Cleveland Indians: The Return of Carlos Santana

Evan Vogel@EvanVogelTweetsContributor IIIJuly 19, 2012

TORONTO, CANADA - JULY 15: Carlos Santana #41 of the Cleveland Indians yells out to his pitcher during MLB game action against the Toronto Blue Jays on July 15, 2012 at Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

We stand here today six games into the second half of the 2012 MLB season. The Cleveland Indians have finally got their star catcher back. Carlos Santana has officially arrived for the Tribe.

Hitting .278/.500/.444 in 18 at-bats to start the second half of the season is all that I need to make this bold statement. Why? Because a few days to clear his head over the All-Star break allowed Santana to look in the mirror and realize that he is better than his .221/.339/.336 first half.

For all of the bashing that Carlos Santana can take due to his low batting averages, the man is quite capable at the plate. Despite his .221 average in the first half, he still walked 46 times, maintaining the patient approach that could lead to a monstrous second half outburst.

While Cleveland Indians fans clamor for more power from the lineup, Santana is the player who can provide it. While he only has one home run in six games in the second half, Santana did rip 27 home runs in 2011. This is my bold prediction for the second half of the 2012 season for Santana:

.275/.380/.540, 15 doubles, 1 triple, 11 home runs, 38 RBI, 45:38 K:BB

The power returns and the ability to get on base keeps Santana on his journey to become one of the top three catchers in MLB. With a BABIP of just .276, and .268 for his career, Santana is bound to put the ball in play where fielders are not around.

The biggest upgrade that the Cleveland Indians can make in 2012 is to make sure that Carlos Santana remains in their lineup every single game. If that means that he is at first base or DH more often, so be it. Last season, Santana caught 59 percent of games played and that is up to 76 percent in 2012. Maybe his struggles were due to fatigue early in the year, and the concussion issue did not help things.

Regardless, the time for Santana to rebound is now, and if his early second half production says anything, it is that the slugger is going to have a monster second half.