FanGraphs Baseball

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  1. Carlos Santana has only played forty major league games, but he’s already topped one significant leaderboard with his play. Consider this little nugget: Last year, he put up the best OPS by a switch-hitting catcher debuting under the age of 25 with 30 or more games.

    Not just that, but of all the switch hitting catchers named Carlos Santana, he had the best debut campaign of any of them.

    Comment by CircleChange11 — February 15, 2011 @ 11:03 am

  2. From the title, I thought this was going to be about how he’s been fully cleared for workouts less than six months after almost having his left leg severed at the knee.

    Comment by JR — February 15, 2011 @ 11:12 am

  3. Motherf%*@ing Casey Blake and those old $%^ damn knees, how does Ned Colletti sleep at night, let alone, take a &%#! without hating himself.

    Comment by My echo and bunnymen — February 15, 2011 @ 11:35 am

  4. I’m enjoying all of the Santana references that come along with writing about Carlos… Cistulli wants them to be Taboo

    Comment by Matt Defalco — February 15, 2011 @ 11:41 am

  5. Here’s hoping he’s healthy enough to get the playing time to attack some full-season records soon.

    Comment by Luke in MN — February 15, 2011 @ 11:41 am

  6. The guy is really talented, but man, he’s very small for a catcher. When a hitter succeeds in large part based on incredible flexibility and extension, you should probably assume regression with age. Add to it being a small catcher, I’d be very concerned that he’ll ever play a full season there, and by the time they realize he needs to be moved to keep him healthy, the injuries will have taken a toll, and combined with age he’ll be a shell of himself before he’s 30. Really hope I’m wrong, but so many elite offensive catchers who have played there for a long time have been big guys, and even they get hurt a lot, like Mauer.

    Comment by Not Paul — February 15, 2011 @ 11:52 am

  7. You could just as easily say that his size is an advantage because it’s less wear and tear on his knees and back as he squats. Assuming he avoids further collisions at the plate.

    Shouldn’t we be past the point where we judge players primarily on their body shape and size?

    Comment by Travis — February 15, 2011 @ 12:05 pm

  8. A battery of him and Rob Thomas would be Smooth.

    Comment by Phegan — February 15, 2011 @ 12:11 pm

  9. I suspect the Indians don’t care that he’ll be a shell of himself by 30 because he’ll be off to another org.

    Comment by Marco — February 15, 2011 @ 12:20 pm

  10. In Coletti’s defense Russell Martin was a 25 year old catcher coming off a 6 win season and was in the midst of a near 5 win season when he traded him, so maybe he didn’t think there was a place for Santana long term. Still though should’ve gotten a better player in return than Blake but atleast there was some logic behind it.

    Comment by Dwight Schrute — February 15, 2011 @ 12:29 pm

  11. Nice

    Comment by Dwight Schrute — February 15, 2011 @ 12:30 pm

  12. Yes, because his size was a huge advantage last season… Assuming he avoids collisions at the plate? He’s a catcher.

    Are you arguing that body type doesn’t matter in athletic endeavors? You do realize that real baseball is still played by actual human beings?

    Comment by Not Paul — February 15, 2011 @ 12:42 pm

  13. SANTANA!!! So am I crazy when I say that I’m going to be drafting him somewhere in rounds 6-8 depending on how the draft goes?

    Comment by DonCoburleone — February 15, 2011 @ 12:57 pm

  14. Through his first 54 games, Buster Posey had a .927 OPS. By the end of season it fell down to .862. So he was essentially as good as Santana except he did for 2.5x longer and in a more pitcher-friendly park. And with better defense.

    Comment by dustygator — February 15, 2011 @ 1:06 pm

  15. Love him, obviously, just wrote, like, a love poem to him. We like him at RG too: Top 5 Catchers

    Comment by Eno Sarris — February 15, 2011 @ 1:07 pm

  16. I wouldn’t say that better defense thing so confidently – it’s hard to quantify catcher D and he was kept in the minors for his D, at least according to Sabean. I know it could have been arbitration machinations, but still…

    But yeah, Posey is pretty sweet. I think it will be great to see what they both do with a full year.

