Santana dropped out of cleanup spot

Carlos Santana was mercifully dropped in the lineup on Friday, the first time in his career he did not hit either 3rd or 4th.

There’s a decent chance he’ll climb back up later this season, but what if he doesn’t? Where would his miserably stint as the cleanup hitter rank in Indians history?

Over the past 90 seasons 132 different players have started at least 40 games in the four-hole in an individual year. Of those 132 only Moose Solters, who hit cleanup 44 times in 1938, posted a lower batting average than Santana.

Solters season was a confusing one. The previous year he hit .323 with 20 homers – just the 4th different Indian to reach the 20 home run plateau. I did some research to see if I could find the reason for Solters decline (perhaps an injury) but found only this mention from the Baseball Biography Project:

Solters had played well under manager Steve O’Neill in 1937, but new skipper Ossie Vitt was another story altogether in 1938. For whatever reason, perhaps his holdout, Vitt played Solters rather little. He went into a prolonged slump and by that time, Vitt couldn’t in all fairness to the team keep sending him out there day after day. He benched Solters. Moose recovered some in 1939, and was hitting .275 after his first 41 games. He was put on waivers and claimed by his old team, the Browns, for the $7,500 waiver price.

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2 thoughts on “Santana dropped out of cleanup spot

  1. But he’s walking a ton. A cleanup hitter he may not be yet, but a superb offensive catcher he definitely is. He had a good OBP, especially considering his BA. He’s not as bad as his BA would indicate.

  2. Agree 100%. He’ll turn it around. Down in the order he’ll start seeing more fastballs which should quickly improve the BA and power numbers. only a matter of time before he’s back in the middle of the order.

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