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Johan Santana

New York Mets — No. 57
Starting pitcher
Born: March 13, 1979 (1979-03-13) (age 31)
Tovar, Mérida State, Venezuela
Bats: Left Throws: Left 
MLB debut
April 3, 2000 for the Minnesota Twins
Career statistics
(through 2009 season)
Win-Loss     122-60
Earned run average     3.12
Strikeouts     1,733
Career highlights and awards

Johan Alexander Santana (English pronunciation: /ˈjoʊhən ˈsæntənə/; born March 13, 1979 in Tovar, Venezuela) is a Major League Baseball left-handed starting pitcher who plays for the New York Mets.

A two-time Cy Young Award winner, he is considered one of the best pitchers in baseball, with a pitch repertoire that includes a 91-95 mph fastball, along with a circle changeup, and a slider.

Santana delivers a pitch on June 1st, 2008 against the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Mets went on to win 6-1, and Santana got credit.

Santana was discovered in 1994 by Andrés Reiner, a scout who was working for the Houston Astros at the time. He signed Santana and sent him to his academy in Guacara in January 1995. Santana did not like it and almost left, but Reiner convinced him to stay. While originally a center fielder, Santana was converted to a pitcher at the academy due to his arm speed. In 1999 he was named the Tovar Mérida Athlete of the Year.

After the 1999 major league season, he was left unprotected by the Houston Astros and eligible in the Rule 5 draft. The Twins had the first pick that year, the Marlins the second. The Twins made a deal with the Marlins: the Twins would draft Jared Camp with their first pick and the Marlins would draft Santana. The teams would exchange the two players with the Twins receiving $50,000 to cover their pick.[1][2]

Santana made his Major League debut with the Twins on April 3, 2000, coming from the bullpen vs. Tampa Bay. He made his first MLB start on April 7, 2000, at Kansas City and recorded his first Major League win in a relief appearance at Houston on June 6. He put up a 6.49 ERA in 86 innings pitched in 2000, his rookie year.

In 2002, the Twins sent Santana to the minors for 2 months to work almost exclusively on perfecting his changeup. He did this for 10 starts and came back up to the majors with a terrific changeup to complement his very good fastball. While in the minors, pitching coach Bobby Cuellar made Santana throw at least one changeup to every batter. According to Cuellar, Santana would sometimes throw 20 in a row during games.[3]

Santana is very good against both right and left-handed hitters. He works quickly and throws a 91-95 mph fastball, a hard slider which has rapid movement, and a tailing circle changeup that is considered one of best circle-changeups in baseball.[4][5] Some announcers refer to the changeup as a "Bugs Bunny" changeup.[6]

Santana was used as a long reliever early in his career after finding little success as a starter. In 2002 he led the majors in wild pitches, with 15.

In 2003, Santana transitioned from relief to the Twins' starting rotation after spending the first four months of the season in the bullpen. He won his last eight decisions and pitched the ALDS opening game against the Yankees.

Due to Santana's early major-league success with the Twins, a young minor-league pitcher in the Anaheim Angels' farm system also named Johan Santana changed his name to Ervin Santana in 2003 and has also achieved major league success. Santana underwent minor elbow surgery following the season.[7]


2004 season

In 2004, Santana enjoyed one of the great second halves of modern times. He became the first pitcher since 1961 to give up four or fewer hits in ten straight starts, and his 13-0 record broke the old Major League second-half mark shared between Burt Hooton and Rick Sutcliffe.

Santana's other second-half numbers were equally impressive: 11.13 strikeouts per nine innings, 1.21 ERA, 4.74 hits per nine innings, and 6.73 baserunners per nine innings. In addition, Santana set a team season record with 265 strikeouts, surpassing the old 258 mark registered by Bert Blyleven in 1973.

Santana finished in good form with a 20-6 record and led the American League in strikeouts (265), ERA (2.61), strikeouts per nine innings pitched (10.46), WHIP (0.92), batting average allowed (.192), OBP (.249), SLG (.315), and OPS (.564) and walked only 54 batters in 228 innings. Opponents stole just six bases in seven attempts against him, and his 20 victories ranked him second behind only Curt Schilling, who won 21 games for the Red Sox. He easily won the AL Cy Young Award over Schilling with all 28 first-place votes.

