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Santana's Season

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#1 stringer bell

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Posted 15 September 2014 - 04:33 AM

Danny Santana was called up because the Twins were just about out of choices for position players.He didn't play every day at first, but did start to hit right away.He hit enough to stay, then to play every day as the leadoff hitter and now almost certainly will make the Twins as their leadoff hitter in 2015.

 

Santana is hitting .316 with an OPS of .822, fine numbers.Looking more deeply at his splits, he has hit better as a lefty (.851 OPS), hit well in almost every situation, and shown enough pop and speed to excite the fan base.

 

If there are concerns, they would be about contact and BB/K ratio.Danny has struck out 78 times in slightly over half a season's at bat.He has drawn only 17 walks.I don't have his BABIP at my fingertips, but it has to be pretty high, which is fitting for a switch hitter with excellent speed, but he would probably be categorized as "lucky" in his young career.As mentioned previously, Santana has an OPS about 100 points higher as a left handed hitter.His OPS from the right side is a still-very-acceptable .752.He joins Kennys Vargas as a Twins switch hitter who fares better against right-handed pitching. 

 

Santana is 23 and has put up a very fine rookie season.What is his major league future and will he be the Twins regular shortstop for years to come?

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#2 Kirby_waved_at_me

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Posted 15 September 2014 - 08:31 AM

I think the Twins 2015 Spring Training will have to resolve a couple items in particular regarding Santana: 

 

1. Who will be the opening day starter in CF?

2. If Santana is not the starting CF, do they hand him the reins at SS?

 

Bonus 3rd item: if Santana gets the gig at SS, do the Twins retain both Eduardos, or will one be traded/released?


#3 gunnarthor

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Posted 15 September 2014 - 09:34 AM

Yeah, babip (about .391) has helped him a lot - if his babip was .300 (and not changing anything else), his avg would be about .228.  

 

I'm not quite sure what the Twins have in Santana.  Part of this reminds me of the Span discussions we had in 07/08.  Span came out of nowhere and was pretty darn good.  His babip was over .340 for his first two years.  But Span also had some pretty good bb/k ratios.  Santana has never shown that skill and will always be reliant on high babip.

 

Santana's not a complete nobody.  While he wasn't a top 10 Twins prospect (EDIT: actually, he might have made the backend of a few top 10 lists), he was occasionally mentioned by professional scouting guys as a potential sleeper.  Mayo wrote this about Santana in his 2013 write up: "2012 might be the year the Twins look back and say was when Santana became legit. Santana moved slowly through the system, including parts of two seasons with Beloit in the Midwest League, before advancing up to Fort Myers in 2012. He's played all over the field and looked a bit like an organizational filler type, but really took off, settled in as a regular shortstop and finished second in the organization in hits. Santana has the chance to be a solid Major League hitter, one who has a line-drive swing from both sides of the plate. There's some extra-base pop to come as well, though power isn't likely to be a huge part of his game. His speed and his defense will be, however. A plus runner, he's still learning how to use that to his advantage on the basepaths and it helps give him outstanding range. He has great hands and a plus arm, giving him every opportunity to be an everyday shortstop at the big league level."

 

Obviously, he's earned his chance to get an extended run as a starter and I think he'll get another 500+ AB next year between CF and short.  He's on pace this year for about 5 WAR over a full year, (if you like WAR), so even if he comes back to earth, he has some room.  

Edited by gunnarthor, 15 September 2014 - 09:35 AM.

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#4 TheLeviathan

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Posted 15 September 2014 - 09:47 AM

The kid needs to be at SS to start next year and we need to have Escobar waiting behind him.  Those two are both glaring regression candidates, but we have to hope one of them at least plays close to as well as they have this year.

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#5 Oldgoat_MN

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Posted 15 September 2014 - 10:23 AM

The kid needs to be at SS to start next year and we need to have Escobar waiting behind him.  Those two are both glaring regression candidates, but we have to hope one of them at least plays close to as well as they have this year.

 

Fair enough, so we don't really know what we have yet.

 

Santana NEVER posted an OPS of .800 or greater in the minor leagues.

For that matter, Kennys Vargas didn't hit .285 or better in 2013 or his time in MiLB in 2014, but he's doing it now.

 

I have some optimism regarding Escobar. He made huge strides in AAA last year.

Maybe Bruno has something to do with it. I sure hope so.

 

We can certainly hope that the numbers these young men are putting up are for real. We cannot know for a year or so.

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#6 Linus

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Posted 15 September 2014 - 10:42 AM

I am a fan of Escobar and he was solid on both sides of the ball this year.However, given the potential upside to Santana, its worth it to let him play short and see if we have something special here.Knowing Escobar is waiting in the wings if Santana fails leaves the Twins in a pretty good position for the next couple of years.I also like the idea of keeping Nunez - he swings the bat pretty well and plays acceptable defense at several different positions.

