Is Johan Santana as good as advertised?
Something I keep hearing from New York Met fans is that Johan Santana is just unlucky. “He’s pitching great, but he’s unlucky. The freakin’ guy’s amazing.”
In actuality he hasn’t been that great. He’s been just slightly above league average. His velocity has been way down, but he’s done a good job of throwing strikes and hitting his spots.
Granted it is very early in the season and this is an extremely small sample size, but where Santana has been great is at the pitcher friendly Citi Field. He’s pitched three out of four games there and the one road game he did pitch, he was crushed by Atlanta.
Looking at his splits even further we notice there’s a drop off in velocity and control, even further after pitch 75. Yes, he has two losses and no wins, but that is in no way indicative of his performance.
One of the biggest misnomers in pitching for decades has been the emphasis on wins and losses. Being that baseball is a team sport there is little a pitcher can do in regards to run scored and the Mets are a bad team. Santana would be hard pressed to keep his team in every game this season, especially if he can’t pitch well on the road.
Santana was one of the best in the game when he was in tip top shape and I expect him to get back there at some point. If his velocity doesn’t come back he has the ability to become a Greg Maddux type pitcher with pinpoint control.
His shoulder surgery was similar to what the Yankees Michael Pineda is going through now. It’s early in the season, so it’s good to see the interest in the Mets is high, considering they’re going to finish in last, but before we get all hyperbolic let’s remember he hasn’t pitched in over a year (before the season started) and doing well at Citi Graveyard is not indicative of what will happen on the road.