KC Royals Preview: More walks for Carlos Santana

KC Royals, Carlos Santana (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
KC Royals, Carlos Santana (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images) /

The KC Royals needed an improved on-base percentage, and that’s what they’ll get with their new first baseman.

Welcome back to Kings of Kauffman’s KC Royals Preview series for 2021. Between now and Opening Day, our writers are analyzing how various Royals performed last season and predicting how they might fare this year. Up today is first baseman, Carlos Santana. 

The KC Royals made a flurry of signings this offseason, which is likely still setting in for many fans. Kansas City is typically quiet, adding only a few veterans they hope can find some of their former glory.

With the Royal’s desire to win now, though, things had to change. One of their key needs for the offseason was said to be an improved on-base percentage. The Royals have struggled to get on base in past seasons, and it’s one of the few things keeping them from finally seeing the postseason again.

Luckily, there was a good candidate available to assist with this, Carlos Santana.

Santana is likely well known by most Kansas City fans as he has spent the majority of his career terrorizing the Royals from Cleveland. Thankfully, the Royals were able to bring him to their side, hoping he can do the same thing to Cleveland and everyone else in baseball.

While Santana started in the Los Angeles Dodgers organization, he was traded to Cleveland before ever seeing the majors. From there, he remained with Cleveland from 2010 through 2020 aside from a one-year stint with Philadelphia in 2018. After the 2018 offseason, he was subject to multiple trades but landed back in Cleveland until he was granted free agency after the 2020 season.

While Santana’s batting average has been lower than some may like to see, he’s made up for it by typically putting up good OBP and Slugging numbers.

Over his 10 years in Cleveland, Santana slashed .251/.368/.450, recording 710 RBIs, 216 home runs, 273 doubles, and 881 walks. Santana may be one of the most patient players in the game today, and it’s that patience that the Royals need.

Santana did have a bit of a slumped 2020 season, slashing .199/.349/.350, but he did add 8 home runs, and led the American League with 47 walks. Hopefully, he can break that slump and bring his numbers back up for the Royals in 2021.

Baseball Reference and FanGraphs projections for Santana’s 2021 KC Royals season

Baseball Reference and FanGraphs depth charts show very similar projections for Santana, suggesting that he will continue to find his way on base with ease. Baseball Reference has Santana slashing .239/.359/.429, with 24 home runs and 95 walks. FanGraphs has him with a similar slash line at .246/.365/.426, adding 22 home runs and 97 walks.

What could the 2021 season actually hold for Carlos Santana and the KC Royals?

For Santana, both the Baseball Reference and FanGraphs projections could easily be true. Both being so similar, Santana could fall right in line with either, but it would be surprising to see him outdo them as well.

Santana is coming off of a down 2020, but he is coming to a new ballpark and it’s been said that he enjoys hitting at Kauffman, sporting 18 home runs in 74 career games there. This could be the reset he needs to get things going again.

Santana likely won’t have the highest batting average on the team, his career average is .428. But, if he continues to be patient at the plate, Santana will likely lead the team in on-base percentage and walks. Hopefully, he will also pass some of his veteran knowledge down to the next generation of Royals.

While there are still some unknowns that surround Santana’s offensive game for 2021, fans can bank on Santana getting his steps in and seeing more walks than usual at Kauffman.

KC Royals Projections: Carlos Hernandez needs work. dark. Next

Carlos Santana needs to shake off his 2020 season and focus on moving forward with the KC Royals.