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#7 spycake

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Posted 15 September 2014 - 12:43 PM

I'm not quite sure what the Twins have in Santana.  Part of this reminds me of the Span discussions we had in 07/08.  Span came out of nowhere and was pretty darn good.  His babip was over .340 for his first two years.  But Span also had some pretty good bb/k ratios.  Santana has never shown that skill and will always be reliant on high babip.

Great comp.

 

It turned out Span wasn't as good as his first 2 years, but he is still a pretty solid MLB player -- mostly because he provides acceptable offense and strong defense up the middle.

 

We should probably afford Santana the opportunity to do the same -- either give him CF or SS full-time to try establishing some defensive bonafides.And we should be prepared to weather some more pedestrian offensive performances too (not just fan expectations, but also team planning -- let's not consider the top of our order rock-solid, even if we like Santana-Dozier-Mauer at the moment).

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#8 ScrapTheNickname

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Posted 15 September 2014 - 01:20 PM

The kid needs to be at SS to start next year and we need to have Escobar waiting behind him.  Those two are both glaring regression candidates, but we have to hope one of them at least plays close to as well as they have this year.

From the limited amount of time I've seen him play at SS, he doesn't seem like he has the soft hands for it.

 

It's a feeling. It's a hunch. But perhaps Santana hasn't been penciled at SS yet because they don't know if he can handle it.

 

With that said, we need to see more of him there to know. (of course, one assumes that the coaches already have seen him plenty, and know more than we do.)

Edited by ScrapTheNickname, 15 September 2014 - 01:21 PM.


#9 DocBauer

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Posted 15 September 2014 - 07:44 PM

Great post Stringer! And I think I literally "liked" every post here.

The biggest problem here is very simple. We just don't know what we have for sure in Santana. Not yet.

When the Twins surprisingly promoted him, I felt it was a brief look-see, (despite talent, potential and positive things spoken by the coaching staff), and he'd be back down at Rochester in two weeks. But, as we all know, a funny thing happened on the way to the Forum; the kid showed he could play! The kid hit, hit some more, and kept hitting, even though he was thrust in to a position he had barely played, and had the pressure of hitting at the top of the order, not buried in the 9 hole. We kept waiting for the bubble to burst, but it never did.

Then he hit the DL, and I felt the glass slipper would surely fall off, and probably shatter when it did. (If you prefer stagecoach back to pumpkin, go for it). Except, after a couple games to get back in the groove, all he did was continue to hit and produce! At this point, even being a rookie, aren't we beyond the SSS point?

I object to references to milb OPS numbers as a comparison. Why? They can be a guideline sure, but milb numbers are just that, milb numbers for a talented young athlete STILL DEVELOPING. What separates a talented, athletic prospect from a quality ML producer? I don't know. I don't know if anyone can quantify it. But at some point, there is a sort of lightbulb that either switches on, or it doesn't. In Santana's case, it seems that 2014 was the time when his 100 watt switched on.

I understand possible regression. I understand balls batted in play. And I understand his lack of walks that we'd all like to see rise. And there may be some ultimate balance struck here. But the thing that impresses me most about Santana is NOT his BA. It's his approach. There is no fear in him, or his approach at the plate. I'd love to find a stat that shows how many pitches he sees per AB because he seems to do a tremendous job of battling at the plate.

I love Escobar, and I don't think he should be dismissed or taken lightly. I also really like Nunez as a nice role player. But when you look at offense and defensive potential, you HAVE to give Santana the first shot at SS don't you?

We may have to live with a player who is less consistent than Escobar, but has better range, athleticism, and probably a better arm with even better offense. Unless he just botches a bunch of plays at SS, with great love for Escobar, don't you have to roll with Santana as your primary SS and let him grow in to the position?
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#10 Physics Guy

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Posted 15 September 2014 - 10:28 PM

Santana has the stronger track record in the minors, is performing better and at a younger age.I think he has very quick hands, but needs to play SS the rest of the way to help build consistency.He will not be as steady as Esco at first, but I suspect he makes more "tough plays" than Esco.I saw nice hands and a strong arm by Santana on two DP's in the middle of the game tonight.Consistency is what makes Escobar a strong utility IF.The fact that he can hit a little is gravy. 

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#11 Linus

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Posted 16 September 2014 - 07:41 PM

Well, at this point I think he is the Twins MVP. He has been one of if not the best offensive players and basically saved their bacon by handling Centerfield adequately having never played their before.

#12 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 17 September 2014 - 05:56 AM

He needs to play short in my opinion. From what I have read, he's pretty raw there, so I wouldn't be terribly surprised if he had to spend some time in AAA to work on his defense. That said, he's certainly earned a chance to play every day and has shown enough promise that I'd have to think he's now in the longer term plans.



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