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MLB Fantasy League 2011: Is Carlos Santana Excelling for Fantasy Owners?

ARLINGTON, TX - JULY 05:  Catcher Carlos Santana #41 of the Cleveland Indians on July 5, 2010 at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Eric StashinSenior Writer IMay 9, 2011

The 2011 season was supposed to be Carlos Santana’s coming out party. 

After an injury cut his rookie campaign short, Santana was going to fully burst onto the scene and entrench himself among the elite catchers in the game.

Unfortunately, sometimes what is supposed to happen doesn’t always take place.

Is that the case here? Should we be comparing him to other high profile failures (Matt Wieters anyone)?

Let’s take a look at what he has done through Saturday and see exactly what may be on the horizon.

First, the numbers: 106 at bats, 23 hits, five home runs, 18 RBI, 14 runs, .333 on-base percentage, .396 slugging percentage and a .228 batting average on balls in play.

You can tell that there is plenty of upside, especially in the average department. He has continued to show a great eye at the plate, with a 23:19 strikeout-to-walk ratio. His 15.1-percent walk rate places him fifteenth in the league (and best among catchers). He clearly has not had much luck, either, just making things look that much better in the average potential.

In fact, if you take the average out of the picture, is there really anything that fantasy owners would be complaining about?

His home runs put him third among catchers (one behind Russell Martin and Alex Avila). While his HR/FB rate could be slightly elevated at 16.7 percent, his groundball rate is extremely high at 53.6 percent.

So, if his HR/FB rate was to fall, when he starts putting more balls in the air (and he will) he should hit plenty of home runs. If the HR/FB rate doesn’t tail off, then there’s even more upside than we may have anticipated.

His RBI rank him fourth among catchers (Avila leads with 23). He hits fourth in the Indians order and, with the return of Grady Sizemore, there is a good slate of players hitting in front of him. 

There’s no reason to think that he won’t continue to drive runners in.

His runs scored put him tied for second among catchers (John Buck leads with 16). With the walk rate and the likelihood of an improved average, he’s going to be on base plenty of times and he’s going to keep scoring runs.

The fact of the matter is that, despite the low average, Santana is actually producing the type of numbers fantasy owners would have expected. He is becoming one of the best offensive catchers in the game and, when the luck turns, everyone is going to realize just how good he is. 

Keep him active in all formats and reap the benefits.

What are your thoughts of Santana? How good do you think he can be? Will he emerge as a top two or three catcher in 2011?


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