Skip to content

Is Johan Santana a Hall of Famer?

Mar 30, 2013, 11:00 PM EST

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 Baseball-Reference.com’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.

[snip]

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.

Latest Posts
  1. Padres sign Tyson Gillies to a minor league deal

    Feb 28, 2015, 11:45 PM EST

    Tyson Gillies Getty Images

    The Padres signed outfielder Tyson Gillies to a minor league deal, perhaps hopeful he could turn his fortunes around with a new organization.

  2. Yasmany Tomas to work at third base and in the outfield during spring training

    Feb 28, 2015, 10:40 PM EST

    Yasmany Tomas Yasmany Tomas

    The Diamondbacks want Yasmany Tomas to get as many at-bats as possible during spring training, so he’ll be starting at both third base and in the outfield.

  3. Jimmy Rollins: Mets’ future “looks pretty bright”

    Feb 28, 2015, 9:35 PM EST

    Jimmy Rollins Jimmy Rollins

    It’s odd to hear Jimmy Rollins say nice things about the Mets.

  4. Blue Jays sign Dayan Viciedo to a minor league deal

    Feb 28, 2015, 8:27 PM EST

    Dayan Viciedo Dayan Viciedo

    The Blue Jays brought in Dayan Viciedo to hold the fort until Michael Saunders returns from his knee injury.

  5. Jose Reyes on former teammate Ruben Tejada: “Something’s wrong.”

    Feb 28, 2015, 7:25 PM EST

    Ruben Tejada Ruben Tejada

    Ruben Tejada has been something of a lightning rod, and he recently received criticism from a former teammate and mentor.

  6. Josh Hamilton’s potential suspension would begin at the start of the regular season

    Feb 28, 2015, 6:20 PM EST

    Josh Hamilton Josh Hamilton

    Josh Hamilton’s punishment for using a drug of abuse may end up not being much of a punishment at all.

  7. Coco Crisp is dealing with a case of pinkeye again

    Feb 28, 2015, 5:28 PM EST

    Coco Crisp AP AP

    Athletics outfielder Coco Crisp missed more than a week down the stretch in 2012 due to pinkeye and now he’s dealing with it again.

  8. Craig Kimbrel made up some clever t-shirts for the new-look Braves

    Feb 28, 2015, 4:19 PM EST

    B-8j_DWXEAAL9Yh

    After trading the likes of Justin Upton, Jason Heyward, and Evan Gattis as well as adding a handful of veteran free agents, the Braves have a ton of new faces in camp this spring.

  9. Giancarlo Stanton was hit in the hip by a pitch during an intrasquad game today. Yes, he’s fine.

    Feb 28, 2015, 3:15 PM EST

    Giancarlo Stanton AP AP

    Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton had his season come to an end in horrific fashion last September when he suffered facial fractures and dental damage on a hit-by-pitch.

  10. Tweet of the Day: Juan Pierre has one regret as he heads into retirement

    Feb 28, 2015, 2:18 PM EST

    Juan Pierre Getty Getty Images

    Juan Pierre showed his sense of humor on Twitter after announcing his retirement from baseball.

  11. Chris Sale will be sidelined for three weeks with foot fracture

    Feb 28, 2015, 1:03 PM EST

    Chris Sale AP

    Sale suffered the injury unloading something off the back of his truck on Friday.

  12. Alex Rodriguez takes reps at first base for first time in career

    Feb 28, 2015, 12:10 PM EST

    Alex Rodriguez AP AP

    Chase Headley is expected to be the team’s regular third baseman this season, so Yankees manager Joe Girardi wants if Rodriguez can be a potential backup to Mark Teixeira.

  13. Nationals sign Rich Hill

    Feb 28, 2015, 10:02 AM EST

    Rich Hill AP AP

    Hill, who turns 35 next month, bounced around three different organizations last year and mostly pitched in the minors.

  14. Cliff Lee scheduled to make spring debut next Thursday

    Feb 28, 2015, 8:57 AM EST

    Cliff Lee AP AP

    It will be his first game action since last July 31.

  15. Rangers shut down Edgar Olmos due to shoulder impingement

    Feb 27, 2015, 11:04 PM EST

    Edgar Olmos Edgar Olmos

    The Rangers will shut down Edgar Olmos days after picking him up on a waiver claim from the Mariners.

  16. Eury Perez is early favorite to replace Melvin Upton in center field

    Feb 27, 2015, 10:55 PM EST

    Eury Perez Eury Perez

    Eury Perez is the early favorite to take over in center field while Melvin Upton recovers from a foot injury.

  17. Paul Molitor to implement limit on electronics use in Twins’ clubhouse

    Feb 27, 2015, 10:05 PM EST

    Paul Molitor Paul Molitor

    New Twins manager Paul Molitor cracked down on electronics usage in his first address to the full squad at spring training.

  18. Ruben Amaro, Jr.: Ryan Howard is in the best shape “since I’ve known him”

    Feb 27, 2015, 9:10 PM EST

    Ryan Howard Ryan Howard

    Ryan Howard had his first full healthy season since 2011 and both GM Ruben Amaro, Jr. and guest instructor Dan Plesac thought he looked like he was in very good shape.

Top 10 MLB Player Searches
  1. Z. Greinke (2580)
  2. A. Wainwright (2549)
  3. A. Gordon (2282)
  4. B. Moss (2233)
  5. M. Upton (2232)