Johan Santana Should Be In Mets Hall Of Fame
June 1, 2012.
Johan Santana was 10 starts deep into the season as he tried to make the fairly unprecedented step of returning from anterior capsule surgery in his pitching shoulder. On this night, this one glorious night, he would do something no one had ever done before:
The Mets history is one of great pitching. There were great pitchers both before and after Santana. There were many close cases, but Santana was the only one who threw a no-hitter.
This is just one part of his legendary Mets career.
Santana initially came to the Mets after the dismal 2007 collapse. He came to the Mets as the piece meant to not only ensure there wouldn’t be a second collapse, but also to get them to the World Series.
Santana would more than hold up his end of the bargain. That season he was arguably cheated out of the Cy Young after he led the NL in ERA, GS, and IP.
Even if Santana didn’t win the award, he proved himself to be an ace’s ace and arguably the best pitcher in baseball. In a game the Mets had to win, Santana took the ball on the penultimate day of the season despite his being on short rest and his dealing with a knee injury. It was a virtuoso performance:
In that game, Santana registered the last great performance by a Mets pitcher at Shea Stadium. It was the last complete game shut out, and he would pick up the last win by a Mets pitcher in the ballpark.
The Mets were in the position for that heartbreaking loss because Santana was phenomenal down the stretch. In the second half, he was 8-0 with a 2.17 ERA and a 1.096 WHIP.
Sadly, it was the last chance for him to pitch in a pennant chase for the Mets. Poor roster decisions, an ill conceived ballpark, a Ponzi scheme, and flat out bad ownership cost the Mets and Santana the opportunity to again compete for a postseason berth.
Despite that, Santana was good when his health allowed him to pitch for the Mets.
To this day, he is still the Mets best left-handed pitcher in the Citi Field era. Since the ballpark opened, he leads all left-handed pitchers in ERA and FIP. Overall, he’s fourth and sixth in those categories respectively.
Looking past that with an eye towards Mets history, Santana still rates well. He’s sixth all-time in ERA+ and 10th in K/BB%. He’s 11th in pitching WAR despite having fewer starts than anyone in the top 10. In fact, he has the second fewest starts out of any Mets pitcher in the top 20.
As if this convincing enough, Santana’s impact on the Mets is still felt to this day. Back when Santana was rehabbing his shoulder injury, a then unknown prospect by the name of Jacob deGrom was rehabbing from Tommy John.
As detailed by Tim Rohan, then of the New York Times, Santana taught deGrom how to throw his change-up. That helped deGrom set on the path to not only make the majors but also become the best pitcher in all of baseball.
In a nutshell, that shows how much of a profound impact Santana has had on the Mets organization.
He delivered the last great moment in Shea Stadium history. He’s thrown the only no-hitter. He and his change-up helped deGrom. When you break it all down, it’s just impossible to tell the history of the Mets without Santana.
Overall, he’s one of the best starters in team history, and he’s done things no one has done in Mets history. As a result, he belongs in the Mets Hall of Fame.