2005 season

Santana struggled in his first outing of 2005, giving up four runs in the first inning, but quickly regained his composure and returned to Cy Young-winning form in an 8-4 victory over the Seattle Mariners. In his second game, he rocked the Chicago White Sox with 11 strikeouts as the Twins won 5–2. Following a brief slump in May 2005, Santana worked on improving his pitching form and was immediately rewarded with a seven-inning, two-run outing against the Toronto Blue Jays, which the Twins won 7–2. Santana finished with an ERA of 2.87, second-lowest in the American League behind Indians pitcher Kevin Millwood (2.86). However, the weak Twins club of the 2005 season cost him several otherwise-winnable games, and his winning percentage fell considerably in his second full year as a starter. He threw 238 strikeouts during the season, leading the majors. He finished third in the Cy Young voting, finishing behind winner Bartolo Colón of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and Yankees reliever Mariano Rivera.

2006 season

Santana pitching for the Twins on June 2, 2006

Santana won the Major League Pitching Triple Crown, the first player to do so since Dwight Gooden in 1985. He completed the season leading the majors in ERA (2.77) and strikeouts (245), and tied Yankees pitcher Chien-Ming Wang in wins (19). He is the first pitcher to win the triple crown with fewer than 20 wins, and the first to win the MLB triple crown with an ERA above 2.60.

Santana also led the American League in WHIP (1.00), opposing batting average (.216), and innings pitched (233.2). He continued to add to his reputation as a great second-half pitcher, losing only one game after the All-Star break while winning 10 and posting a 2.54 ERA. A brief slump cost him the opportunity to make his 20th win of the season. No pitcher in Major League Baseball won 20 games in the 2006 season, the first time in modern major league history this occurred.

Santana won his second Cy Young Award in 2006, becoming the 14th player in MLB history to win the award multiple times. He is the fifth pitcher to win the award by a unanimous vote twice, joining Roger Clemens, Pedro Martínez, and Greg Maddux; Sandy Koufax accomplished the feat three times.

From 2004-2006, Santana has led the league in strikeouts all three years, in ERA twice, and has also led in several other key statistical areas. In that three-year span, he has compiled a 55–19 record with an ERA of 2.75 and WHIP of 0.96, while striking out 748 batters.

2007 season

After a slow start, with his record falling to 6–6 at one point, Johan jump-started his season with a four-hit shutout, followed by two wins. On July 1, 2007, Santana was named as a member of the 2007 MLB All-Star Game, his third straight appearance.

On June 19, 2007, on the team bus to a game at Shea Stadium, Bert Blyleven said he would have his head shaved if that night's starting pitcher, Johan, threw a complete-game shutout. The Twins won, 9–0, and Santana went the distance on a four-hitter. Santana shaved Blyleven's head the following day.[8]

Santana had perhaps his best career game on August 19th against the Texas Rangers in which he struck out 17 batters over eight innings. He walked none and allowed only two hits, both to Sammy Sosa. His 17 strikeouts set a Twins club record for strikeouts in a game.

While Santana did not have a bad season, he led the major leagues in home runs allowed (33) and had the most losses of his career (13). Santana finished the season with only 15 wins, his lowest total since 2003, though he led the American League in WHIP, was 2nd in strikeouts with 235, and 7th in ERA. On the last game of the season, a rain delay in Detroit that lasted over an hour caused Santana to pitch only three innings, ending a 123-start streak where he pitched five innings or more, which was the third longest in the past half century.

In November, it was announced that Johan Santana was awarded the American League Gold Glove Award for pitcher. This was the first time he was selected for this award.[9]

New York Mets

2008 season

Santana delivering an eighth-inning pitch during his September 27 complete game shutout performance, in Shea Stadium's second-to-last game.

During 2007–2008 off-season, Santana was traded from the Twins to the New York Mets, for Carlos Gomez, Phil Humber, Deolis Guerra, and Kevin Mulvey. On February 1, 2008, the Mets and Santana agreed to a six-year, $137.5 million contract.[10] Santana was named the opening day starter, throwing 100 pitches in seven innings to earn the win against the Florida Marlins. On May 10, 2008, he earned his first win at Shea Stadium as a member of the New York Mets.

