Santana is out of the lineup for the first time Wednesday against the Braves. Santana was the last remaining Phillie to have started every game. His batting line through 73 plate appearances has been objectively terrible, as he's hit .136/.260/.288. He's been hitting the ball hard, though, but the ball is going directly to fielders, as evidenced by his .125 BABIP. If he keeps performing the same way, his numbers are bound to improve. Rhys Hoskins will receive a rare start in his natural position of first base in Santana's absence.
Santana is in the 98th percentile in hard-hit rate despite an ugly .150/.245/.375 slash line through his first 49 plate appearances, MLB.com reports. Santana's slow start can be attributed to a .118 BABIP. Sometimes, a drop in BABIP can be caused by a decline in skills, leading to a hitter making weaker contact or popping the ball up more often. That's not the case for Santana, who is hitting the ball extremely hard. Unfortunately, he's been hitting the ball right at fielders, as he leads all of baseball in hard-hit outs with 16. Only one other hitter has more than 12. His other secondary statistics universally point to a turnaround, as his groundball rate of 27.8 percent is far below his 42.2 percent career average, while his 14.3 percent strikeout rate and 12.2 percent walk rate are right in line with the numbers he's posted over the past two seasons. Santana's owners certainly won't be happy with the numbers he's posted so far, but ultimately there's nothing going on here other than a lesson in small sample sizes. Expect a turnaround if he keeps crushing the ball like he has been so far.
Santana went 2-for-4 with a home run, three RBI and two runs scored Saturday against the Marlins. Santana has only five hits in his first 26 at-bats as a member of the Phillies, but he has made them count with four being for extra bases. He has continued to walk -- his signature skill beside hitting for power -- so there isn't reason to have major concern about his sluggish start.
Santana went 1-for-3 with a solo home run, a walk and three RBI to help the Phillies to a 5-4 extra-inning victory over the Braves on Friday. Santana bagged his first home run for his new team with a game-tying solo shot in the fifth inning. He sports only a .249 career batting average. but the veteran is still a useful fantasy asset. He's never had an on-base percentage lower than .351 in his career and has walked at least 88 times in each of the last seven seasons. While that certainly means Santana is most valuable in leagues with an OBP category, his 20-plus home run power and abilities as a run producer mean he figures to remain a steady option in other formats as well.
Santana has officially declined the Indians' qualifying offer prior to Thursday's deadline, Jordan Bastian of MLB.com reports. Santana will now head to free agency, with Cleveland receiving draft-pick compensation should he decide to sign elsewhere. The 31-year-old is coming off another steady year of production, hitting .259/.363/.455 with 23 homers, 79 RBI and 90 runs scored in 154 games for the Indians.
|vs RAY (CAREER)||0/0||---||0||0||0||0||0|