Anthony Santander’s 2020 season may be over. The Orioles outfielder suffered an oblique strain during the first game of Saturday’s doubleheader against the Yankees and according to manager Brandon Hyde, the injury could keep him out of the rest of 2020 action. What a bummer.
Santander has been the best Orioles player to date, as measured by Baseball Reference WAR. With 1.5 WAR, he’s the only Orioles player above 1.0. His 11 home runs lead the team, as well as his 32 RBI and .575 slugging percentage.
It’s been fun to watch him. One of the things to look forward to in this strange 2020 season was seeing which relatively young player might step up and solidify his place as part of the next good Orioles team.
Santander is one of the few who’s really blown away expectations. His 37 games played mean that his 2020 performance is still a bit of a small sample size, no guarantee to continue into the future, but as I like to say, it’s better to have a good small sample size that you have to pump the brakes on the excitement rather than a bad small sample size where you have to tell yourself why it will get better.
The short-term impact of this for the Orioles is that DJ Stewart is now lined up to get the bulk of the playing time in right field. Perhaps the hitless Stewart will be able to seize the opportunity he is being given to also show that he belongs on the next good Orioles team.
With Santander headed to the injured list, the Orioles have brought Mason Williams back from the alternate training site. Williams cleared waivers yesterday and would not have been allowed to return except to replace an injured player.
Williams has only had 11 plate appearances so far this season, batting .182/.182/.364. At 28, he’s a little old to be in the group of guys auditioning for the next good O’s team. If his role is mostly “late innings defensive replacement for Ryan Mountcastle” or something like that, that’s not so bad.