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After spending the first eight years of his career in Cleveland, Carlos Santana is finally getting a change in scenery as he joins the Philadelphia Phillies. The signing comes as somewhat of a surprise, as the Phillies finished with the third-worst record in MLB in 2017 and are clearly in a rebuilding mode.

Santana will take over at first base for the Phillies and will immediately provide an improvement over what Philadelphia had last year. He brings with him a career .249 average and .365 on-base percentage, while also averaging 83 runs, 25 home runs and 85 RBI per year.

At this point in his career, Santana has proven himself to be a fairly consistent bat in the Indians' lineup, but how will his numbers fare as a member of the weaker Phillies lineup? Can he really have "phantasy" value in Philadelphia?

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Still Just as Smooth?

Philadelphia used six different players at first base in 2017 and they combined to hit .247 with a .309 OBP and a .450 slugging percentage. Meanwhile, in 154 games for Cleveland, Santana had a .259 average with a .363 OBP and a .455 SLG. The last time a Philadelphia first baseman hit at least .250 with a .345 OBP or higher was in 2011 when Ryan Howard hit .253 with a .346 OBP.

Playing in the loaded Indians lineup, Santana hit primarily out of the six-spot, but in almost one quarter of his starts he hit at the top of the order. While he might not be the lead off batter for Philadelphia he will almost assuredly be in the top of the lineup due to his proficiency in getting on base. Phillies second baseman Cesar Hernandez was the only member of the team with a higher OBP than Santana in 2017, and Santana had a higher walk rate (13.2%) than anyone on the Phillies with at least 250 plate appearances.

Santana should continue to get on base consistently for the Phillies, but some of his counting stats are likely going to suffer in Philadelphia. The Phillies averaged 4.26 runs per game in 2017 — the fourth-fewest in the majors — and were among the 10 worst teams in the majors at getting on base with a .315 OBP.

With the Indians last year, Santana accounted for 11 percent of the team's runs scored with 90 runs and 10.1 percent of the team's RBI with 79. Accruing the same percentages of the 2017 Phillies' runs scored and RBI would have given Santana 14 fewer runs and 12 fewer RBI — dropping him from above-average in both categories to almost exactly the league average.

Santana joining the Phillies not only affects his fantasy value, but also the value of several other Phillies players. While he didn't set the world on fire with his numbers, the Phillies' primary first baseman in 2017, Tommy Joseph, had a .240 average and was second on the team in HR (22) and RBI (69) behind third baseman Maikel Franco in both categories. Now, best case scenario he ends up in a platoon split with Santana, otherwise he's relegated to the bench.

Rhys Hoskins — ranked the Phillies No. 4 prospect by Baseball America in 2017 — hit .259 with 18 HR and a .618 SLG in his MLB debut and seemed to be set to compete for the starting first base job in Spring Training. Now it appears he'll be competing with Aaron Altherr to start in left field according to the Phillies team depth chart. Altherr had a breakout year in 2017, as he led the team with a .516 SLG, was second with a .340 OBP and third with 19 HR. Now he may end up losing playing time if Hoskins has a strong Spring Training.

Bottom line: If you're in a 10- or 12-team mixed league, you're likely not going to draft any Phillies hitters besides Santana and maybe Franco. In NL-only leagues, Hoskins, Joseph and Altherr may end up providing some value still, but owners should avoid drafting them any higher than as a late-round flier for now. Once a clearer picture can be formed as to how they will split playing time, then they could be worth picking up off the waiver wire.

Santana will be a better pick up in NL-only and OBP leagues, but in mixed leagues you're going to be looking at him as probably a low-end corner infielder.

 

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