Domingo Santana is an intriguing fantasy prospect. He has many things to like but just as many to dislike. The risk here is large, but the upside is hard to miss.
In 52 MLB games last year, Santana hit 8 HRs, scored 20 Runs, drove in 26 runs, stole 4 bases and batted .238. Prorated over 150 games that would come out to 23 HR, 57 Runs, 75 RBI and 12 steals. The average isn’t good but the rest of the numbers aren’t bad at all. The power is real and his carrying tool but what hope is there for the other numbers.
Santana’s OBP in 2015 was .337, almost 100 points higher than his batting average. It’s much easier to stomach the low BA knowing that he at least gets on base and thus can produce a decent run total. The bad news is that Santana has a lot of swing and miss, with a K rate of 33.7% last year. 187 PAs isn’t a large sample size, but he’s had high K rates during his entire professional career and that is likely to continue. 52 games isn’t enough to draw conclusions on his BABIP, but .330 seems legitimate given his minor league career numbers.
Santana also puts the ball on the ground quite a bit with 51.5% GBs last year (typical average is in the mid-40s). Unfortunately this limits some of his BA upside. He’ll have to find a way to hit more line drives or run into some BABIP luck to ever get his average above .260.
Another issue in Santana’s profile is the 27.6 HR/FB% last year. That number is about double the league average and Santana doesn’t have the raw power to explain a number so high. This doesn’t mean that Santana is going to hit 10 HRs next year, but that we should temper expectations a bit. 30 HRs is probably a pipe dream but 20 should be attainable.
As you can see, Santana is a risky guy to own and it’s really hard to predict just what we’ll get. I think 25/10 with a .250 average season is just as likely as a 15/5 with a .230 average. However, besides the power there are some things to like about Santana in 2016.
The Brewers are not a great baseball team and as we know, Runs and RBI are heavily influenced by the team around the player. If Santana can somehow move into the four or five spot, he could reach 70 RBI. However, if he ends up 6th (where rosterresource is currently projecting him), his counting stats might suffer a bit. Chris Carter isn’t a great on base guy and Aaron Hill is a shell of his former self and wasn’t a great on base guy even in his prime. If Hill struggles, it could open the door for Santana to slide up in the lineup and would be a big boost to his RBI total.
Santana has been graded as about average speed by scouts but is considered a good athlete overall. He has only eclipsed 10 SBs in a season once so far but I don’t see why he can’t reach double digits over a full season. It’s hard to say just how Craig Counsell will treat the running game, but historically the Brewers haven’t been afraid to run.
Domingo Santana is a high variance fantasy option and this is a big boom or bust pick. Given his current rankings, he’s likely to go low enough in drafts where he would be worth the risk, in particular in keeper leagues. Steamer is giving Santana 19 HR, 57 R, 63 RBI, 6 SB, .249 AVG and .329 OBP. I’ll give Santana 21 HR, 65 R, 76 RBI, 11 SB, .252 AVG and .335 OBP.