Thursday, January 30, 2014

The Ramon Santiago era in Detroit is over

Ramon Santiago played for the Detroit Tigers from May of 2002 until the end of this last season in 2013, with the exception of the 2004 and 2005 seasons, which he spent in Seattle. During the ten years that Santiago was a Tiger, he racked up a .244/.312/.333 line with 540 hits, 28 home runs, 195 RBI's and 28 stolen bases. Doesn't sound very impressive, but I would like to point out some of the value that Santiago brought to the Tigers, before he disappears into anonymity. Ramon Santiago actually, believe it or not, ranks in the top 50 in 5 statistical categories in Detroit Tigers franchise history.

11th in HBP with 48
17th in Defensive WAR with 5.5
25th in Sac hits with 25 (right in front of Mickey Lolich)
T-47th in Sac flies with 15 (Tied with V-Mart)
47th in Games Played with 818 (one game ahead of Carlos Guillen, whom he was actually traded for)

(Another fun fact, Santiago is the only baseball player in history to make the play-offs with the Detroit Tigers 4 different times)

Ramon Santiago was your typical utility bench player, the guy every team has that can play all the infield positions, can come in late defensively if needed, or fill a starting spot if a starter needs a day off or is injured. Most teams rotate through this utility player every couple of years, yet Detroit managed to hold onto theirs for a decade, something that isn't seen all that often. This is probably because Santiago appeared to do all the little things right, as evidenced by the stats above. He was a switch-hitter, good fielder, and delivered sacrifice bunts and sacrifice flies when he needed to. To rank 25th in Tiger history in Sac hits when he is well out of the top 50 in At-Bats is pretty remarkable. Santiago was great at the "hustle stats" that make up a gritty baseball player. Santiago played shortstop the most, but also played second and third in his time in Detroit, and graded out overall as a good fielder. Good fielding, good bunting, good execution on sac flies, and of course taking one for the team are all qualities that are necessary, if not imperative, for a bench/role player. Ramon Santiago epitomized that role with above average skills in the categories that mattered. He was not an everyday player, and anything over 400 plate appearances was probably too much. (He only had one season over over 400 PA's, and he had a -0.8 WAR). However, Santiago appears to me to have been at least above average at the tasks that he was asked to do, and for that, we salute you. Santiago is 33 years old and his last two seasons (.215/.290/.279) prove that he may be on the decline. He signed with the Reds, and I do wish him luck over in the National League. A good example of how a player can hold value just by doing the little things right.

1 comment:

  1. Never thought to appreciate a utility player - good points!