clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

MVBrewers Honorable Mentions: Domingo Santana

New, 7 comments

The young outfielder slugged his way firmly into the club's 2016 plans.

Benny Sieu-USA TODAY Sports

Domingo Santana came to the Brewers via trade, joining three other minor leaguers in coming from Houston on July 30th of this season after Milwaukee agreed to part with Carlos Gomez and Mike Fiers. Santana has been on prospect lists since signing with the Phillies as a 16 year old out of the Dominican Republic. He enjoyed quite an incredible season at AAA this season, hitting .333/.426/.573 with 18 home runs in 95 games (166 wRC+). Plus raw power has long been Santana's calling card, though high strikeout totals (26.3% in AAA this year) have always accompanied his booming home runs.

The Brewers called Santana up to the majors on August 21st, marking his third stint in the big leagues as he'd previously collected 10 hits and 31 strikeouts in 60 PA with the Astros from 2014-15. He finished out the season with the big club and enjoyed generally better results through his first extended go around in the majors.

Santana played in 38 games for the Brewers, including 21 starts in center field and 13 in right field. Though Santana is generally considered a corner outfielder by trade, the Brewers lack of a true center fielder led Craig Counsell to give him a chance out there to keep his bat in the lineup. He performed about as well as could be reasonably expected, contributing -1.3 Fielding Runs Above Average. Santana's got the arm for right field, but his speed isn't generally considered a strong suit.

Santana homered in his Brewers debut and got off to a hot start at the plate in Milwaukee, hitting .300/.413/.640 with five home runs through his first 15 games. His power was quite evident, especially to the opposite field. He couldn't keep up that pace, however, as he tailed off greatly over the last three weeks of the season. After September 9th, Santana hit just .183/.293/.268 in 82 plate appearances with one home run and 33 strikeouts.

All-in-all, Domingo hit .231/.345/.421 (109 wRC+) in 145 plate appearances during his first season in Milwaukee. He slugged six home runs and five doubles during that time, but also struck out in 31.7% of his plate appearances. We shouldn't ever expect to him to hit for a high average due to his tendency to swing and miss. He does, however, possess and excellent knack for drawing walks, which he did at a 12.4% clip this season. That suggests that even though he may never hit more than .250 in a given season, he should still be able to get on base at an acceptable rate. Domingo was valued at 0.5 fWAR and 0.7 WARP for his work with the Brewers this season.

I've previously likened Santana's realistic offensive ceiling to that of Khris Davis: low average, high strikeout but solid OBP, and 25+ home run potential. Santana's got a much better defensive ceiling, however, thanks to his plus arm in right field. He could eventually become a 3-4 WAR player if he can consistently make enough contact to tap into his tremendous raw power. At just 23 years of age, it is more than likely the Brewers will give him every chance in 2016 to prove himself as a piece of the long-term puzzle.