April 23, 2014

SABR-Toothed Triber: Santana Leads the Indians in…EVERYTHING?

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:

AAA (IL) 0.316 0.447 0.597 51 14 13 6

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:

AAA (IL) 0.316 0.447 0.597 51 14 13 6
MLE 0.276 0.389 0.501 42 13 11 5

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.

  • Stinkfist

    Another year? What? You dont think we wil meet the Red Sox in the playoffs?

  • http://www.mattyfos.blogspot.com MattyFos

    Santana time. Now if we could only replace the rest of the dead weight on this team.

    This is Santana’s major league debut, right? He didn’t have a one game call up a year or two ago?

  • stin4u

    Maybe a dumb question, but does anyone know if he’ll be playing tonight?

  • http://www.mattyfos.blogspot.com MattyFos

    There’s speculation that he’s playing because Redmond will be catching for Fausto tomorrow, like usual. But, ESPN said he will be debuting tomorrow rather than tonight. Granted, it was a sportcenter moron, so they were just reading it off of their cue card. They have no real insight into anything… So basically, I don’t know. lol. Sorry

  • mgbode

    @1 – the Red Sox have to get past the Rays and Yankees in the AL East. we don’t have to worry about them anymore.

  • mgbode

    oh, and Jon, good work as usual. wonder how many more wins the Tribe would have if Carlos was even just our DH this year instead of Hafner, who is so much lower on those lists.

  • Scotty

    Happy 1 year anniversary Victor

  • Alex

    Im glad i tickets to sundays game, Strasburg and Santana; ill someone to watch on the tribe as well

  • brwnsgrl

    Santana is fun to watch at the plate. I’m going to miss him in Columbus…good luck in the bigs, #41!

  • http://www.waitingfornextyear.com Jon

    Per Castrovince: Santana’s starting tonight and batting 3rd, for those interested.

  • stin4u

    Sweet! thanks jon

  • Tommy

    A special edition SABR-Toothed Triber?? Is it Christmas come early??

    I don’t see how you can translate RBI’s to a different team though since they are strictly a product of the hitter’s environment. I doubt Santana would have 42 on the Tribe right now, especially if he were in the 6-7 hole, hitting behind guys like Peralta and Hafner, and even Branyan, who rarely is ever on the base paths since the only thing he ever hits are home runs.

    I also wouldn’t be expecting too many stolen bases. How did he get 6 already anyways? And do we have any idea where he’ll start off in the lineup?

  • Tommy

    3rd?? wow

  • MattyFos

    That says how mediocre the hitting is on this team. Third in the order is for the best all around hitter…
    … and a rookie gets thrown into that spot the day he gets called up. Interesting. I hope Acta can get the best out of Santana. Can we win three games in a row? Oh snap!

  • http://www.waitingfornextyear.com Jon

    @ Tommy: A Special Edition? Probably not, but I missed last week, so consider this my attempt to balance the ledgers.

    I agree to an extent on the RBI numbers. I said this in the piece I link to in the beginning, but didn’t repeat it here: I don’t know how the sausage gets made in the MLE calculator, so I too take it with a grain of salt. Especially context dependent stats like RBI. Now that having now been said (Trademark: Michael Reghi), RBI are sorta silly anyway, so maybe I shouldn’t have included them to begin with.

    Still, a boy can dream, can’t he?

  • JM


  • MattyFos

    3 game winning streak. WATCHOUT!! I’m predicting the Tribe to win out.

  • mgbode

    if we sweep the Nats, then we’ll only be 2 games back of them in the overall sendings

  • mgbode

    I also like that ‘Black Magic’ was able to score his first run tonight.

  • Shamrock

    I’m actually excited about the indians thanks to the promotion of Senior Swing Mr. Santana. VMart Jr is the real deal. I’m not getting carried away however the Tribe still lacks the pitching not to mention 1-2 more hitters. Those 2 hitters were named Sizemore and Cabrera though which is unfortunate.

  • http://www.mattyfos.blogspot.com MattyFos

    Shamrock, I think the pitching has been better than expected, at least the starters have. And Sizemore was worthless this season, I do miss Cabrera and it’s nice to see Hafner getting his swng back.
    Someone needs to Hafner on the fertility drug that Manny and the pitcher from Cincy were using.