Mike says:
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                  Haha, and it’s only October 12th!…this is going to be fun when it’s the middle of December and I’m writing a keeper column on Keone Kela

                  • J-FOH says:
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                    @Mike: who?

                    *goes to fangraphs and looks him/her up*

                    not if they don’t bring that AA walk rate down

                    • Mike

                      Mike says:
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                      haha what’s fangraphs?

                  • J-FOH says:
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                    @Mike: are you drunk…oh that’s you making a joke. You play the straight man well

                    • Mike

                      Mike says:
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                      haha. Thanks! It’s because my avatar is permanently smiling!

                  • J-FOH says:
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                    @Mike: thats your idea of a smile?

                    • Mike

                      Mike says:
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                      totally smiling

  2. oldman says:
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    fart sound. i’m keeping him at $1! since we’re on the topic of potential value at ss next year: any chance they give LINDOR the starting job in cleveland next year? how do we feel about a bounceback from everth?

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      a buck for Danny sounds great!

      not feeling ECab outside of some SAGNOF.

      I’m liking Lindor to get the gig in Cleveland though. A lot of his hype has been about defense, but he’s no slouch with the bat either and has nice stolen base potential.

  3. Swfcdan says:
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    $0 Wong or Mookie (prospect – $0 next year) in a keeper?

    Man Wong looks like a stud….awesome power for a liddle guy.

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      love both…leaning Mookie though

      • Swfcdan says:
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        @Mike: Actually Kolten’s $6 in my league (did he play much last year?), so it’s a non-starter.

        Ok another keeper Q instead, asked Grey and was quite suprised by his answer. Fatt Adams, $0 going into the offseason for me so these are my options:

        1 year- $3
        2 years – $6
        3 years- $8
        Renewable year – $6

        Will probably need to platoon him with another decent 1B bat next year but it’s a daily so that is manageable. His powers come back this postseason, think 20 bombs should be easily within reach next year. Amazing he only hit 15 seeing the power he generates using his muscles I mean fats.

        • Mike

          Mike says:
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          he’s 26, so giving him the 3-year deal at $8 won’t kill you

          • Swfcdan says:
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            @Mike: Grey said one year, shows how opinions vary huh…

            As long as he consistently provides $15+ value for the next 3 years I think he’d be worth it. But 3 years is risky especially in a 10 teamer after his feeble year, so I think 2 might be wiser.

            Btw how did you spot these questions from a dead thread, you get an alert to your phone or something or you just a psychic? Ha

            • Mike

              Mike says:
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              cool. yeah split the difference I guess with 2 years

              Emails me when a comment is posted…I swear I’m not stalking the readers…

              • Swfcdan says:
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                @Mike: Yeah sounds good. Nah thanks man, we’re all grateful for the quick service. The more stalking the better! Haha

                Ok throw one at you now you know the league rules. Same team, $0 Yordano, how many years you throwing at him? He is a pitcher, but still I love the arm and paid a fair amount for him. Also only can have 8 keepers max per year (including existing deals), which does discourage long term deals.

                • Mike

                  Mike says:
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                  anytime…yeah, I’d go year-to-year with most arms, especially with only 8 protected

                  • Swfcdan says:
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                    @Mike: So just the 3 bucks, yeah might have to do that though im tempted to go 2 with a guy of his potential. My trade to get him was Paxton and Gausman for Yordano and Stephenson (prosp) halfway through the year. Still hopeful will work out in the longrun, not sold on Pax (health) but both outgoers are looking quite good now.

                    Just wondering do any keepers exist where you can keep up to a certain number each season NOT counting existing keepers? Would get kinda crazy I guess but I wondered if there are some out there.

                    • Mike

                      Mike says:
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                      not sure I follow, but I play in leagues where prospects don’t count against your keeper cap if that’s what you mean

  4. Sky

    Sky says:
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    Danny is definitely an odd case. I actually am ok with the K%. Would love to see it drop some but 22.8% isn’t a deal breaker with how aggressive he gets around on the ball (LD% at 26). Lots of doubles and triples. My main concern is Gardy, actually. I just don’t trust him and the development of young talent. Danny hitting around .280’ish makes sense to me without much improvement and a removal of the BABIP luck factor.

    Either way, nice work Mike!

    • Mike

      Mike says:
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      thanks!

    • Swfcdan says:
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      @Sky: Gardy’s gone now!

      • Sky

        Sky says:
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        woah, missed that move! Happened while in Vegas, was checked out clearly.

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