    Comment by Eno Sarris — February 15, 2011 @ 1:09 pm

  17. They both threw out around 37% of runners which is pretty good. FSR had Posey rated significantly higher, 73 to 54. And while it’s hard to quantify catcher D and the effect it might or might not have on pitchers, Posey caught one of the best postseason rotations ever. One with characters like Wilson, Sanchez and Lincecum. It’s obvious he wasn’t the source of their success but at least we know he didn’t fuck it up.

    Comment by dustygator — February 15, 2011 @ 1:35 pm

  18. this. it was a win-now move in year the dodgers were going to the playoffs. and blake was pretty good that year and the next. not a totally crazy thing to do.

    Comment by brendan — February 15, 2011 @ 1:39 pm

  19. Buster isn’t the only current Giant to be a metric of comparison for Santana. In 2008, Pablo Sandoval played 11 games as catcher for the Giants; he posted a .847 OPS as a switch-hitting utility man (he also played 17 games at 1B and 12 at 3B). Worth recognition?

    Comment by robertobeers — February 15, 2011 @ 2:35 pm

  20. It’s not football…being small in baseball doesn’t mean you get pulverized by default. Shorter limbs make good mechanics easier to master and maintain, not harder. Of the positions, catcher offers the least advantage to a taller player vs. a shorter one.
    If he’s even a little smart and/or observant, a short batter can take advantage of his smaller strike zone (or, as in Rickey Henderson’s case, create their own despite being normal height). Is a starting catcher a smart and/or observant player, almost by definition? Nearly all of them are, right?

    Comment by Pho Queue — February 15, 2011 @ 2:47 pm

  21. I would say that. In terms of longevity, I’d rather have a Tony Pena or a Benito Santiago than I would a Parrish or a Tettleton.

    Rare are the ideal-sized “natural squatters” like Pudge, Bench, Fisk, Yadi, etc.

    You don’t often see smallish guys with knee problems.

    Comment by CircleChange11 — February 15, 2011 @ 3:13 pm

  22. Who said anything about tall vs. short? His frame is small and he does not have a thickish trunk like you see in a lot of catchers, even smaller catchers like Suzuki have more of a low center of gravity and ability to put on weight in their lower half.

    Where is the argument that there is any issue at all with his offensive ability? I think he’s a smaller (here we go again) and less strong version of Hamilton. Uncanny hand-eye coordination along with body control, flexibility, wrist and hand strength/flexibility. Total package offensively. Dodgers should have left him at 3B because the bat will play anywhere. Just my opinion.

    The only point is that he is small for such a physically demand position and I would be concerned about that.

    Comment by Not Paul — February 15, 2011 @ 3:17 pm

  23. It’s not crazy to trade for Blake….it’s crazy to trade Santana for Blake.

    The Dodgers had other prospects they could have given up for Blake, and no I don’t buy that Cleveland would take nobody but Santana. Even if they had, I’m not biting. There were other 3rd base trade possibilities, and there was Blake Dewitt.

    If you are going to trade an elite prospect, do it for Cliff Lee or CC Sabathia.

    Comment by Table — February 15, 2011 @ 3:22 pm

  24. please

    Comment by Table — February 15, 2011 @ 3:30 pm

  25. Is this a joke? Posey has been getting more hype than Jason Heyward ever since he won the WS.

    Comment by Nick — February 15, 2011 @ 3:41 pm

  26. Mr Sarris and I have different definitions of the word “significant.”

    Comment by MikeS — February 15, 2011 @ 4:11 pm

  27. Will this Santana guy be as good as Wieters?

    Comment by Half Full — February 15, 2011 @ 4:13 pm

  28. But they’re all so smooth.

    Comment by MikeS — February 15, 2011 @ 4:13 pm

  29. I would have written ‘statistically significant’ if that is what I meant. And the joke is warranted, but catching and switch-hitting are both tough things to do, so it seems worth trying to put him in a bin that includes switch-hitting catchers of a similar age.

