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Is Johan Santana a Hall of Famer?

Mar 30, 2013, 11:00 PM EDT

National League New York Mets pitcher Johan Santana during first inning action in Washington Reuters

Though Johan Santana has expressed a desire to continue his playing career after recently finding out he had re-torn the anterior capsule muscle in his left shoulder, one can’t help but reflect on his great 12-year career with the Twins and Mets. Jay Jaffe did just that at Sports Illustrated, concluding that the Hall of Fame case for the lefty isn’t that strong.

Turning to the advanced metrics to compare Santana’s case against the starting pitchers in the Hall of Fame using’s version of Wins Above Replacement and my own Jaffe WAR Score (JAWS) system (explained here), we can get a better sense of the impact of his short career.


Santana has compiled 49.1 WAR for his career, and 43.1 for his peak (his best seven seasons), for an overall JAWS of 46.1. The average starting pitcher in the Hall has compiled 68.1 WAR for his career, and 47.7 for his peak, for an overall JAWS of 57.9. In other words, Santana is well short measured against all three standards.

Sandy Koufax will likely be the name most closely associated to Santana if he never pitches another inning, as Koufax has a similar career adjusted ERA (131 to Santana’s 136) and career workload (2,324 innings to Santana’s 2,025). Jaffe notes, however, that Koufax had much more success in the post-season and has an additional Cy Young and an MVP award on his mantle.

It will be interesting to see where the consensus among the Baseball Writers Association of America arrives, whether it’s in five years or longer when Santana hangs up the spikes for good.

  1. mdev1987 - Mar 31, 2013 at 9:04 AM

    HOF?? Has he ever pitched in a big game in a postseason?

  2. scoobies05 - Mar 31, 2013 at 9:28 AM

    johan…no way. pedro…absolutely on the first ballot. in his prime he was utterly dominant. his 7 year run imo is better thank koufax…pedro was dominant in a dh league and in a hitter’s era.

  3. buffalomafia - Mar 31, 2013 at 10:02 AM

    What a stupid F’n question is that?

    Go Yanks!

  4. 18thstreet - Mar 31, 2013 at 10:39 AM

    Amazing that, 57 comments in, no one has commented that the link doesn’t go to Jay Jaffe’s article.

    How odd.

    • Sorbet Te Charta Saccus - Mar 31, 2013 at 8:40 PM

      Why would I want to read an article from a hack who names a bogus statistic after himself? The question is whether Johan Santana is a hall of famer. I don’t need to read JAWS to figure that one out. No. Period.

  5. rbj1 - Mar 31, 2013 at 11:00 AM

    He’s likely to be in the Don Mattingly category: coulda, shoulda, woulda been a Hall of Famer, but injuries cut his career WAR short.

  6. thebadguyswon - Mar 31, 2013 at 1:05 PM

    Big Johan fan, but I’d say no. Injuries cost him too much time.

  7. Carl Hancock - Mar 31, 2013 at 1:25 PM

    Did this question even need to be asked?

  8. patsfanvt - Mar 31, 2013 at 1:44 PM

    Longevity is overrated in the HOF. I care about how good the player actually was at his peak. I still don’t think Johan is a HOFer, but I’d rather have him than some guy who was slightly above average for a LONG time like Jamie Moyer (who has a comparable WAR to Johan)

  9. kirschmania - Mar 31, 2013 at 2:06 PM

    should have stayed in Minnesota, dickhead.

    • 18thstreet - Mar 31, 2013 at 3:14 PM

      Yeah, because you’d turn down a truck filled with hundred dollar bills.

  10. tyn27 - Mar 31, 2013 at 2:28 PM

    If he would of stayed in Minnesota he would of been on his way to a hall of game career. But he wet to New York where the money was and we all know, you go to New York to die.

    • Kevin S. - Mar 31, 2013 at 2:30 PM

      Is there something in the water in Minnesota that would have stopped his shoulder for imploding?

      • ben1332 - Apr 1, 2013 at 12:04 AM

        I can’t say for certain but I will say this
        I drink the water here in Minnesota and my shoulder has not imploded even once
        I went to New York once but never drank the water
        Take it for what it’s worth

        I’ll add that he should have won 3 consecutive Cy Young awards and would be the only one to ever do that to not end up in the Hall of Fame. Hell, one could argue that he should have won in ’07 too making it 4 in a row. If he’d been in New York for that time he would have won all 4 and the discussion would be about how quickly he’d be voted in.

      • Kevin S. - Apr 1, 2013 at 8:03 AM

        He definitely got boned out of the CYA in 2005, and I’d argue he was more deserving of the MVP in 2006 than Morneau.

      • scoocha - Apr 6, 2013 at 1:46 PM

        Or Jeter for MVP in 2006 instead of Morneau-who?

  11. thatley99 - Mar 31, 2013 at 2:33 PM

    Not a chance should he make the Hall of Fame!

    Free Fantasy Baseball Contest

  12. rick1k6 - Mar 31, 2013 at 4:48 PM

    I think this 60’s song sounds about right; ” War ( good God y’all) war is good for absolutely nothin’. Say it again ….

  13. grumpyoleman - Mar 31, 2013 at 7:23 PM

    I was going to say no then I saw all the saber crap and lost interest

  14. vicvega422 - Apr 3, 2013 at 8:09 PM

    Retarded question, of course he’s not. Son, you need to come up with better material.

  15. scoocha - Apr 6, 2013 at 1:50 PM

    No chance. Mets will give him his own annual day and maybe even retire his number for not throwing a no-hitter last year.

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