Orioles: Anthony Santander is the Hottest Hitter in the AL
Since his return from the injured list last week, Orioles outfielder Anthony Santander has been the hottest hitter in the American League
Last Friday, outfielder Anthony Santander was activated off the injured list and returned to the Baltimore Orioles lineup to play in this season’s first showing of the Beltway Series against the Washington Nationals. The IL stint came after Santander suffered a sprained left ankle against the Miami Marlins in late April.
Since his return, Santander has been nearly unstoppable at the plate, recording hits in each of the seven games he has played in. Santander is slashing .400/.419/.700 in his 31 plate appearances over this span, positioning himself as the only hitter in the American League batting .400 with at least 30 plate appearances since last Friday. His only company across all of Major League Baseball is the San Diego Padres’ superstar shortstop, Fernando Tatis Jr., who is batting .455 in his 30 plate appearances over the past week.
Including the two games prior to his time on the injured list, Anthony Santander currently owns a nine-game hitting streak, which is the longest active hitting streak among American League hitters. Santander’s nine games trail just Nick Castellanos‘ 13-game streak and Garrett Cooper‘s 11-game streak for the longest in Major League Baseball.
Although his batted ball sample size is below the qualified minimum, Santander’s significant uptick in average exit velocity and hard-hit rate are definite indicators of his success at the plate. So far this season, Santander has put a hard-hit ball into play on a staggering 50% of his batted ball events, which is by far the highest mark of his career. His superb ability to make hard contact has reflected in the standard numbers, as seven of his 12 hits since returning off the IL have gone for extra bases.
If Santander is capable of continuing the season near this pace, particularly regarding his hard-hit rate, it wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility to see him make a run at a spot on the All-Star team.