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Carlos Santana's 2015 season still is creating arguments

Where do YOU stand on Carlos?

Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Want to start an argument among a group of Indians fans?  Just ask them what they think of a certain first baseman named Carlos Santana.

Thousands of words and countless passionate comments have been written on the Santana issue.  Some fans simply cannot stand him.  They'll bring up his low batting average, the only borderline power for a corner position, the lack of improvement, the lousy first base defense, the high number of pitches he doesn't swing at, and even his relatively carefree attitude.  Those fans want him gone; sent off to some other team for a bag of balls and some other scraps.  "Good riddance!," they yell.

Other fans take Santana for what he is.  Sure, they wish he was more Victor Martinez and hit for a better batting average.  But they'll gladly take him and his fantastic patience, which leads to a consistently high on-base percentage.  Plus, these fans see him as a value, thanks to his club-friendly contract.

While Santana's 2015 season was not as strong as all Tribe fans would have wanted, it still was solid enough to earn him seventh place in the LGT MVP balloting.  There were no extreme hot stretches or horrid cold months in Santana's year, just a rather routine-like season that saw him slash .231/.357/.395 in 666 (!?!) plate appearances.  The 29-year-old blasted three home runs during his first thirteen games, but finished with just 19 on the season, while driving in 72 runs.  Certainly not a speedster, Santana did somehow manage to steal 11 bases, a career high.  He bounced around the lineup hitting 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 7th, and 9th, with just over half his appearances coming as the club's cleanup hitter.

Santana's 110 wRC+ shows he was better than the average hitter, but that was 18 points lower than his 2014 season value.  Those marks were helped in large part by Santana's excellent patience at the plate.  His 108 walks was second in the American League, behind only Jose Bautista, and over the last five years only Joey Votto has more walks than Santana.

Ultimately, the Tribe needs more from Santana.  2015, however, was not as bad a season for him as many fans would believe.  With a club-friendly contract that contains a reasonable option for 2017, it seems reasonable to expect Santana to be in the Indians lineup the next two April's.  Here's hoping we see him much higher on next year's Tribe MVP list and for the arguments about him to simmer down.

Month G PA H 1B 2B 3B HR SB AVG OBP SLG wRC+ fWAR
April 21 89 17 12 2 0 3 2 .239 .393 .394 127 -
May 22 108 18 11 4 0 3 1 .217 .370 .373 110 -
June 26 109 18 9 6 0 3 0 .189 .294 .347 77 -
July 26 101 23 12 7 1 3 4 .271 .386 .482 140 -
August 28 126 27 18 6 0 3 2 .248 .333 .385 96 -
September 31 133 24 15 4 1 4 2 .224 .376 .393 114 -
Total 154 666 127 77 29 2 19 11 .231 .357 .395 110 2.4