A few months back, I looked at Carlos Santana’s Minor League Equivalency numbers (MLEs). Basically, MLEs convert a minor leaguer’s performance to the majors, adjusting for level of competition and home ballpark. In honor of Santana’s callup to the majors tonight, I thought we’d take one more look at his MLEs for this year, to see where he’d rate among the current team in hitting categories.
Just a reminder: MLEs are translations, not predictions. They tell us how a player’s numbers would be deflated by stiffer competition (i.e. Major League competition). So the numbers we’re going to look below are not projections for what Santana will do, but rather adjustments to what he has done to this point in the season if he had been with the Indians all year and performed at the level he performed in AAA.
With that out of the way, here are Santana’s current AAA numbers:
Pretty gaudy, huh. Kid’s sporting a 1.044 OPS, and has 13 home runs in fewer than 200 ABs. Let’s put him through the MLE calculator, to see how AAA numbers translate to the Majors:
Obviously, the numbers take a hit, but still, he’d have been a pretty productive player up here. A .276/.389/.501 slash line is nothing to sneeze at, and those 11 home runs? Yeah, that would lead the team.
In fact, I started thinking how Santana would be doing in the various offensive categories compared to his teammates. This floored me:
|Kearns (.303)||Choo (.394)||Santana (.501)||Santana (.890)||Santana (11)||Santana (42)||Choo (10)|
|Choo (.293)||Kearns (.391)||Kearns (.474)||Kearns (.865)||Choo (8)||Peralta (31)||Crowe (7)|
|Cabrera (.287)||Santana (.389)||Choo (.471)||Choo (.865)||Branyan (7)||Choo (29)||Santana (5)|
|Santana (.276)||Hafner (.351)||Branyan (.465)||Branyan (.793)||Kearns (5)||Kearns (27)||Kearns (4)|
|Grudz (.273)||Branyan (.329)||Donald (.405)||Hafner (.729)||Hafner (5)||Hafner (22)||Marson (4)|
That’s right. In every meaningful offensive category, Santana would be in the top 4. He would be leading the team in HRs, slugging percentage, OPS, and RBI. He’d be third on the team in stolen bases, third in on-base percentage, and fourth in batting average.
In other words, the kid can rake.
One more thing before I go. Santana’s been compared a lot to Victor Martinez since the Casey Blake trade: they’re both Latin catchers who are known more for their offensive prowess than their defensive abilities. They both had unbelievable AA seasons in Akron. Heck, they both even wear the same number. But let’s remember two things. First, that comparison isn’t fair to anyone. Victor is an incredible player, and I don’t want Santana thinking he’s got to live up to that—he’s got enough pressure on him as it is. Second, Santana is a different sort of hitter than Martinez. Santana has more power, which is obviously coupled with a lower batting average. Santana’s not likely to ever hit above .320 in his career—in fact, I’d consider him more of .280 to .290 hitter. On the other hand, he’s probably going to hit more home runs than Victor did. Victor’s never hit more than 25 HR in his career. Santana might average that. Or more… Alright, I need to stop doing what I told you not to do. But it’s fun, huh?
Either way, the day has finally come, Tribe fans. On the day after Victor left town for another year, let’s sit back, grab a drink, and watch our new #41 start making some memories.