Jump to content

Providing independent coverage of the Minnesota Twins.
Subscribe to Twins Daily Email

The Forums

Article: From The Handbook: Free Agent Starters

Minnesota Twins Talk Today, 01:03 AM
This year's Twins Daily Offseason Handbook included profiles of 22(!) free agent starting pitchers that the Twins could pursue. Below are...
Full topic ›

40 Man Roster prior to Rule 5 Draft Deadline

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 11:58 PM
Here's my take on the 40-man roster, blueprint, rankings or whatever you want to call it   This leaves room for a Rule 5 pickup if t...
Full topic ›

Article: Three Bagger: Darvish, Marte & Otani

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 11:00 PM
Even though it is the offseason, the Twins have been making news. Last week, Byron Buxton and Brian Dozier were honored for their outstan...
Full topic ›

Article: Miguel Sano And The Dread Of 'What If'

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 10:27 PM
It can be hard not to get caught up in 'what ifs,' especially if you're a Minnesota Twins fan.What if Joe Mauer didn't shred up his knee...
Full topic ›

Article: The Lost Ones

Minnesota Twins Talk Yesterday, 10:27 PM
Trying to pretend like your word is your bondBut until you do right, all you do will go wrongNow some might mistake this just for simple...
Full topic ›

Recent Blogs


Danny Santana: Shortstop Of The Future?

Shortstop appears to be the weakest position in the Twins organization. Danny Santana is the closest legitimate SS prospect to the majors. But with a .691 OPS this season and 29 errors already (Alexei Ramirez leads all shortstops with 21), does Santana have a legitimate chance to be a franchise shortstop? A closer look gives reasons for optimism.[PRBREAK][/PRBREAK]
Hitting
Here are Santana’s numbers the last 3 seasons:

[TABLE="width: 433"]

Year
PA
Level
BB%
K%
BB/K
ISO
OPS


2011
409
A
6.1
24
0.26
0.126
0.676


2012
547
A+
5.3
14.1
0.38
0.124
0.739


2013
446
AA
3.9
16.3
0.24
0.086
0.691

[/TABLE]

Santana took a huge step forward in 2012, dropping his K rate significantly (leading to a jump in his BB/K ratio) which allowed him to increase his OPS by 60 points and raise his average from .249 to .286. He also maintained solid power for a SS despite moving to the Florida State League.

Attached Image: nh-a10-danny-santana-front.jpg
However, Santana has regressed this season. He has kept his Ks down, allowing him to maintain his .286 batting average, but his walks have dropped to a minuscule level and his power has disappeared. As a result, his BB/K ratio and OPS have returned to 2011 levels.

That being said, Santana has progressed throughout the season, increasing his walks each month (2 in April, 3 in May, 4 in June, 9 in July). In fact, his 9 walks so far in July are equal to the amount as he had in the first 3 seasons of the month combined. It turns out that Santana is no stranger to mid-season improvements in the month of July. Check out these splits:

[TABLE="width: 395"]

Split
PA
Level
BB%
K%
BB/K


April-June 2011
258
A
5.0%
22.5%
0.224


Post- July 2011
151
A
7.9%
19.9%
0.400


April-June 2012
299
A+
4.7%
16.7%
0.280


Post-July 2012
250
A+
6.0%
11.2%
0.536


April-June 2013
335
AA
2.7%
15.2%
0.176


Post-July 2013
166
AA
6.0%
18.1%
0.300

[/TABLE]

This is rather astonishing. In each of the past 3 seasons, Santana has made a significant improvement in his BB/K ratio starting in July. While his month of July might prove to be an aberration, due to this pattern the past 2 seasons I think it represents a legitimate progression in his plate discipline. If that is the case, 2012 could actually represent a step forward for Santana and he should be ready for AAA at the start of next season.

Basestealing

Danny Santana has great speed, but he has always struggled stealing bases. In fact, between 2010 and 2012, Santana never posted as SB% higher than 65%, and it dropped every year. However, Santana has made a big step forward in his basestealing this season:

[TABLE="width: 256"]

Year
SB
CS
SB%


2010
15
8
65%


2011
24
15
62%


2012
17
11
61%


2013
23
9
72%

[/TABLE]

So when did Santana turn a corner stealing bases? The answer, ironically, appears to be during July of 2012. Take a look:

[TABLE="width: 335"]

Split
SB
CS
SB%
SB/162G


2011
24
15
62%
37


April-June 2012
9
7
56%
21


Post-July 2012
8
3
73%
24


2013
23
9
72%
33


July 2012-present
31
12
72%
30

[/TABLE]

Over the past year or so, Santana has looked like a 30SB 70+% guy. Over the past 3 years, just 8 SS have done that even once. And in case you’re wondering, Santana has continued that “every year I improve in July thing”: 9-10 SB in 24 games (68SB/162G).

Fielding

However, defense might be the most important factor for Santana going forward; as jdotmcmahon pointed out a few days ago, great defense alone has made Florimon a valuable player (http://twinsdaily.co....Pedro-Florimon). Santana has the speed and arm necessary to play short, but he has always been error prone:

[TABLE="width: 172"]

Year
G
E
FLD%


2011
78
27
0.924


2012
85
18
0.95


2013
107
29
0.944

[/TABLE]

Errors and fielding percentage don’t tell the whole story, but it’s the best we have for minor league players. And as it turns out, Santana’s best fielding percentage of 95% would make him the worst shortstop in all of baseball. To make matters worse, Santana’s fielding percentage has dropped this season so much so that many are questioning whether or not he can stick at short.

However, Santana’s poor fielding numbers this season are the result of a dreadful start to the year:

[TABLE="width: 152"]

Split
E
FLD%


Games 1-43
17
0.919


Games 44-107
12
0.961

[/TABLE]

Disclaimer: the FLD% is based off of Santana season’s average of 4.86 chances per game.

If we look at the Santana’s past 53 games (which accounts for 57% of his games at SS), he has improved his FLD% from last year’s .950 to .961. Once again, a step in the right direction.

More importantly, Santana was recently named by Baseball America as the best defensive shortstop in AA. Many people on Twins Daily, including myself, have doubted whether or not he deserved such recognition. However, what we should take away from this is that BA believes Santana should be able to stick at shortstop in the majors. This praise, combined with Santana’s improving fielding percentage, makes me optimistic that he can be an above-average defensive shortstop.

Conclusion

Santana’s low K-rate should allow him to consistently hit in the .280-.285 range, which, combined with his basestealing, would be great for a SS. However, due to his lack of power (which has taken a turn for the worse this season), Santana will have to draw walks in order to post a quality OPS. He has increased his BB-rate during the second half of each of the last three seasons. If he can translate that success to the start of next year and continue to build on it, Santana could establish himself as a solid hitting SS at the major league level.

Although Santana’s season numbers for 2013 are discouraging, he has shown signs of progression. Combined with Santana’s history of mid-season improvement, there is reason for optimism. If Santana can continue to progress as a hitter, fielder, and basestealer, he should be ready for AAA come next April, and might be starting on Opening Day in 2015, when he’ll be 24 years old all year. That will give Santana the chance to establish himself as the Twins’ regular shortstop, although several other prospects could come nipping at his heels in the near future (Goodrum, Polanco, Levi Michael, Mejia, and a potential 2014 1st round pick).


  • Share:
  • submit to reddit
Subscribe to Twins Daily Email

Subscribe to Twins Daily Email

0 Comments