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Opening Day Countdown: Domingo Santana #16

Just sixteen days until real baseball. How sweet it is!

Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

The Brewers are in full rebuild mode with David Stearns having consummated 9 trades this offseason--perhaps with more to come. Certainly there will be in-season trades as well. But it all started with the Carlos Gomez and Mike Fiers trade. Looking back at what the Brewers were going to get from the Mets for just Gomez, it's amazing how much better the Astros deal looks. They got their No. 2 prospect Brett Phillips, a top left handed pitching prospect in Josh Hader, and intriguing break out candidate in Adrian Houser, and their projected 2016 regular right fielder Domingo Santana. Today we're going narrow the discussion to Santana.

Of the prospects that came to Milwaukee in this beautiful wonderful trade, Domingo Santana has the most experience by far. He spent the majority of the last two seasons at the AAA level, also appearing at the major league level in each season. He absolutely crushed AAA pitching, but has struggled a bit at the major league level: 205 PA, 215/312/390, 92 wRC+. The majority of those plate appearances came with the Brewers: 187 PA, 238/337/431, 110 wRC+. That looks way better than his total line. Those 18 plate appearances with the Astros in 2014 were ridiculously bad and should probably just be thrown out.

It's still fair to question how Santana's ability will translate to the major league level. He strikes out a lot. Even in AAA he was striking between 27-30% of the time--though he did improve on that with Colorado Springs only striking out 20% of the time, but in only 85 plate appearances. With the Brewers he struck out 33.7% of the time. Strike outs are becoming a bigger part of the game, but 33.7% is still quite high. That's something he'll have to work on if he's going to be a starting regular.

For what it's worth, the projection systems seem to like him well enough.

Steamer - 526 PA, 19 HR, 9.7 BB%, 29.8 K%, 249/329/431, 105 wRC+.
ZiPS - 570 PA, 26 HR, 10.4 BB%, 31.2 K%, 252/337/467, 117 wRC+
PECOTA - 480, 19 HR, 246/329/438, .274 TAV (.260 is average)

I will take each one of these from Domingo Santana this year. That's pretty close to what we could expect from Khris Davis. However Santana is a much better defender. So the upside is a little higher.

I'm still concerned about the strike out rate with Domingo Santana. But if he can hit like he did last year and he can resemble his projections, that's a pretty big win for the Brewers. That's 6 years of a 2-3 win player. And remember, that's just 1/4 of the trade return they go for Carlos Gomez and Mike Fiers. We might look back in five years and marvel that the Brewers were able to get what they did.

Statistics, ZiPS and Steamer projections courtesy of FanGraphs