Buy ‘Em or Deny ‘Em: Is The Twins’ Danny Santana For Real?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

The Twins’ Danny Santana made a significant fantasy splash last season, tearing it up when on the field:

405 At Bats
.319 Batting Average (129 Hits)
7 Home Runs
40 RBI
70 Runs
20 Stolen Bases
.353 On Base Percentage
.472 Slugging Percentage
.405 Batting Average on Balls in Play

He’s going to regress, and the fall could be substantial and widespread across his stat line.

The BABIP obviously jumps off the page, even with a 26.0% line drive rate (which itself is easy to imagine regressing). Just keep in mind, since 2011 his minor league line drive rate was a minuscule 13.8%. He also was a career .273 hitter in the minors, including a .297 mark in 539 AB at Double-A.

No matter what metric or number you look at, including a 22.1% strikeout rate (18.1% in the minors since 2011), it’s simply impossible to buy into his average. He’s going to regress, and the fall could be substantial and widespread across his stat line.

He does have speed, but if he’s not on base how can he use it? It’s not like he draws a significant number of walks, at just 4.4% last season, which would help keep his OBP elevated.

He also isn’t going to be able to score as many runs, especially if the drop in average causes the Twins to either bump him out of the leadoff spot or to the bench all together. John Sickels of Minor League Ball summed Santana up best prior to last season saying:

“Speedy switch-hitter had solid Double-A campaign. Erratic but promising on defense, can swipe a base, needs to sharpen OBP ability to make it as a regular but could be a fine utility player with disruptive speed and valuable glove.”

It was true then and last season’s numbers shouldn’t change that. There was a lot of luck in his performance and fantasy owners shouldn’t be distracted by that.

The fact is he appears to have a lot of Emilio Bonifacio to his game (20.4% strikeout rate, 53.8% groundball rate) though with even fewer walks. As we all know Bonifacio is nothing more than a plug and play utility man and Santana needs to be viewed in a similar vein.

That’s not to say that there isn’t value, but chances are someone in your league is going to be willing to overpay based on the numbers. Don’t be that owner.

Sources – Fangraphs, Minor League Central, Baseball Reference, Minor League Ball

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