While there is still a longing in the fantasy baseball community for Cleveland Indians first baseman Carlos Santana to go back to donning the tools of ignorance due to the fact his very potent bat would play even better at the annually shallow catcher position, the fact of the matter is that the 34 home runs he hit in 2016 would play very well anywhere on the field. The always unconventional Terry Francona surprised many by putting the slow as molasses Santana into the leadoff spot at the start of the season in referencing his high OBP and walk rates. While it the move certainly raised eyebrows, in the end Francona’s strategy worked out about as well as could be given the numbers. While hitting leadoff obviously puts a bit of a hit on a player’s RBI total, Santana still managed to drive in 87 and he also chipped in with 89 runs scored. A longtime batting average liability, it needs to be noted that Santana showed some tremendous strides with his hitting in 2016 as he posted a career-best K/9 rate of 14.4 percent; which ironically was the exact same number of his very high walk rate. Also while Santana’s .259 average was not great, it was still miles ahead of the .230 marks that dotted his earlier years. Finally, Santana’s .259 average should have been even higher but he suffered from a very unlucky .258 BABIP. In the end, Santana seems to have the batting leadoff approach down pat already and his big power makes him a very good UTIL or CI option.
2017 PROJECTION: .262 32 HR 86 RBI 92 R 4 SB