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Report: Johan Santana may miss all of the 2011 season

Mar 13, 2011, 8:42 AM EDT

Houston Astros v New York Mets Getty Images

“Internally, the Mets believe they’ll be “lucky” if Santana pitches this year.”

That is a stand-alone paragraph in a Sunday morning report by Steve Popper and Bob Klapisch of the Bergen Record. According to their sources, Santana has made very little progress in his ongoing recovery from September shoulder surgery and the Mets are ready to announce that he has been shut down indefinitely. The left-hander was already expected to be out until late June or early July, and now it’s possible that he could be sidelined for the duration of the 2011 season.

The Mets have already refuted the report, with pitching coach Dan Warthen telling ESPN New York’s Adam Rubin that progress “has been great” and that “everything is going right on target, maybe a little ahead.”

But Popper and Klapisch aren’t the only reporters saying that Santana is in trouble.

ESPN’s Buster Olney heard from a source that the Mets “aren’t expecting much” from their ace in 2011. David Waldstein of the New York Times talked to a shoulder expert who indicated the same thing.

The truth may lie somewhere in between the Bergen Record‘s report and Warthen’s claims. What we do know is that Santana has only begun playing light catch and is far from ready to step atop a mound.

  1. luckywi - Mar 13, 2011 at 10:11 AM

    One of the biggest reasons the Twins let this guy go was injury concerns. Well, and the truckload of cash he was expected to receive. Now the Twins have privately mentioned the same concerns about the Twins #2 starter Francisco Liriano. So, maybe the baseball people who run the team do know a thing or two about their players durablility?

    • uyf1950 - Mar 13, 2011 at 11:25 AM

      You do realize that the first year Santana was with the Mets after leaving the Twins he went 16-7, he started 34 games had 206 strike outs with a 2.53 ERA.

      Could it be part of the reason he started to have injury problems was the Twins worked him like a dog. For the last 4 years he was with the Twins 2004 (age 25) through 2007 he pitched 913 innings. All of those innings finally caught up with him.

      • melissashusband - Mar 13, 2011 at 12:10 PM

        hey ufy1950 Any STUD pitcher will avarage 220 plus innings pitched annually. That avarages out to 228 innings a year. A starter who is a teams #1 will get between 33-35 starts a year. That averages out to 6.9 innings a start. Whith his merchanics he does put quite a bit of stress on his arm as does Liriano. This is harder because Strikeout pitchers throw more pitches. I would not blame the organization in 2010 15 starters were within 8 innings of santanas average for those 4 years

      • uyf1950 - Mar 13, 2011 at 12:27 PM

        You may be right in your assessment but keep in mind Santana’s age when the increase in innings started. Also keep in mind that for the 4 years prior to 2004
        in hadn’t started that many games or pitched a lot of innings.
        for example in:
        2000 – he started 5 games and pitched a total of 86 innings
        2001 – he started 4 games and pitched a total of 43 innings
        2002 – he started 14 games and pitched a total of 108 innings
        2003 – he started 18 games and pitched a total of 158 innings

        Then the massive increase in starts and innings began:
        2004 – he started 34 games and pitched a total of 228 innings
        and the trend continued with the Twins for an additional 3 years until he was traded.

        Like I said you might be right about his motion, etc., but I don’t think there is anyway you can discount his workload for those 4 years when you also consider his age at the time and the dramatic increase in both innings and starts as a contributing factor to his injuries. Remember he started to have injury problems in 2009 and was shut down towards the end of that season. But that’s just my opinion.

    • luckywi - Mar 13, 2011 at 12:25 PM

      Buyer beware, was mostly my point. And he broke down shorlty thereafter.

      • jtorrey13 - Mar 13, 2011 at 2:22 PM

        To complete the data from uyf1950:

        Minor Leagues (from Baseball Reference – http://www.baseball-reference.com/minors/player.cgi?id=santan001joh)

        1997 – age 18 – 40.1 innings
        1998 – age 19 – 93.1 innings
        1999 – age 20 – 160.1 innings
        2000 – age 21 – 86 innings (from the Major league part of Baseball Reference)
        2001 – age 22 – 43 innings – and to help explain the drop in innings
        Jul 12,2001 – 15 Day Disabled list – (with a partial tear of the flexor muscle origin in his left elbow)
        Sep 1,2001 – Transferred to 60 day DL.
        Sep 21,2001 – Activated
        (DL info from The Baseball Cube – http://www.thebaseballcube.com/transactions/S/Johan-Santana.shtml)

