Johan Santanta to be Inducted into Twins HOF; Looking Back at his Numbers…. Wow.
Whether or not Johan Santana ends up in the Baseball Hall of Fame has been a hot topic as of late. Until January 24th, the Cooperstown situation will remain looking a lot like a normally sure gap-shot with Torii Hunter or Byron Buxton in center field. The actual outcome is up TBD.
However, one thing is for certain: Santana will be enshrined into the Twins’ Hall of Fame. Per Friday’s announcement, the organization’s 2x Cy Young winner is going to be inducted, during pregame, on August 4th, at Target Field.
— Minnesota Twins (@Twins) January 19, 2018
For someone who was originally considered an outfield prospect, Johan Santana has had a remarkable career (not officially retired). The Venezuelan native was first signed by the Astros organization in 1995. Minnesota ended up acquiring Santana four years later, via the Rule 5 Draft. By then, Houston had already converted him to a pitcher.
After a decent, but low volume start to his Twins tenure, Santana really blossomed in 2002. Yo-Yo finished that year with a sub 3.00 ERA and a WHIP just over 1.22. Then, over the next half a decade as Minnesota’s ace, he became EASILY the most dominant pitcher in the majors. From 2003-2007, the lefty was changing speeds better than my 10-speed… and I’m not talking Schwinn.
Prior to the 2008 season, the Twins traded Santana to the Yankees less talented, more fun to be around little brother. For some of you, that subject may still be sensitive. In his first three years with the Mets, Johan produced ERA’s of 2.53 (2008), 3.13 (2009), and 2.98 (2010). It wasn’t looking good for the Twins.
Now, this story isn’t all bad but let me hit on the worst part first. Let’s take a look at the supposed conversations and possible offers the Twins had when trading Santana. Let’s just say the rumors weren’t lacking. And as for the quality in those rumors/supposed offers? Have you ever went shopping at a Lexus dealership?
Take a look at this as written by BaseballProspectus.com shortly after Santana was traded to the Mets:
It was like being let loose for a shopping spree in the prospect store, or so Twins fans hoped. In the Red Sox aisle were Jacoby Ellsbury, Jon Lester, Clay Buchholz, Justin Masterson, and Jed Lowrie. In the Yankees department were Joba Chamberlain, Phil Hughes, Melky Cabrera, Ian Kennedy, and Austin Jackson. And in the Mets section were Fernando Martinez, Carlos Gomez, Deolis Guerra, Jon Niese, and Kevin Mulvey.
Ellsbury? Buchholz? Lester? Masterson? Kennedy?
Now initially, the Big Apple probably felt pretty good about themselves.
By joining Eddie Guardado, Torii Hunter, and Michael Cuddyer, Johan becomes the fourth Twin from the 2000’s to be elected into Minnesota’s HOF.
Santana headed some good Twins’ pitching rotations. And in 2006, with Francisco Liriano right behind him, they were the best 1-2 punch in the MLB. A buzz-saw that even the best lineups weren’t making it through unscathed. Santana finished 2006 with a 2.77 ERA and a 19-6 record while Liriano went 12-3 with just a 2.16 ERA. Oh, those 12 wins came AFTER he was stuck with bullpen duty for all of April and half of May.
And in that 2006 season, the Twins were GOOD. They ended the season with a 96-66 record. Unfortunately, in classic Minnesota style, the Twins were swept by the Athletics in the Divisional Round of the playoffs that year.
At the plate, the 2018 Twins team should be even more entertaining than last year’s version (knock on wood). However, bolstering our starting pitching before opening day, to resemble ANYTHING like that 2006 squad remains priority 1-A. Well at least they already have a Johan (now Ervin) Santana. Now you just need to surround him with some more talent.
ervin santana tidbit: he was born johan santana. changed name in 2003 to ervin to avoid confusion. #twins
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) December 13, 2014
Regardless of what we get in free agency, we aren’t matching the ace we had to lean on in the early 2000s. With all due respect to our guy Ervin (Johan), he’s not the same pitcher. He must have known he wasn’t filling those shoes. However, I do have one guy in mind who could make this starting rotation LEGIT. And with the bullpen Falvine has now put together….. watch out.