With 2 outs in the top of the 9th, today’s game was sealed with a pop fly to Domingo Santana in RF and closer Jeremy Jeffress had his 10th save of the season. Instead, he seemed to lose it in the lights and the Padres had another chance to tie the game.
Luckily, the Milwaukee Brewers won the game 3-2, but in scenarios like this, it makes you wonder just what is up with RF Domingo Santana. Many saw concerns with former LF Khris Davis and his fielding and seeing another young prospect like Santana isn’t a good sign.
But, let’s compare just where Santana is truly at along with others across MLB in the outfield department. Just how bad is he? (Not a fun question, right?)
We’ll choose to ignore last season with Santana at CF as we know that’s not his true position. Looking at a number of advanced stats through FanGraphs, one name stands out with the young RF that no outfielder cares to be with, Hunter Pence.
Looking at DEF (Fielding Runs + Positional Adjustment / Ranking from worst to best in parenthesis):
(6th) Santana -5.0
(3rd) Pence -6.2.
Only Jay Bruce outdoes the two with -9.0 thus far this season.
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What about UZR? (Ultimate Zone Rating – Relative to WAR to measure runs above average)
(3rd) Hunter Pence -4.5
(4th) Domingo Santana -3.9
How about DRS? (Defensive Runs Saved)
(1st) Domingo Santana -9
(2nd) Hunter Pence -6
I certainly could add some more, but that’d be overkill. While Santana doesn’t have as awkward of a delivery in his throw like Pence, he doesn’t read the ball well many times and in some occasions fans on Twitter have joked about his issues in the outfield.
While Hunter Pence was an average fielder early in his career with the Houston Astros and then had more issues with his arm looking at the sabermetrics with the San Francisco Giants, it is a bit concerning just why Domingo Santana is struggling so early on and at quite a young age. At the very least for Pence I can say he’s getting up there at 33 (speaking baseball years), while Santana is quite young being 10 years younger.
Milwaukee Brewers fans remember LF Khris Davis being traded off to the Oakland A’s and he’s in the same repertoire as Santana as he’s (of no surprise) near the bottom in mostly all the same defensive sabermetrics in LF.
Khris Davis (At least 190 innings)
-3.3 DEF (3rd)
-2.3 UZR (2nd)
-1 DRS (12th)
Unfortunately, LF Ryan Braun is ranked closely with Khris Davis in many of these categories, but that’d make for a whole new article. But, this just points out Santana has done far worse than Davis thus far. To try and be on the bright side he’s very athletic, young and has lots of time to learn with a rebuilding team. If anything, hopefully his swing can make up for the “Oh no…” times in the outfield.