The Chef's table: Hold Your Horses
See Why The Fantasy Chef Isn't Going All-In On Danny Santana Just Yet
If you made it big in the restaurant business, you got a Chef’s Table.
At Fantasy Alarm we have one too. Expect here you don’t need a reservation. Or a fat stack to pay for it.
The best part about the Chef’s Table is that you get to watch the preparation of your food from start to finish. Seeing every intricate detail that goes into your dish while enjoying the company of family and friends. Well, that’s what I’m gonna give you here.
Each week I will profile a player based on increased street cred throughout the industry. Whether because of a recent hot streak, increased playing time or a promotion because of an injury. From there I will break down the recipe for that player’s success and determine if he is just a flash in the pan or someone who is gonna bring home the bacon.
Today’s Special: Daniel Santana
Although the Twins made a big slash this past weekend in the signing of Kendrys Morales, he has not been the most exciting attraction in the Twin Cities after a hot start by Daniel Santana. Through his first 77 big league at-bats, Santana is slashing .364/.395/.506 with two home runs and 11 RBI, while going 4-for-4 in stolen base attempts. Despite Brian Dozier’s success as the team’s leadoff hitter, the Twins decided to move him down one spot in the lineup to give Santana a shot as proving his worth at the next level.
Throughout all levels of the Twins minor league system, Santana has been most comfortable hitting leadoff, although he had never shown signs of the success we have come to expect from him now in the big leagues. Through 24 games at Triple-A Rochester, Santana slashed .268/.311/.381 without logging a home run while driving in only seven runs with four stolen bases. In fact, the Twins youngster had just 25 career home runs in 2,138 at-bats in seven minor league seasons and owned a career .274 average leading up to his promotion. What is even more ironic is how the Twins decided to use him in the early going.
Santana has received the majority of his playing time at center field, although he was used predominantly as a shortstop in the early stages of his career, and has even logged a few at-bats as the team’s designated hitter. He has managed to make it a priority for the Twins to get him into the starting lineup no matter where he plays considering the hot start he has gotten off to. You know you are onto something when you see a designated hitter sitting atop a lineup as he have seen a couple times over the last two weeks.
Considering the lack of production for Aaron Hicks in center field, the Twins will likely continue rolling with Santana as a mainstay in the outfield now that Morales has made his presence felt in the starting lineup. However, that doesn’t mean he won’t get some time at shortstop if Eduardo Escobar’s respectable start turns south. With that said, it is hard to imagine that Santana will lose at-bats as the season progresses, unless he reverts to his minor league production, which would make him more of a lower-third of the lineup hitter at the major league level.
Like with many youngsters making their major league debuts one of the biggest adjustments they have to make is to breaking pitches. His struggle with breaking balls has led to a 24.4 percent strikeout rate, which is right around his just north of his 20.2 percent strikeout rate mark over his seven year minor league career. This is going to be an issue down the line if he is unable to increase his 4.9 percent walk rate, having taken just four walks in the early going. If something doesn’t change in that part of his game, he will have to take a lesson from Dozier, who holds a 14.0 percent walk rate, which is ideal for a leadoff hitter.
There is no doubt that Santana has been a great story over the last couple of weeks, but it will be interesting to see how opposing pitchers make adjustments to him the second time around. Let’s be real here, he had only seven RBI in 24 game at Triple-A before joining the Twins and has since totaled two homers and 11 RBI over his last 77 at-bats. To me, that seems too good to be true considering the lack of power he displayed over his minor league career.
Although I don’t see his current pace holding up unless he learns to be more patient at the plate and stop swinging at so many breaking balls, his position eligibility is going to keep him in fantasy consideration, at least for short-term purposes. He currently holds both shortstop and outfield eligibility, with his most valuable asset being at the shortstop position. Despite the power that will likely fall off, his speed is the real deal, which is something fantasy owners should look for in a starting shortstop, outside of the likes of Troy Tulowitzki and the other top power hitters at the position.
For now, Santana’s name is going to come up in most fantasy circles, but let’s not kid ourselves here. Nothing in his past has given up reason to support his most recent production and regression is undoubtedly on the way as the season progresses. However, until he slows down he is worth a shot in deep league formats until he proves us otherwise. At least for the stolen bases, which should remain consistent as long as he remains an everyday fixture in the Twins lineup.