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Where does Carlos Santana rank among AL Central designated hitters?

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After moving across the outfield, we have just one more regular hitting position to peruse, the designated hitter.

This is likely why Carlos Santana is moving to designated hitter this year.
This is likely why Carlos Santana is moving to designated hitter this year.
Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

With the outfield looking right around average or so within the division, can the designated hitter position help tip the scales when it comes to the AL Central projections?

Let's see how Carlos Santana is slated to perform.

Cleveland Indians

For the third season in a row, it appears that Carlos Santana will have a new position to call his own. After beginning as a catcher, he moved to third base in 2014, then to first base last year, and this year designated hitter, the loneliest of positions.

He hasn't hit all that well as a DH in the past (.248/.345/.395 in 521 PA), so it will be curious to see if he can reverse that trend. He is also entering his final year of a five-year $21M extension he signed in 2012, although the Indians front office has a very friendly $1.2 million option in 2017. Mike Napoli could also see time here as well.

Carlos Santana

PA

HR

AVG

OBP

SLG

wOBA

wRC+

WAR

Steamer

615

21

239

363

419

342

117

1.7

ZIPS

601

21

244

366

431

348

121

2.3

Marcel

599

20

242

357

419

Chicago White Sox

Adam LaRoche returns for his second -- and likely final -- year as the White Sox DH. He really struggled last year (.207/.293/.340) and turns 36 in 2016. Very ominous signs all the way around. Jose Abreu could also play here when he isn't at first.

Adam LaRoche

PA

HR

AVG

OBP

SLG

wOBA

wRC+

WAR

Steamer

397

14

223

317

394

311

94

0.0

ZIPS

477

18

226

317

401

311

94

0.2

Marcel

501

17

232

319

394

Detroit Tigers

LGFT Victor Martinez enters his second year of a ludicrous four-year $68 million deal he signed last offseason. He will be 37 this year. Unsurprisingly, he played off and on, rarely healthy last year, putting up a .245/.301/.366 line. I could see him nosediving this season pretty easily, which would make me sad for Victor, but not for the Tigers. I'd also expect to see more of Miguel Cabrera here as the season progresses.

Victor Martinez

PA

HR

AVG

OBP

SLG

wOBA

wRC+

WAR

Steamer

533

15

289

350

445

338

113

0.7

ZIPS

497

18

279

338

451

332

109

0.9

Marcel

507

16

280

341

438

Kansas City Royals

After floundering in 2014 when he missed most of the year because of the qualifying offer, Kendrys Morales responded nicely for the Royals last year. He put up a .290/.346/.487 line in 639 PA. He is in his final year of his contract at $9 million, but the there is a mutual option for 2017 at $11 million with a $1.5 million buyout. He will also be 33 this year. Salvador Perez is named as his backup for the time being.

Kendrys Morales

PA

HR

AVG

OBP

SLG

wOBA

wRC+

WAR

Steamer

587

19

270

335

440

335

111

0.7

ZIPS

565

18

276

336

444

337

113

1.3

Marcel

560

17

263

327

430

Minnesota Twins

In a move that the Tribe should have been on, the Twins paid a $12.85 million posting fee to the Nexen Heroes in the Korean League to acquire the rights to Byung-Ho Park. They then signed him to a four-year deal worth just $12 million total and one club option. Park is just 29 and hits right handed.

Byung-ho Park

PA

HR

AVG

OBP

SLG

wOBA

wRC+

fWAR

Steamer

381

20

254

327

478

345

118

1.1

ZIPS

613

27

266

333

463

343

116

2.4

Marcel

No data

My take

Many thought a true DH was a dying breed, but it appears on paper that each of the AL Central teams will employ something close to a full-time DH. LaRoche is probably the worst of the lot and Victor may continue his decline to replacement level. I think Park was a very shrewd signing but he may find it difficult at first as the pitching here is much tougher than in Korea. That just means Santana has to outperform Morales, which I think should be an easy task.

I'd rank them as follows:

  1. Santana
  2. Park
  3. Morales
  4. Martinez
  5. LaRoche

Please post your rankings in the comments.

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