On June 1, 2008, Santana earned his 100th career victory, going 7.2 innings and allowing just one run in a 6-1 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers.[11]

On July 27, the day after the Mets played a 14 inning game where every pitcher in the bullpen was used, Johan pitched a complete game against the St. Louis Cardinals. He struck out 5 and also got his first RBI as a Met. He won this game, improving his record to 9-7. On August 17, 2008 Santana pitched his second complete game and his 11th win of the season, allowing only 3 hits while walking none and striking out 7 in a 3-0 Mets win over the Pittsburgh Pirates.

On September 23, Santana threw a career-high 125 pitches in 8 innings to beat the Chicago Cubs. On 27 September, in the thick of a playoff race and on the final weekend of the season, Santana pitched a complete game 3-hit shutout in a 2-0 win against the Florida Marlins on three-days rest. It was later revealed that Santana had pitched that day, and perhaps in many other starts, with a torn meniscus in his left knee. He underwent successful surgery on it on October 1, 2008.

Santana finished the 2008 regular season with a 16-7 record, posting a 2.53 ERA with 206 strikeouts. He set a Mets' single-season record for strikeouts by a left-handed pitcher, besting Jon Matlack's 205 in 1973. His 2.53 ERA led the majors and was a career best. He also set a career high in innings pitched and was undefeated in the second half of the season. However, he was also the victim of seven blown saves, tying for first in the majors.[12]

Santana finished in third place in the National League Cy Young award race behind Brandon Webb and winner Tim Lincecum.

2009 season

On April 7, 2009, Johan Santana started the first game for the New York Mets in the 2009 season against the Cincinnati Reds. He went 5.2 innings allowing only 1 earned run, going on to win. In his second start on April 12 against the Florida Marlins Santana struck out 13 batters and surrendered 2 unearned runs over 7 innings only to lose for the first time since June 28, 2008, against the New York Yankees. In his next start on April 18 against the Milwaukee Brewers, Santana struck out 7 hitters in 7 scoreless innings in a 1-0 Mets victory, and no Brewer advanced past first base in the entire game. On April 24 he pitched 6 innings allowing only one run while striking out 10 against the Washington Nationals. He struck out the side in the first two innings of that game. Santana missed the rest of the 2009 MLB season after having to undergo season ending arthroscopic surgery to remove bone chips in his left elbow. He finished the season at a record of 13-9 with a 3.13 ERA.[13]

In 2009 he was named # 3 on the Sporting News' list of the 50 greatest current players in baseball. A panel of 100 baseball people, many of them members of the Baseball Hall of Fame and winners of major baseball awards, was polled to arrive at the list.[14] On August 25 Santana was placed on the 15-Day Disabled List and missed the remainder of the season, Santana finished the season 13-9 with a 3.15 ERA.[13]

Current contract

Santana currently is in a six year, $137.5 million contract with a full no-trade clause. The contract includes a $25 million 2014 club option with a $5.5 million buyout. The salary distribution is as follows: $20 million in 2009, $21 million in 2010, $22.5 million in 2011, $24 million in 2012, and $25.5 million in 2013.[15]

Personal life

Santana is the second of five children. Johan attended Liceo Jose Nucete Sardi High School, where he played center field. He and his wife, Yasmile, whom he has known since he was 9 years old, have two daughters, Jasmily and Jasmine and a newborn son, Johan Jr. Santana actually missed the Mets' first regular season game at Citi Field due to the birth of his son. He and his family reside in Fort Myers, Florida.

In the off-season, Santana is an active member of his hometown community. In 2006, he started The Johan Santana Foundation to provide assistance to hospitals and bought new gloves and bats for children in surrounding areas. Also in 2006, Santana, as well as the Minnesota Twins, purchased a yellow firetruck for Tovar's fire department. Santana has held a party the past two offseasons called El Cy Youngazo (the Great Cy Young) which includes a toy drive, musical groups, and beer from Santana's sponsor, Regional.[16] Proceeds from Johan's charity wine, Santana's Select, also support his foundation in entirety.

In the off season, Johan often practices at Florida Gulf Coast University's baseball facility.