    Comment by Eno Sarris — February 15, 2011 @ 4:14 pm

  30. rarely does someone trade an elite prospect for some one of Lee’s or CC’s stature for the simple reason that the players are prospects and not proven. The baseball graveyard is filled with thousands of elite prospects who failed to convert minor league and college success in the bigs. Until a guy succeeds in the majors you do not know he can.

    Comment by kick me in the GO NATS — February 15, 2011 @ 4:40 pm

  31. I think we should call his swings of the bat RIFFs. ” Carlos took a nice riff at the ball in that at bat.” Sounds good and is really funny to me.

    Comment by kick me in the GO NATS — February 15, 2011 @ 4:43 pm

  32. they both take real smooth Riffs at the ball.

    Comment by kick me in the GO NATS — February 15, 2011 @ 4:47 pm

  33. I think the catcher position is on a serious upswing in talent lately!!! Which is good. I hate being the near the last guy in fantasy to draft my catcher and be debating guys like Snyder and Kendall. UGH!

    Comment by kick me in the GO NATS — February 15, 2011 @ 4:52 pm

  34. I don’t now how old posada was when he debuted (he did start as a catcher right?) but he has been a switch hitting catcher for 16 years and a pretty damn good hitter (for a catcher). Where does he rank against these guys? maybe he developed his hitting ability so his debut numbers sucked. Anyways, he’s the first name I thought of when you said switch-hitting catcher.

    Comment by phoenix2042 — February 15, 2011 @ 10:02 pm

  35. you got mauer, mcann, posey, santana, vmart, soto, suzuki, posada…

    Comment by phoenix2042 — February 15, 2011 @ 10:05 pm

  36. Posada is a great name to think of. He got 60 games of burn at 26 in his first season of real work. So reasonably older than Santana for his real debut.

    Comment by Eno Sarris — February 15, 2011 @ 10:13 pm

  37. ah thanks. i am a bit surprised that someone with that poor defense remained at catcher for 16 years and until he was in he’s 38. real impressive that his knees held up. this looks to be his last year. heck of a career.

    Comment by phoenix2042 — February 15, 2011 @ 10:16 pm

  38. Don’t forget his 19% walk rate—isn’t that a more relevant milestone?

    http://www.wahooblues.com/2010/11/08/stat-of-the-week-carlos-santanas-19-3-walk-rate.html/

    Comment by Lewie Pollis — February 15, 2011 @ 10:44 pm

  39. The issue is cheapness. They were willing to part with Santana in order for the Indians to pay part of Blake’s remaining contract. If they had been willing to pay up, Santana would either be in a Dodgers uniform, or would have been dealt for (I would hope) somebody better.

    Comment by PG — February 16, 2011 @ 1:05 am

  40. CircleChange11 is a jackoff.

    Comment by Miles Archer — February 16, 2011 @ 8:08 am

  41. Major injury 46 games into his major league career. If you don’t have your health then nothing else matters. This guy is a buck ninety, wet. I would hope Cleveland gives the guy a chance and move him to a less physical position or at least pay for guitar lessons.

    Comment by GordonBacon — February 16, 2011 @ 11:56 am

  42. An LCL tear isn’t really a major injury. A PCL, ACL, MCL, or meniscus injury would be a major injury. A person just doesn’t rely on their LCL like they do for the collateral ligaments. Cleveland already stated they are going to go ahead and play him at 1B and DH as well next year.

    Comment by Jameson — February 19, 2011 @ 1:47 pm

  43. I remember Ted Simmons as a very good hitter withadequate defense – certainly not a “great.” catcher.

    Comment by Purnell — March 20, 2011 @ 6:11 pm

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