Making the Grade: Ranking First Basemen in the AL Central

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No. 3: Carlos Santana, Cleveland Indians

Sep 14, 2014; Detroit, MI, USA; Cleveland Indians first baseman Carlos Santana (41) at bat against the Detroit Tigers at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

There was time last season when Carlos Santana seemed destined for the bench. He hit .157 in the first month of the season and followed that up with a putrid .169 performance in May.

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Santana has always seemed to play the game on feel and rhythm and his unproductive first half was no different. Playing behind the dish for the previous four seasons, Santana moved into the field first time and was forced to adjust to life bouncing between third base and first base on a regular basis. He struck out at a much higher clip and regressed drastically after several promising years for the Tribe.

But the real Santana showed himself after the All-Star break, slashing .260 / .385 / .475 in his final 242 at-bats. He cut his strikeouts in half and drove the ball into the gaps, tallying 26 extra-base knocks on 63 total hits.

Santana was a different player in the second half of the season and he was the middle-of-the-order bat Cleveland needs to compete in 2015. Expect him to pick up where he left off last season and help carry the load as the Tribe competes for the AL Central crown.

Next: No. 2