Carlos Santana
Carlos Santana
32-Year-Old First Baseman1B
Cleveland Indians
2019 Fantasy Outlook
Santana's numbers were a disappointment for the Phillies, who signed him for three years and $60 million last winter. There are reasons to be encouraged by his season, however. His walk rate spiked to 16.2% while his strikeout rate fell to a career-low 13.7%, leaving him with a 1.18 BB/K, second in the league to Jose Ramirez. He ran into a lot of bad batted-ball luck, finishing with a .231 BABIP, which fell far below his career .265 mark. It's not outrageous to think he can get back close to the .259 batting average he posted for two straight years before coming to Philadelphia as long as he holds onto his plate discipline improvements. Age concerns can't be ignored, as Santana turns 33 in early April, but the trade back to the American League and into a likely DH role with the Indians should help keep him fresh. Read Past Outlooks
$Signed a three-year, $60 million contract with the Phillies in December of 2017. Traded to the Mariners in December of 2018. Traded to the Indians in December of 2018. Contract includes a $17.5 million team option for 2021.
Returns to Cleveland
1BCleveland Indians
December 13, 2018
Santana was traded from Seattle to Cleveland in exchange for Edwin Encarnacion on Thursday, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reports. The Indians also dealt Yandy Diaz and a player to be named later to Tampa Bay for Jake Bauers, per Marc Topkin of The Tampa Bay Times.
Santana was recently dealt to Seattle last week after spending the past season in Philadelphia. The first baseman hit just .229/.352/.414 with 24 home runs and 86 RBI in 161 games for the Phillies, and like the rest of the team, struggled down the final stretch in September. Prior to his brief stint in Philadelphia, Santana had played his entire career in Cleveland. Outside of a dip in batting average and slugging percentage, there were some inspiring signs from Santana's 2018 campaign, including a career-best 13.7 percent strikeout rate and 16.2 percent walk rate, which was his highest since 2015. Look for Santana to see some time alongside Yonder Alonso at first base to go along with a primary role as the Indians' designated hitter, though Bauers figures to be in the mix at both positions, and in the outfield as well.
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Batting Stats
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Left/Right Batting Splits
Since 2016
Since 2016vs Left .777 626 74 21 78 1 .259 .351 .426
Since 2016vs Right .835 1408 187 60 174 11 .245 .364 .471
2018vs Left .816 176 26 8 30 0 .255 .352 .464
2018vs Right .747 503 56 16 56 2 .219 .352 .396
2017vs Left .777 254 30 9 29 1 .255 .354 .423
2017vs Right .844 413 60 14 50 4 .262 .368 .476
2016vs Left .742 196 18 4 19 0 .267 .347 .395
2016vs Right .915 492 71 30 68 5 .256 .374 .541
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Home/Away Batting Splits
Since 2016
OPS at Home
OPS at Home
OPS on Road
OPS at Home
Since 2016Home .832 990 140 44 132 8 .253 .364 .468
Since 2016Away .803 1044 121 37 120 4 .245 .357 .445
2018Home .860 329 51 13 48 1 .266 .392 .468
2018Away .679 350 31 11 38 1 .195 .314 .365
2017Home .747 313 38 11 36 3 .236 .323 .424
2017Away .883 354 52 12 43 2 .281 .398 .485
2016Home .884 348 51 20 48 4 .259 .374 .510
2016Away .845 340 38 14 39 1 .260 .359 .486
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Stat Review
How does Carlos Santana compare to other hitters?
This section compares his stats with all batting seasons from the previous three seasons (minimum 400 plate appearances). The bar represents the player's percentile rank. For example, if the bar is halfway across, then the player falls into the 50th percentile for that stat and it would be considered average.
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Indians Depth Chart
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
For the sixth time in the last seven seasons, including the last five in a row, the durable Santana played in at least 152 games. As usual, Santana's calling card was patience, as he walked 13.2 percent of the time, which was surprisingly a career-low mark. However, he made up for it with an uptick in contact rate. Coming off a season where Santana slugged 34 homers, 23 is a bit disappointing, but that mark was in line with totals previous to his outlying 2016 campaign. Santana swatted 37 doubles, his second-highest total ever, so he was just a few timely breezes away from a few extra homers. Santana's skill set allows him to lead off, or bat in the heart of the order, but he'll likely serve in the latter capacity after signing a three-year deal with the Phillies in December. He's better in OBP and points leagues scoring walks, and while Santana's upside is limited, his floor and durability allow you to take some chances elsewhere on your roster.
Santana set career highs in homers, runs, and RBI while tipping his batting average over the league average for the first time in three seasons. His days of playing up the defensive spectrum are done, but he returned to hitting with the power fantasy owners like to see from first basemen. His RBI production dipped as he spent most of his time hitting leadoff, thanks to his abilities to work counts and accept walks (.365 career OBP). Those skills are always going to ensure he hits in the top half of the lineup, and he has been durable, racking up six consecutive seasons of 600 or more plate appearances. While a switch hitter, the power comes from the left side, as 30 of his 34 homers last year were as a lefty and 77 percent of his career homers are as a lefty. As long as prospective owners realize his potential pitfalls -- mainly a batting average that could be on the wrong side of .250 -- he'll deliver, even more so in OBP leagues.
