I am not sure that it will set off a flurry of moves just yet as the MLB trading deadline is still more than a month away, but we did get a moderately exciting trade on Monday. While the headlines are going to refer to it as the Carlos Santana trade, this is really all about Vinnie Pasquantino. In the actual deal, Santana was sent from a perpetually rebuilding Kansas City Royals team to a perpetually active Seattle Mariners team that is need of a healthy first baseman. 

With the injury to Ty France, the Mariners were left with a void at first base, and as they look to hang around the race for the AL Wild card and try to remain relevant this season, Santana can easily slot into their lineup. The veteran came at the price of young pitchers and for Kansas City, it is addition by subtraction as they no longer had a need for Santana. By trading their incumbent first baseman, the Royals created an opening in their lineup which they promptly filled with Pasquantino. 

Now, let’s dig into the fantasy impact of the trade. 




Vinnie Pasquantino Fantasy Baseball Player Spotlight


It makes sense to start with the exciting angle to the trade and that brings to the youth of Vinnie Pasquantino. Last season the first baseman emerged on the scene with 24 home runs and 84 RBI in 106 games split between High-A and Double-A and all he has done is continue that success this year. Pasquantino essentially forced Kansas City’s hand to see what he can do at the major league level as he, at least for now, surpassed Nick Pratto on the organizational depth chart. 

In 69 games so far this year at Triple-A, Pasquantino is hitting .280 with 18 home runs and 67 RBI and at this point, there is nothing left to prove. By trading Santana and immediately promoting him, it is clear what the Royals’ intention is here, and that commitment shouldn’t be ignored from a fantasy perspective. 

While there is always going to be an adjustment period when a young player has to acclimate themselves to the major leagues, Pasquantino does have the right approach which should help here. The power is real here, and Pasquantino’s .296 ISO backs that up, but it is 12.2% strikeout rate that draws us in here along his 12.5% walk rate. Throughout his minor league career, Pasquantino has put up similar numbers and that has played a real factor in his success and it makes me feel good about his fantasy relevance moving forward. 


Carlos Santana Fantasy Baseball Player Spotlight


When we get to Carlos Santana, things get boring pretty quickly, and not much is really going to change for him aside from his uniform. The first baseman does get an upgrade in lineup from Kansas City to Seattle, but at this point, what you see is what you get from him and that is really just a deep league depth option. 

Taking things back to 2021, Santana hit 19 home runs while driving in 69 runs and scoring 66 times, and at this point, I would look at that as his absolute ceiling. 

Prior to the trade, Santana was hitting .216 with a .236 BABIP which leaves a lot to be desired and is down from his career averages of .244 and .261, respectively. The difference between the two marks is only a few hits, and ultimately Santana’s real value comes in on base percentage leagues and his walk rate has increased slightly this season up to 17%. At the same time, Santana only strikes out 13.2% of the time but that is where the good news comes to an end. 

Through 52 games this season, Santana has just four home runs, 21 RBI, and 17 runs scored and his .125 ISO is in line with the decrease over the past few seasons. From a Statcast perspective, Santana’s metrics are in line with his previous levels at a 90.2 mile per hour average exit velocity, 12.7-degree launch angle, 6.8% barrel-rate, and 41.9% hard-hit rate. 

On a long-term basis, once France returns to action for Seattle, Santana could very well see his playing time decrease, but it is also possible that the change of scenery works to his advantage. At the same time though, we have a pretty good idea of what Santana is capable of these days, and I would not overrate it based on the fact that Seattle just traded for him. 


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