The Milwaukee Brewers optioned Domingo Santana down to Triple-A on June 23rd because of his struggles at the plate. When could we see him back in Milwaukee again?
After GM David Stearns acquired Christian Yelich and Lorenzo Cain, the outfield picture was looking increasingly clouded. The original plan was to rotate between Yelich, Cain, Santana, and Ryan Braun in the outfield, giving each player regular rest.
But Santana wasn’t producing at the plate during the first two-plus months of the season. He struggled to a .249/.313/.354 slash line with only three home runs in 189 at-bats. Last season, Santana was one of three Milwaukee Brewers players with 30+ home runs.
Santana was suffering from a major power outage.
So the Brewers optioned Santana to Triple-A Colorado Springs to get him regular playing time, which would give him the opportunity to fix his swing and get his power stroke back.
How Has Santana Performed At Triple-A?
In his 39 games at Colorado Springs, Santana owns a .286/.401/.459 slash line with five home runs and 22 RBIs in 133 at-bats.
Santana is drawing a lot more walks in the minor leagues, with 25 free passes already. That doesn’t mean he’s solved his strikeout issues. He has 53 strikeouts in Triple-A, which means he’s still striking out over 30% of the time.
When Could Santana Get Called Back Up?
David Stearns has made fairly clear he’s looking to bring in players who are adept at making contact and aren’t big strikeout-prone hitters. The additions of Yelich, Cain, and Mike Moustakas are a testament to that.
He’s started to find his power stroke once again, which is key for him. But that high strikeout rate does not bode well for his future in Milwaukee. With Ryan Braun under contract for at least two more years, and Yelich and Cain under contract for four more years, there simply isn’t a starting spot to be found for Santana.
Regardless, with the overflow of starting caliber position players on this roster right now, I see no way that Santana is promoted prior to the September roster expansion.
September would be a great time to bring Santana back up and perhaps display his power in a pinch hitting role. He’s not a high quality defender, so a late inning substitute makes little sense.
The Brewers have been able to use Ryan Braun and Eric Thames as platoon options in the corner outfield and have gotten by just fine with that group. They’re not hurting for the return of Santana. When the roster expands in September, bringing him back makes sense. But not before that.
The Milwaukee Brewers will most likely attempt to trade Santana once again this winter. By showcasing him a little bit in September with a rediscovered power stroke, he can increase his trade value for the offseason.