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The ever-patient Carlos Santana
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - A Carlos Santana plate appearance this season has been about as long as a half-inning break ... and much less eventful.

At least half-inning breaks have jumbotron entertainment, kiss cams and mascot races.

Santana's 107 plate appearances have yielded a .140 average, two homers, six RBI and a 21/21 K/BB.

Prior to his two-hit, one-homer, three-RBI game Monday against the Los Angeles Angels, Santana had gone 4-for-63 (.063).

The 28-year-old has seen 4.73 pitches per plate appearance, first in baseball and 0.14 more than anyone else, and his 19.6 percent walk rate ranks third among qualified hitters.

If Major League Baseball ever decides to take the initiative to attempt to shorten the time of games, Santana may be on the chopping block. He's the antithesis of what our "microwave culture" wants to see.

I don't think Santana's struggles are a product of being too patient and allowing too many hittable pitches to pass, however.

While he may let the occasional fat pitch go, his swing rate on balls in the strike zone is 59.8 percent, which is only the 39th-lowest rate in baseball, according to Baseball Info Solutions.

The bigger issue for Santana is that he hasn't crushed the strikes he's been swinging at, which is one of the reasons he's hitting a putrid .159 on balls in play.

The best way for a player to hit for a high batting average on balls in play (BABIP) is to hit a lot of line drives and a low number of infield fly balls.

Santana's 10.9 percent line-drive rate is tied for the fifth-lowest mark in the majors and his 19.2 percent infield fly-ball rate is 13th highest.

Working in Santana's favor is that he hasn't lost his plate discipline or begun to expand the zone despite his frustrating slump.

He has the fifth-best chase rate among qualified batters at 17.3 percent, so he's mostly been swinging at strikes.

There's very little chance that, at age 28, Santana has lost the ability to hit strikes hard, so he should be able to regroup.

Until he does, fantasy owners will have to take a page out of Santana's book and wait.




Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Thomas J. Harrigan at tharrigan@sportsnetwork.com.

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