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Friday, January 06, 2017

Johan Santana

Eligible in 2018

DL from MN Posted: January 06, 2017 at 11:24 AM | 19 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. DL from MN Posted: January 08, 2017 at 10:17 PM (#5379955)
Bump
   2. OCF Posted: January 09, 2017 at 12:07 AM (#5379999)
An extract of a longer post I made in the 2018 discussion thread, put here to help bump this thread.

Pitchers, by the RA+ seasonal system I've used from the beginning. This is before any adjustments for either defensive support or the pitcher's own hitting.

Johan Santana:

Equivalent record: 146-79. Big years bonus: 38. Career Fibonacci Win Points: 164. Best 5 years: 19-6, 18-8, 18-8, 18-8, 14-8.



Comparing Santana to Koufax is fair game. So also is comparing him to Saberhagen.
   3. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: January 09, 2017 at 10:13 PM (#5380758)
Pursuant to OCF's post and reposting just below from the 2018 discussion thread.... Yes, I believe Santana is absolutely the Koufax of contemporary times. The gist of this assertion is that it's the seasonal innings TOTALS that are the primary difference, but if you instead look at those seasonal totals RELATIVE TO THEIR RESPECTIVE PEERS, they occupy the same niche/territory in their respective eras.

Posted: December 19, 2016 at 10:33 PM (#5371187)
And I will now being sounding the drumbeat for Johan Santana.

Somewhere on this year's Thibs Hall of Fame tracker thread is a discussion of Santana being the Sandy Koufax of his generation. While someone here will probably do a spit take at my saying so, it makes a ton of sense when you think not about the number of innings they each threw but about how many seasons they pitched, the shape of their careers (both began as RP/spot starters), and how excellent they were in comparison to their peers.

But for a more in-depth look, please check out this article I wrote for an online project in which a pal and I are basically repeating the HOM experience with our own set of rules for election and whatnot. (Actually, our acronym is HoME, but it stands for Hall of Miller and Eric...we weren't trying to be so close to the HOM acronym.)

https://homemlb.wordpress.com/2016/02/10/is-johan-santana-the-contemporary-sandy-koufax/

Not trying to pimp my own blog here, please don't take it that way. But the article is germane (well, big chunks of it).
   4. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: January 09, 2017 at 10:14 PM (#5380759)
Also, I hope it is not gauche for me to not only have posted a link to my own work in another thread but then reposted here. But I really don't want to retype the entire post here.... ;)
   5. Joyful Calculus Instructor Posted: January 09, 2017 at 10:21 PM (#5380761)
Johan Santana was legitimately the best pitcher in baseball for a few years, which is something many Hall of Famers can't say. But yeah, his career was just too short.
   6. Dr. Chaleeko Posted: January 10, 2017 at 07:15 AM (#5380855)
Answering Bleed's post from the main 2018 thread here because...BTF. ;)

Miller is my blogging pardner. He and I are the sole electors. We have a slightly different rule set than the HOM (we don't extend war/MIL/NGL credit for example). Though we are likely to elect NgLers next at which point, we will probably end up extending NgL credit by default to some integration-era players.

Thanks for the contributor links, will have a look. We are down to the last five of them.

I'm happy to talk about specific players but not here because I'd rather not here. But there are some interesting articles we have written researching various nuggets such as Harry Hooper's arm that folks here may find interesting.
   7. BDC Posted: January 10, 2017 at 07:37 AM (#5380857)
Most comparable pitchers by starts and ERA+, ages 25-31:

Player           WAR  GS ERAGF   W  L     IP   SO  ERA  FIP
Roger Clemens   48.8 221  151  0 112 71 1626.0 1507 2.86 2.78
Lefty Grove     48.5 209  153 77 146 61 1834.0 1221 2.84 3.18
Sandy Koufax    46.6 211  156  7 129 47 1632.2 1713 2.19 2.16
Johan Santana   43.3 222  151  0 110 57 1512.1 1479 2.87 3.32 


Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 1/10/2017.

Obviously you can pick the peak of a lot of players' careers and end up with some HOFers at the same age who did about as well. But it seems striking here that ages 25-31 are basically the sum total of Santana being any good as a full-time starter, and the comps are so extremely good (and so extremely limited).
   8. Ardo Posted: January 10, 2017 at 04:03 PM (#5381159)
On Santana vs. Koufax:

Santana and Koufax had effectively the same prime. Thank you, BDC :)

Koufax packed that prime into one fewer season - he retired at age 30. Yes, starting pitcher workloads were greater back then, but there's real value, in a Pennants Added sense, accruing to Koufax. Also, Koufax was legendary in the postseason; Santana, not so much.

