The Phillies signing Carlos Santana caught many people by surprise. They seemingly had first base locked down with Rhys Hoskins‘ emergence at the end of 2017. This forced Hoskins to move back to left field and Aaron Altherr and Nick Williams into a competition for right field. However, the team praised his combination of on-base ability and power, expecting him to become a core piece of the lineup.
Santana has been a mixed bag of results this year. He has a 16.1% walk rate and 101 walks total, both of which are fourth in MLB. He is the first Phillie with 100 or more walks in a year since Pat Burrell in 2008. Among Phillies with 100 or more plate appearances, Santana’s .354 on-base percentage is third-best. His 23 home runs and 107 OPS+ are second-best to Hoskins.
Despite these numbers, Santana draws criticism for one number: his .231 batting average. Anytime you mention him on Twitter, you will surely get someone who says either he was paid to hit/drive in runs and/or to stop using so much analytics since he is making $20 million a year. This is despite the fact that he is second to Hoskins in RBI and his batting average on balls in play is 31 points below his career average.
Is this Santana’s best season? Not by a long shot, so that is why I gave him a C+. With that being said, he is still a productive player and should bounce back next year, whether or not that is with the Phillies.