  • All-Star (2005-2007,2009)
  • American League Cy Young Award winner (2004 and 2006, both unanimous selections)
  • American League Gold Glove Award winner (2007)
  • Led American League in winning percentage in 2003, finishing the season at 12–3 (.800)
  • Top 10 Cy Young Award (7th, 2003; Winner, 2004; 3rd, 2005; Winner, 2006; 5th, 2007; 3rd 2008)
  • Top 10 MVP Award (7th, 2006)
  • Won the Triple Crown as the leader in wins (19), strikeouts (245), and ERA (2.77) in 2006
  • Fanned former teammate David Ortiz for his 1,000th career strikeout (June 13, 2006).
  • Set a Minnesota Twins record with 17 strikeouts over eight innings against the Rangers.(August 19, 2007)
  • Signed the biggest contract for a pitcher in the history of baseball (February 1, 2008).
  • Led the League in ERA in 2008, finishing the season at (2.53). He also set a career high in IP (234.1)

See also


  1. ^ Curry, Jack (January 31, 2008). "Scout Listens to His Instincts, Not to His Boss, and Uncovers a Star". The New York Times. New York Times. Retrieved 2008-11-03. 
  2. ^ Costello, Brian (February 3, 2008). "Many Twists & Turns In Johan's Journey". New York Post. Retrieved 2008-11-03. 
  3. ^ "Twins' Johan Santana: thriving in his role as a starter: since joining Minnesota's rotation at mid-season in 2003, left-hander has developed into club's ace.". Retrieved 2008-11-03. 
  4. ^ "Johan Santana Scouting Report". Fox Sports on MSN. Fox Sports Interactive Media, LLC.. Retrieved 2008-05-19. 
  5. ^ Rittenberg, Adam (September 4, 2004). "Santana's Over-the-Top Delivery". 
  6. ^ New York Mets @ Florida Marlins, Sun Sports telecast, 2008-03-31
  7. ^ "One Johan was enough". Retrieved 2008-11-03. 
  8. ^ Christensen, Joe (2007-06-20). "Punto doesn't care where he plays". Star Tribune (The StarTribune Company). Retrieved 2008-05-19. 
  9. ^ Bastian, Jordan (November 6, 2007). "AL Gold Gloves show changing of guard". 
  10. ^ "Santana agrees to $137.5M, 6-year contract with Mets". Retrieved 2008-11-13. 
  11. ^ "Dodgers vs. Mets - Recap - June 01, 2008". Retrieved 2008-11-03. 
  12. ^ Chuck, Bill. 100 random things about the Red Sox, Rays, and Yankees, The Boston Globe. Published April 2, 2009. Retrieved May 2, 2009.
  13. ^ a b "Santana, Putz both out for season". Associated Press. August 25, 2009. 
  14. ^ Wolfley, Bob (May 20, 2009). "Braun makes greatest list". Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. Retrieved 2009-09-04. 
  15. ^ "Johan Santana". Retrieved 2009-06-03. 
  16. ^ "Santana’s Hometown Awaits His Next Move". The New York Times. Retrieved 2008-11-03. 

External links

Simple English

Johan Santana
File:Johan Santana
New York Mets — No. 57
Starting pitcher
Born: March 13, 1979 (1979-03-13) (age 31)
Tovar, Mérida State, Venezuela
Bats: Left Throws: Left 
MLB debut
April 3, 2000 for the Minnesota Twins
Career statistics
(through 2008 season)
Win-Loss    109-51
Earned run average    3.11
Strikeouts    1,587
Career highlights and awards
  • 3x All-Star (2005, 2006, 2007)
  • 2x Cy Young Award winner (2004, 2006)
  • 2x TSN Pitcher of the Year (2004, 2006)
  • 2x Player's Choice Outstanding Pitcher (2004, 2006)
  • 2x Warren Spahn Award winner (2004, 2006)
  • Gold Glove Award (2007)
  • Pitching Triple Crown (2006)
  • Led AL in wins (2006)
  • Led AL in strikeouts (2004, 2005, 2006)
  • Led AL in ERA (2004, 2006)
  • Led NL in ERA (2008)
  • Johan Alexander Santana (pronounced [joʊɦən santʰənə]) (born March 13, 1979, in Tovar, Mérida State, Venezuela) is a Major League Baseball left-handed starting pitcher who plays for the New York Mets. His first team was the Minnesota Twins.

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