Before their primes, Koufax had about 700 IP of exactly league average (ERA+ 100) pitching. Santana had about 400 IP at ERA+ 116. (I'm not counting Santana's attempted-comeback 2012 season; it neither helps nor hurts his candidacy in my eyes.)

In summary, they are highly comparable, with Koufax perhaps a hair better. It's worth noting that Santana is Koufax's third-best comp in Similarity Scores.

It's hard to justify leaving Santana out when we've already inducted Koufax (and Saberhagen, who, IMHO, is less qualified than either one).
   9. Ardo Posted: January 10, 2017 at 04:03 PM (#5381161)
(apologies for the double post)
   10. Infinite Yost (Voxter) Posted: January 10, 2017 at 10:09 PM (#5381396)
One of the few players for whom being hit by a bus at the age of 30 would have been good for their Hall chances.

But #######, Johan was magical in his Twins days. He was short -- listed at 6 feet, probably more like 5'9" or 5'10" -- and very handsome, and he threw with an obviously-bad motion, not ugly but short-armed. Given the vagaries of baseball, maybe he could have survived that, but he didn't. One of the most beautiful things about him was that he threw pretty hard for a lefty, but his best pitch was a, absurd changeup, a pitch that came in 10 MPH slower than his FB with the exact same motion, and which he could make move in various strange ways that completely baffled hitters.

My lasting image of the man will actually probably come from 2003, the year he hung around the Twins' bullpen for half the season while statheads all clamored for him to be "freed". By the playoffs he was pretty much roaming loose, starting twice against the dastardly Yankees, who were on the tail end of their 90s dynasty. Johan pitched well in game 1 and got yanked after 4 innings, leaving my roommates and I, watching on a TV in Palo Alto, CA, screaming for Ron Gardenhire's head even as the Twins bullpen pitched 5 innings to win the game 3-1. Then he got torched for 6 runs in less than 4 innings in game 4, and we were all convinced that the Stinkees dynasty was headed to another World Series.

Johan would go on to deserve 3, and win 2, Cy Youngs over the next three years, and he was one of the most entertaining players in the game through that stretch. A major drama played out before the 2008 season, as the Twins debated various offers for his services from big-market clubs like the Red Sox, Yankees, and Mets. I remember Red Sox fans being loathe to give up Clay Buchholz, and Yankees fans fearing that their FO would give up Phil Hughes and/or Joba Chamberlain for him. Instead, the Mets gave up Carlos Gomez, and in the bizarre way of baseball, things all kind of washed out: Johan had one brilliant season for the Mets, followed by two good-but-abbreviated ones, after which he was pretty much done; Buchholz turned into a frustratingly inconsistent but at times brilliant starter who stuck with the Sox for years; Hughes never really put it together with the Yankees before having one really good season with, of all teams, the Twins, and then disappearing into the land of Hurt Pitcherdom; Joba has been injury-prone and enigmatic, sometimes dazzling but usually a disappointment; and Gomez, at the time a hot prospect amongst tools guys and considered overrated amongst stat guys, sucked ass with the Twins but eventually developed into a star after he decamped for Milwaukee -- before vanishing in a puff of smoke with basically no warning.

Santana was a great pitcher at his best, and there are few guys I've loved to watch more. The tangled web he weaved in the winer of 07-08 stretches even to today.
   11. DL from MN Posted: January 11, 2017 at 10:16 AM (#5381540)
I have heard batters say that Santana tipped his changeup and they still couldn't hit it.
   12. Adam Starblind Posted: January 13, 2017 at 04:05 PM (#5383095)
NgLers


This is (unintentionally) a horrible acronym. Might want to rethink it.
   13. KronicFatigue Posted: January 13, 2017 at 04:38 PM (#5383125)
My lasting image of the man will actually probably come from 2003, the year he hung around the Twins' bullpen for half the season while statheads all clamored for him to be "freed".


I'm very partial to Johan and this time period. I was in college (99/00) when I discovered Rob Neyer which lead to sabermetrics, this site, etc. It was a glorious time b/c the math had yet to get overly complicated, and the Joe Morgan's of the world still dominated conventional wisdom.

John Santana made me a lot of money. Especially when he was racking up 200k's with RP fantasy status. He was my go to in every draft for a number of years and continued to enjoy the later part of his career with the Mets.

