Who is Anthony Santander?

The Orioles aren't going anywhere, but Anthony Santander is swinging sweetly right now (Matt Kartozian, USA Today)
The Orioles aren't going anywhere, but Anthony Santander is swinging sweetly right now (Matt Kartozian, USA Today)

The Baltimore baseball experience still has a lot to offer. Grab your crabcake, order up a Natty Boh. Enjoy the stroll by the harbor, settle into a gem of a park. Watch the other team take batting practice, be it before the game or during it.

The Orioles lineup isn’t as shameful as the pitching staff, but it’s a problem, too. The Orioles are 27th in runs. But there are a few fantasy gems in this group, names we need to take seriously in mixed leagues.

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And maybe we need to add Anthony Santander to that list.

The Birds are currently on a road trip, and Santander is settling in nicely. He homered the last two games at Arizona, pushing his seasonal slash up to .299/.345/.513. Santander has eight home runs in 40 games. He slots anywhere from third to sixth in the Baltimore lineup.

I understand anyone who’s skeptical of this type of story — Santander was never a prospect, and he was a mere .259/.311/.415 stick in Triple-A this year. On any respectable club, he’d still be in the minors. The desperation of Baltimore’s roster, not anything Santander was doing in the minors, forced the call. And Baseball Savant, via the Statcast data, suggests Santander has been extremely fortunate with his batting average and slugging percentage.

But maybe something’s clicking for the kid at age 24. Back in 2015 and 2016, he showed impressive power in the Cleveland system. And playing time is a currency of its own. We should also note that his walk and strikeout rates are mildly better this year than they were during his 2018 cup of coffee.

Trading on Santander is lukewarm thus far — he’s only 11 percent rostered in Yahoo. This is the type of player you wouldn’t consider in a shallow mixer, or a format where only three outfielders are required. But in the deeper pools, and in leagues where you need five outfield fills, Santander deserves a kick of the tires.

Rougned Odor finally wakes up

I’ve been patient with Rougned Odor in a few leagues, maybe too patient. You can only live sub-Mendoza for so long. But things are finally starting to pop for Odor, who homered four times in the Seattle series. He’s up to 18 homers on the year, along with seven steals. And the average has finally climbed to .204.

Arlington is the reason we hold on so long to a player like this. It’s oppressively hot in the summer — the team is moving to a much-overdue indoor facility next year — and the runs usually flow easily. Odor is never going to challenge for a batting title, but he hit .253 last year and .271 in 2016. He’s not supposed to be this low. And while Odor is Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride on the bases — 19-for-37 the last two years — at least he’s winning to put in the effort. And for some reason, the Rangers have not put up the red light.

Category juice, anyone? Odor is good to go in about 55 percent of Yahoo leagues.

Go get Justin Turner

Justin Turner has ordinary seasonal numbers, but a big second half could be in play. Turner has four homers over the last two weeks, and his walk/strikeout ratio is an even one. That’s what a locked-in offensive player looks like, controlling his at-bats.

The Dodgers are the highest-scoring team in the National League, and Turner occupies prime real estate — you’ll normally see him in the No. 3 slot. He was a .318/.411/.524 man for the combined 2017 and 2018 seasons, and I think that’s a very attainable level for the balance of the year. He seemed completely healed from a nagging elbow injury that bothered him about a month back.

You obviously can’t pick up Turner, but trading is an option. See what’s out there for you. If that falls short, DFS is a fallback plan.

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