        2002 – age 23 – Major leagues – 108.1; Minor leagues – 48.2; total 157
        2003 – age 24 – 158 innings
        2004 – age 25 – 228 innings

        So, prior to 2004, he had three seasons of around 160 innings under his belt. The increase of 44% in innings from 2003 to 2004 is smaller than the 132% jump from his year 18 to year 19 and the 72% jump in innings from age 19 to age 20. I’d have to look at quite a few other pitchers to see what the data points look like, but just looking at one other to see if Santana is unreasonable, here is Roy Halladay:

        2000 – age 23 – Majors – 67.2; Minors – 73.2; total 141.1
        2001 – age 24 – Majors – 105.1; Minors – 70.2; total 176
        2002 – age 25 – Majors 239.1

        So, Halladay has a 36% jump from age 24 to age 25. Not that far off from Santana, and health wise a very different path. Halladay pitched 266 innings in 2003, hit the DL in 2004 and has pitched over 200 innings from 2006 to the present.

        But, obviously that is just one other example. I’m not sure Santana’s workload is that much different from other pitchers, but not sure until I would look at more research, and the jumps in mid-20s are not as egregious as ones in the teens and early 20s as far as the literature on development goes. I think it is more likely to fall under the category of being tough to keep a pitcher healthy than anything else.

    • Maxa - Mar 13, 2011 at 3:36 PM

      Wait, did the Twins really have “injury concerns” about Santana? I wasn’t aware that he had ever missed any significant amount of time. Obviously, pitching is hazardous enough that if you make a bet against any starter’s longevity, you stand a good chance to win; but that’s different from saying that the Twins had hard evidence to the effect that Santana was likely to break down.

      • Kevin S. - Mar 13, 2011 at 3:43 PM

        Santana’s history of injuries, pre-Mets: http://nybaseballdigest.com/?p=7916

  2. aronmantoo - Mar 13, 2011 at 11:45 AM

    My shocked face :-O

  3. Kevin S. - Mar 13, 2011 at 12:18 PM

    The Mets said he is fine, therefore he is fine. These malicious reports with unsubstantiated sources from vindictive reports are nothing but an attempt to smear the Wilpons and the Mets organization.

    /chrisny3′d

    • Kevin S. - Mar 13, 2011 at 12:18 PM

      *reporters, not reports

    • luckywi - Mar 13, 2011 at 12:27 PM

      Yeah, the Met’s dor Wilpon, would NEVER lie about anything.

      • luckywi - Mar 13, 2011 at 12:58 PM

        And also, the Mets may be better off if he didn’t pitch this year. I’m sure there is an insurance policy for such an eventuality. And nice of you to stick up for Wilpon and the Mets, but I think this may be a little misguided. The Mets have consitently made poor personnel decisions, and Wilpon is either ignorant, or a liar. Take your pick.

      • Kevin S. - Mar 13, 2011 at 1:12 PM

        I’m guessing you’re a little new here. I most certainly was not sticking up for the Wilpons.

      • luckywi - Mar 13, 2011 at 2:35 PM

        Not that new, but I get it now. Sorry. We need a sarcasm meter for these coment sections.

  4. PanchoHerreraFanClub - Mar 13, 2011 at 12:33 PM

    Sadly, pitchers rarely pitch effectively after shoulder surgery. I wish Santana all the best, but he is facing very long odds.

    • luckywi - Mar 13, 2011 at 2:39 PM

      I agree. I’m not wishing him anything bad. I loved him with the Twins,and was upset when he left. But the rumors(leaked to beat writers) was they didn’t trust his arm over the long haul, of a long term deal. It stinks, but pitchers break down. More so over that last few years. I wonder why that is?

  5. w2lucky - Mar 13, 2011 at 1:08 PM

    Like it really matters. The Mets will have a .500 team at best. Injury plagued as usual with no pitching staff and new management. The only thing anyone talks about is their injuries and the season is 3 weeks away. Beltran, Castillo, Santana, Perez (not injured but we wish he was). Negative thoughts lead to negative play. This from a very disappointed Mets fan. Not sure is all this cascades down from the NY press, but sadly it’s all I hear or read.

  6. mrznyc - Mar 13, 2011 at 1:47 PM

    I think Ollie makes the team.

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