I Miss Johan Santana
We as Mets fans have the ultimate pleasure of getting to watch and root for Jacob deGrom every 5th day. His start on Friday night against the Nationals was honest to god the best pitching performance I have ever seen. There have been games that have better strikeout numbers like Kerry Woods 20 strikeout game or many of the no hitters and perfect games thrown, but I have never seen someone look so dominant and have every hitter look like children as much as deGrom did to Washington. But I got to thinking about dominant pitching and my mind shifted to Johan Santana. People seem to forget just how good Johan was in his prime. He had a 5 year stretch that is just about as good as anyone in the 21st century.
From 2004-2008, Johan had a combined ERA of 2.82, a combined WHIP of 1.02, and 1189 strikeouts which is 238 Ks per year. And if we want to get more analytical with it, he had an average 159 ERA+ in those years. The fact that he only made three all star games in that stretch is mind blowing considering he won two Cy Youngs, should’ve won in 2005 as well but that’s a different story, and finished in the top 10 in MVP voting three times. Even beyond that dominate stretch of years, Johan would become the first player in Mets history to throw a No Hitter on June 1st 2012, well past his best years but still was able to shut down a Cardinals team who made it all the way to Game 7 of the NLCS. MLB Network did a segment talking about Jacob deGrom as a HOFer and compared his current stretch of dominance directly to Johans with Santana even having a better ERA+.
Much like it is now with deGrom, it was an absolute pleasure to watch Johan pitch every 5th day. It’s a shame that Johan was one and done on the Hall of Fame ballot because for a large part of the 2000s, he was considered maybe the best pitcher in the league and it’s a shame that people forget that.
PS, He had maybe the best Changeup I’ve ever seen.