His peak was a ton of fun to experience.
   14. Sleepless in Munich Posted: January 13, 2017 at 04:51 PM (#5383129)
I think that Santana has the 'Kevin Brown problem'. He ended his career on a bad long-term contract, somewhat overshadowing his earlier brilliance.
   15. cardsfanboy Posted: January 13, 2017 at 05:16 PM (#5383138)
Pursuant to OCF's post and reposting just below from the 2018 discussion thread.... Yes, I believe Santana is absolutely the Koufax of contemporary times. The gist of this assertion is that it's the seasonal innings TOTALS that are the primary difference, but if you instead look at those seasonal totals RELATIVE TO THEIR RESPECTIVE PEERS, they occupy the same niche/territory in their respective eras.


I'm not a hom voter (but I love this place) but there is of course an era difference argument.

If you have two pitchers, one in 1966 and one in 1998 and barring Schilling level of weirdness in unearned runs.

Pitcher A throws the league average number of innings and posts a 100 era+ in 1966 while pitcher B throws the league average number of innings and posts a 100 era+ in 1998, who is more valuable? Obviously pitch A is more valuable because he throws 30 or so more innings. So even though relative to average Santana and Koufax is no different, the fact is that Koufax is starting off at a higher level to begin with. (not to mention, that there is an argument to be made that post 1975 or so, the quality of relievers has improved over 1966 relievers and it makes it more obvious that Koufax is separating the gap)


Note: I think Santana is probably deserving of the hof, and more than deserving of the hom. The guy was a stud.
   16. shoewizard Posted: January 13, 2017 at 06:59 PM (#5383158)
CFB, a couple of things

There are some conventional wisdoms that I am sure there has been research done on that but I don't know where it is that may be in play here.

One might be that It was easier for SP of past generations and especially in the 60's to navigate lineups and pitch deep into games. Pitchers could "pace themselves", take a little off a breaking pitch or their fastball, as there were fewer hitters that could hurt them by taking them deep, and most guys were choking up with 2 strikes and just trying to put it in play. So easier to throw more innings.


If Santana pitched in the 60's, he would have thrown 300 IP at least a couple of time, and if Koufax pitched in the 00's, he probably doesn't top 240-250 IP.

This is also an era adjustment we probably need to make.

That said, there is no doubt that the "modern starting pitcher" is less valuable overall due to a somewhat lessened role.
   17. cardsfanboy Posted: January 13, 2017 at 07:10 PM (#5383162)
One might be that It was easier for SP of past generations and especially in the 60's to navigate lineups and pitch deep into games. Pitchers could "pace themselves", take a little off a breaking pitch or their fastball, as there were fewer hitters that could hurt them by taking them deep, and most guys were choking up with 2 strikes and just trying to put it in play. So easier to throw more innings.


Don't disagree there at all, but it still doesn't devalue the cumulative value a pitcher has from one era to another. It doesn't matter the difficulty, it just matters on the final results. It's not a move a guy from one era to another, but about how much value he has to his team in the years he played. Playing what if, is not a hof type of argument.

A hof or hom argument is about the value the guy actually did produce, it is relative to peers etc... but timelining based upon era just seems to be a person looking for an answer for an argument that they made without really thinking. The fact is that on a year to year basis, a starting pitcher in 1990 and later is less valuable than a starting pitcher from 1960 and of course a starting pitcher from 1960 is less valuable than a starting pitcher from 1910.

It is about how much better than the current players, but it also is about value. A starting pitcher today is less valuable than a starting pitcher from the 60's and a starting pitcher from the 60's is less valuable than a pitcher from early 1900's.
   18. cardsfanboy Posted: January 13, 2017 at 07:14 PM (#5383163)
apparently you can't edit on this page...

A starting pitcher from 1960 who is worth 2 Waa is more valuable than a starting pitcher from 1990 who is worth 2 Waa.
   19. spycake Posted: January 14, 2017 at 08:35 AM (#5383244)
Johan pitched well in game 1 and got yanked after 4 innings, leaving my roommates and I, watching on a TV in Palo Alto, CA, screaming for Ron Gardenhire's head even as the Twins bullpen pitched 5 innings to win the game 3-1.


Johan left ALDS game 1 in 2003 due to injury, and here in Minnesota, I don't recall it being a controversial decision. After he struggled in game 4, he then had offseason surgery to remove bone spurs from his elbow -- perhaps that was what he was dealing with in those games.

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