2020 season age: 27 – Throws: Right – Bats: Right- Contract: – $1.5 million (2021 option)
2019 in review: Through the first half of 2019 Domingo Santana was running a .286/.354/.496 line with 18 homers, 19 doubles and a 127 wRC+. Right after the all star break he had an MRI on his right elbow that was nagging him and he wound up playing 31 second half games, and not well. He hit .128/.234/.234 that ended up dragging his overall line down to .253/.329/.441 with 21 homers and a 107 wRC+. Santana did post an overall 119 wRC+ line at home in pitcher friendly T-Mobile Ballpark (formerly Safeco Field).
Beyond the stats: The injury Santana suffered last year derailed a bounceback season after a down 2018 for him. In 2107 he was in the 83rd percentile in exit velocity and 76th percentile in hard hit rate. In 2017 through 2019 Santana has averaged 89.0 in exit velocity with a hard hit % of 39% or above. His barrel rate last year was 12.5%, which put him at 33rd overall among qualified batters around sluggers like Max Muncy, Freddie Freeman, Austin Meadows, Marcell Ozuna and Edwin Encarnacion. When healthy Santana hits the ball hard when he makes contact.
Offensive impact: As noted above, Santana’s carrying skill is his bat. He does carry at 32% strikeout rate but also a career 112 wRC+ mark. He hits left handers a little better (119 wRC+) than right handers (109) but is overall a powerful force who can make enough contact to be impactful offensively. When he’s not striking out he is hitting the ball hard and far. He’s a station to station player, but you’re hoping to extra base hits out of his at bats more often than not.
Defensive impact: Ideally, Santana is a DH. In 2018 with the Brewers he did have +5 defensive runs saved in right field and overall had a 10 UZR/150. Beyond that sample his defensive ratings have all been poor. He’s in the 46th percentile in sprint speed, so it’s not as if he’s extremely slow. If the Indians can find what made him grade out as a good right fielder in 2018, they could extract a ton of value from Santana. But that could also be helpful by making him DH half of his games played, if not more But the Indians did not sign him for his glove by any means.
2020 role: Santana will either play RF (and probably some LF) and DH half the time, splitting with Franmil Reyes. He’ll hit in the middle to back half of the other and provide some home run power and hopefully bring a good floor to an otherwise very unstable outfield. He does have a good hitting track, so if the Indians can get him into 100 or more games (depending on how many games are played in the MLB this year – you can tell by when I’m writing this when it came into play) he should still provide a ton of value.
Fantasy impact: Santana is marginally rosterable. He’s not someone you’d target early, but he’s a good bench option to rotate in with some power on your bench. Take a late flier on him in deeper mixed leagues and see how the power plays. Homers are easy to buy right now if the happy fun ball stays in play when the league starts up again. So if you’re in need of some cheap power, Santana should be your guy, but again, he’s a roster filler with power, not someone you’d actively look to draft as a full time starter.