Baltimore Orioles: Five Storylines To Follow In The Second Half
3) Anthony Santander- Major League outfielder for the Baltimore Orioles or just another guy?
Similar to Chance Sisco, Anthony Santander is making the most of his opportunity at the major league level. Beginning the season in Triple-A, Santander showed a streaky bat, hitting just .259 in 48 games for the Tides. His call-up was a bit surprising, only because he was in the midst of one of his cold streaks at the time, but he’s been moderately warm since boarding the shuttle to Camden Yards.
The storyline to follow here is whether or not Santander develops into a major league outfielder or another version of Joey Rickard. Even the slightest bit of success for an O’s player makes him look like an All-Star, which clouds the view of exactly what type of player they are. Santander is the perfect example of this.
Right at league average during his big league time, Santander is currently hitting .274 with a .333 OBP, four home runs, and owns a wRC+ of 105. His sub-18% strikeout rate is a product of his much-improved awareness at the plate. Compared to his 2018 stint with the Orioles, Santander has cut his O-Swing rate (swings at pitches outside of the zone), increased his overall contact rate (85.4%), and has a minuscule 7% swinging strikeout rate.
Defensively, Santander isn’t afraid to sacrifice his body to make the catch, routinely crashing into walls to save an inning and occasionally robbing a home run in Houston (Orioles Defensive Play of the Year?). If he can continue to get on base and make improvements at the plate, maybe he develops into a solid fourth-outfield option or an intriguing trade piece. There is a long list of young outfielders who will be demanding playing time in the near future and you can only keep so many.
Be sure to watch Santander closely the rest of the way.