Braves' recently acquired outfielder heating up at plate
By Kaelen Jones
ANAHEIM -- Danny Santana is working to prove he's worth an investment.
The Braves received the 26-year-old outfielder from the Twins in exchange for left-handed pitcher Kevin Chapman earlier this month. Santana had gone from hitting .319 with seven homers, 40 RBIs and 20 stolen bases during his 2014 rookie season to hitting just .215 with no home runs the following year.
At the time he was traded, he was batting .200 and had been designated for assignment after 14 games with Minnesota this season. His rough start followed him to his new club in Atlanta, as he went 18 plate appearances through nine games without recording a hit.
However, Santana has begun to show signs of significant life. He's logged hits in four of his last six games, batting .286 with five RBIs over that span. On Monday, he clocked a two-run double off the wall in right field at Angel Stadium that gave Atlanta its largest lead in an eventual 6-3 victory.
The hit had an exit velocity of 106.7 mph, according to Statcast™. It was the hardest hit of the ballgame.
"He whistles that bat," said Braves manager Brian Snitker. "He runs good. He's got skills."
Snitker went as far as to say Santana was "an impressive young man," and insists that increased playing time will only help him the capture consistent form. Santana agrees, adding he was surprised the Twins shipped him away so early in the season.
"I'm happy because I didn't play there; I play more now," he said.
The Braves are in the midst of a three-game set against an American League team, which means an extra batter as the DH, and they are missing injured infielders Freddie Freeman and Brandon Phillips. This enabled Atlanta to take a look at Santana, who's in the midst of his best stretch of the season.
"It's a good situation, I think, a couple days to work him in," Snitker said. "Kid has some skills, just hadn't had a lot of time prior to us getting him. And it's just kind of hard in our game to get him in. But he's done a good job with the opportunities he's had."
Santana expressed his growing level of comfort.
"I feel a lot better than my first couple games [here]," he said. "I have more opportunity to play and show what I've got."
Kaelen Jones is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.