2016 Fantasy Baseball: Breakout Candidate — Domingo Santana
The Milwaukee Brewers are following a new pathway to contention. The pathway got its roots from the Chicago Cubs and Houston Astros. In essence, both teams used a scorched earth methods to rebuild through their farm systems. The Brewers even hired an assistant from the Astros (David Stearns) to oversee their rebuild. Heck, their biggest single deadline deal was with those same Astros.
One of the prospects from the deal that sent Carlos Gomez and Mike Fiers to the Astros was Domingo Santana. Brett Phillips represents the highest ceiling in that deal, but he probably has at least one more season in the minors. Santana already had some time at the big league level before the trade. He managed to demonstrate a good deal of power and some speed in advance of greater opportunity in Milwaukee.
Fortunately for Santana, the cupboard is not completely bare in Milwaukee. Ryan Braun and Jonathan Lucroy are still there and provide some cushion for young players like Santana. If they had traded those players away, he might have been the only weapon left.
What he has done
I did not include the cup of coffee that Santana had in 2014. It was an unmitigated disaster. He had 14 strikeouts in 17 plate appearances. Obviously, he did not have a hit. So his overall 37.6 percent strikeout rate has to scare a few people off. His strikeout rates in the minors were also normally over 25 percent. Simply put, he’s long and lean and those long arms generate a huge swing in addition to generating awesome power.
Still, the club dealt Khris Davis to make room for Santana in the outfield. So, he will get his at bats come heck or high water. That’s one of the good points to a rebuild like the Brewers are going through. He could end up being worth a late round pick just by virtue of the fact of the number of opportunities he will end up getting.
What could be
None of the projection systems have Santana making it to 600 plate appearances, so there is room for growth even among the projections. They each each see him making a little more contract and all of them have him having a fairly healthy walk rate. Additionally, they have him creating more runs than you would think from a team that will likely struggle to score runs.
A Rosy Picture
The experts are predicting improvement and that seems fairly reasonable. After all, he went from disaster in 2014 to having some pretty decent moments in 2015. It makes sense for him to take another step forward this season. A player with 30 home run potential should fall somewhere on your draft board.