When the Phillies inked Carlos Santana to a three-year contract worth $60 million last December, one popular line of thinking went like this: Santana is a veteran hitter noted for his plate-discipline and savvy approach. He takes the pitches that he should take and swings at the ones he should swing at. By proxy, his presence will help a talented, but struggling player like Maikel Franco help realize his potential that to this point has been unfulfilled, in part, by failing to do what Santana succeeds at. In essence, an ancillary benefit of Santana’s own production would be that a player like Franco would look more like Santana this season.
To be fair, that is pretty much what has happened through 16 games. Unfortunately for the Phillies, this has not been a positive development. Santana, a hitter with a proven track record of success, is a hot mess right now. He enters tonight’s game hitting a paltry .136 over 59 at-bats this season, which is .111 points below his career average. His .548 OPS is 258 points (holy shit!) below his .806 career average. He’s hitless in his last 14 at bats and is 2-for-26 over his past seven games. He’s been brutal.
Most fans don’t want to hear this, and I get it, but he has run into some bad luck. Hitting the ball hard is, you know, normally a good thing, but it hasn’t worked out for Santana thus far. His 40% hard-hit percentage is actually up from his 33.1% career mark. What’s more, according to Statcast, his 90.67 mph average exit velocity is above the MLB average of 88.89 mph, yet his .125 BABIP is the lowest among any qualified hitter in baseball. I know what you’re thinking. Cool numbers, dude—so what does this mean? Well, here’s what his current season BABIP looks like in relationship to his career and league averages: Continue Reading