Outfielder Domingo Santana came to Seattle from the Brewers because he is out of options and they have a logjam in the outfield. In the limited time he had in the majors, Santana showed flashes of pure talent that should have Mariners’ fans really excited.
There were struggles last season for Santana that saw the 26-year old get sent down to Triple-A in June. But he still finished with a slash line of .265/.328/.412 with a wRC+ of 97 in 235 plate appearances. That’s not a bad recovering considering that he hit .249/.313/.354 with a putrid wRC+ of 79 during the first half the season — his second half wRC+ was 257. Whatever he worked on in San Antonio seemed to have made a marked difference.
Santana struggled with hard contact last season and hitting it to the opposite field; especially compared to his minor league performance in the same season.
In the minor leagues, the 26-year old has hit the ball to the opposite field 27.4% of the time; last season he only did it 19.7% of the time. It was even worse during his brief stint in Milwaukee last season. If he can hit more the ball more to the opposite side of the field — more like he has in his career to this point — Santana will be a dynamic offensive threat that will add a lot of depth to Seattle’s line-up.
While his career wRC+ of 113 is going to provide a boost the M’s offense next year, his high strikeout rate is a concern. Santana is striking out in 31.9% of his plate appearances, while walking in 11%. Last season his strikeout rate was a little higher, but his walk rate took a worrying dip to 8.5%. The reason he walked less was that he swung at more pitches outside of the zone than he has at any other point in his major league career.
For the most part, he was most effective when he got consistent playing time with the Brewers. Last season, the club kind of squeezed him out by adding so many talented outfielders — and it worked for the club. Coming into Seattle there isn’t a lot of MLB ready outfielders that could hamper his playing time this season; if he can play at a similar level as he did in 2017…then Jerry Dipoto has landed another talented outfielder that will be an anchor in left field for the foreseeable future.