Does Domingo Santana’s Strong Finish Mean Bigger Things For 2017?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

We’ve long heard about the potential upside of Domingo Santana, but we finally got a glimpse of it in September as he finished with a flourish:

.289 (28-97), 7 HR, 17 RBI, 12 R, 2 SB

The question now is if he can maintain those types of numbers, or if this was nothing more than a small hot stretch.  We obviously want to believe that it’s the former, but unfortunately everything points to this being nothing more than an unsustainable hot streak.  While there is no arguing his potential, there are issues that a few shiny numbers can’t cover up.

Even while he was going well he posted a 29.5% strikeout rate courtesy of a 12.8% SwStr%.  He was particularly prone to offspeed pitches, with a gaudy 31.67% Whiff%.  It’s a surprise that he only saw them 16.09% of the time during the month, something that will surely change (for the season he hit .184 with 1 HR against changeups).

Why throw him anything hard, when he can’t make contact against offspeed pitches?

You also have to question if he can come reasonably close to maintaining that type of power, with a 29.2% HR/FB.  Sure he’s shown some power coming up through the minors (18 HR in 354 AB at Triple-A in ’15), but this seems a bit extreme.  Could he hit 25+ HR in a season?  Perhaps, but you generally need to make contact to get there.  That’s hardly a given, and since he’s not a Chris Carter type slugger there’s reason to be concern.

Then you have the speed, which is there, but can you steal a slew of bases as a high strikeout/high power player?  The answer is not likely.

He’s looking more and more like a potential Drew Stubbs-like producer (he’s had a 20/30 season and stolen as many as 40 bases), though that’s a best case scenario and necessitates playing time (something Santana isn’t even guaranteed).  Chances are he falls far short of those numbers, making him a player who carries far more risk than reward.

Sources – Fangraphs, MILB.com, Brooks Baseball

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