Baltimore Orioles: Anthony Santander’s breakout year may be over

Anthony Santander of the Baltimore Orioles. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
Anthony Santander of the Baltimore Orioles. (Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images) /

The season may be over for Baltimore Orioles outfielder Anthony Santander.

There’s no official timetable at the moment, but it appears as if the 2020 season may be over for Baltimore Orioles outfielder Anthony Santander.

Santander hurt himself on Friday night against the New York Yankees, suffering an oblique strain while taking a swing in Friday night’s doubleheader. Manager Brandon Hyde confirmed that Santander has been placed on the Injured List on Saturday and could miss the rest of the season.

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With only three weeks left in the regular season, there’s little time for Santander to make a full recovery and get back out on the field.

It’s extremely depressing news for the former Rule 5 draft pick who has having a breakout season for the Baltimore Orioles.

In 37 games this year, Santander was slashing .261/.315/.575 with 11 home runs, 13 doubles, one triple, and 32 RBI. Only Mike Trout, Nelson Cruz, Luke Voit, Jose Abreu, and Teoscar Hernandez have more home runs in the American League than Santander and only Willy Adames has more doubles. Santander also ranked third in the AL in RBI.

He had already matched his career-high with a 0.7 fWAR in 2020 and while the outfield defense wasn’t always reliable, it was much improved over last season.

Santander showed improvements across the board this season, including in his ability to get on base. Before his injury, Santander was walking a career-high 6% of the time and had slashed his strikeout rate to a career-low 15%.

Entering 2020, Orioles fans needed to see Santander get on base more and become a consistent hitter at the plate, both of which he was doing well this season.

His improvements at the plate have led many to believe Santander is a long-term answer in the outfield for the Baltimore Orioles, a young team looking for lots of answers in 2020 as to who can be a valuable contributor moving forward.

It’s crushing news for the 25-year-old outfielder, but there’s no doubt that he will be back in 2021 with a large amount of optimism surrounding him.

The loss of Santander would obviously mean that perhaps Orioles fans get the opportunity to see Yusniel Diaz make his MLB debut this year. Diaz was the centerpiece of the 2018 Manny Machado trade with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Injuries have limited his playing time over the last year, but his big right field arm and impressive approach at the plate have fans and the organization excited about his future.

Unfortunately, that doesn’t appear to be the immediate answer to fill the void left by Santander. According to’s Steve Melewski, DJ Stewart will take over primary duties in right field, while the Orioles have also recalled outfielder Mason Williams to the active roster.

Stewart, a former first-round pick of the Orioles, is 0-16 on the year. Williams was just recently designated for assignment, but cleared waivers and returned to the team’s alternate site in Bowie.

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Best wishes for a speedy recovery for Anthony Santander and, hopefully, we see a healthy and rejuvenated Santander in the Baltimore Orioles outfield next year.