Santana is never going to bat for a high average, having hit above .260 in just one of his five full seasons in the big leagues, but the plate skills remain steady. He matched his career-high with 85 RBI and managed to score 72 runs by drawing 108 walks. Unfortunately, the power dipped in 2015, well below the league average among qualifiers. In fact, his career-worst .395 slugging percentage was bested by the likes of Kevin Pillar, Francisco Cervelli and Marcus Semien, to name a few. The Indians were hopeful that the transition from behind the plate and the hot corner would help resurrect his bat but that hasn't been the case, and what's left is a declining player who is now just first-base eligible. Regardless, Santana still has two years left on a club-friendly five-year, $21 million deal, and appears likely to open 2016 as the everyday first baseman.
Santana was looking like one of the bigger fantasy busts after the first two months of the season, as he hit just .159/.327/.301 and suffered a concussion late in May that sent him to the 7-day DL. The Indians did away with his limited role behind the plate following the scare and also put an end to his audition at third base, having him instead focus primarily on improving at the dish, and indeed he did improve, hitting .310 (54-for-174) with 14 homers in June and July. Although the power numbers and batting average slipped in August and September (.225 average, seven homers), Santana matched his career-high with 27 homers in 2014 and set a new career high with 85 RBI, while leading the major leagues with 113 walks and maintaining a strikeout rate (18.8%) right around his career norm (18.0%). His BABIP was down at .249, suggesting the average will rebound in 2014, and he made enough appearances at third base (26) to earn eligibility in most leagues. He'll lose catcher eligibility in many formats, however, after making just 11 appearances at the position.
Santana's gradual move from behind the plate was accelerated with the development of Yan Gomes, but he still figures to see enough action behind the plate to qualify in most formats for at least a few more years. The power he flashed back in 2011 may have been his peak, but he's still driving in and scoring runs at a nice clip for a catcher thanks to his hold on a place in the heart of the Cleveland lineup. Santana was reportedly unhappy about yielding a significant share of time behind the plate, but the move should help him avoid the bumps and bruises that tend to mount with heavy use at the position, while also boosting his offensive numbers. Look for his playing time to come in the form of a rotation between catcher, first base and DH again in 2014.
Santana had a fine season, but it wasn't quite the encore performance many were expecting after his 2011 season. He was dreadful in the first half (.675 OPS, five homers) before rebounding in the second half (.887 OPS, 13 homers) to help salvage his season. The Indians may try to get him out from behind the plate more often, but he'll still spend most of his time as the team's starting catcher. He'll continue to offer plus-power from the behind the dish, and Santana is certainly capable of delivering two halves in line with the post-break numbers of a year ago.
Santana had his share of struggles in his first full year in the bigs, hitting just .239. The power and patience remained, as evidenced by his 35 doubles, 27 homers and 97 walks in 658 plate appearances. The Indians did a nice job of splitting his duties between catcher and first base and that trend should continue again this season. He still does a fine enough job behind the plate to avoid moving over to first base on a permanent basis, and the power and patience point to a breakout season despite last year's disappointing batting average.
Santana bludgeoned his way to a promotion in June (1.045 OPS at Triple-A) and then saw his rookie season come to an abrupt end with a season-ending knee injury in early August. He hit .260 with six homers and drew a remarkable 37 walks over 150 at-bats for the Indians. He'll give you plus-power for a catcher and an excellent OBP as the Indians' primary backstop and all signs point to him being completely healed by spring training. There's a good chance his injury will lead you to a discount on draft day, so be ready to invest for Year 2.
Santana had a monster season at Double-A Akron, hitting .290/.413/.530 with 30 doubles and 23 homers and earning the Eastern League MVP award. The switch hitter has power to all fields, an excellent batting eye and a solid contact rate for a player with his power (283 K in 1925 plate appearances in his minor league career). He's shown enough behind the plate to avoid any talk of shifting him over to first base, but his bat is good enough to play there as well. Lou Marson, Wyatt Toregas and Chris Gimenez will keep the position warm to start the season, but Santana will be the team's primary catcher at some point this season.
Santana exploded onto the prospect radar with a .326/.431/.568 season between High-A stops for Los Angeles and Cleveland after coming over to the Indians in the Casey Blake trade. He's got plus-power (21 homers and 39 doubles), an excellent batting eye (89 walks in 463 at-bats) and an adequate defensive reputation. We'll see how he fares at Double-A this season but so far the results are good. He should be on everyone's prospect radar by now.
More Fantasy News
Headed to Seattle
1BSeattle Mariners
December 3, 2018
The Mariners agreed in principle Monday to acquire Santana from the Phillies, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports.
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Homers, doubles in losing effort
1BPhiladelphia Phillies
September 27, 2018
Santana went 2-for-4 with a home run, a double and two RBI in Thursday's loss against the Rockies.
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Hitting streak reaches 11
1BPhiladelphia Phillies
September 10, 2018
Santana went 1-for-4 with a walk and a solo homer in Sunday's loss to the Mets.
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Smacks leadoff homer
1BPhiladelphia Phillies
September 5, 2018
Santana went 2-for-5 with a walk, a homer, two runs and two RBI in Tuesday's victory over the Marlins.
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Blasts grand slam in win over Nats
1BPhiladelphia Phillies
August 30, 2018
Santana went 2-for-4 with a grand slam and two runs scored in Wednesday's 8-6 win over the Nationals.
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