Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Neyer on Santana

Rob Neyer makes a pretty bold prediction for Johan Santana (Insider) in a Mets uniform:

My guess is that Santana will dominate the National League like Greg Maddux did in the mid-1990s and Randy Johnson did five years later. But maybe we shouldn't assume any limits.


Query: while the NL isn't nearly the hitters' league the AL is, how does the NL East stack up itself? Sure, Santana is going to pitch half of his games in a pitcher-friendly park, but there are going to be an awful lot of at-bats against Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Mark Teixeira and Chipper Jones. Heck, even the lesser-lights on the Phillies look scarier because of that bandbox they call a ballpark. Though Florida and Washington aren't exactly scary, losing RFK is going to change the game in the NL East in favor of hitters as well.

This is not to say that Rob is wrong -- I agree that Santana is going to experience a considerable boost moving to the NL -- but circa 1995 Maddux and circa 2002 Big Unit approach the upper limits of what any pitcher is capable of, even one as talented as Santana.


Drew said...

It may not help his overall numbers, but pitching against the Phils is sure to make Santana's already gaudy strikeout numbers look even stronger. Between Howard, Burrell, and Utley, he'll rack up a nice pile of Ks. That said, if his home run issues from last year carry over, there may well be some fireworks at CBP.

Jason said...

I agree that the NL move should boost his overall numbers, but what if that home-stretch faltering that we all witnessed last year was only the start? What if we've already seen the best Johan has and he's beginning a downhill slide, like Kevin Brown?

If he's healthy, I think Neyer's right on. But, until we see him actually pitch, who knows.

Shyster said...

I think the fact that (as Rob notes) his strikeout rate didn't go down bodes fairly well for his health. I think his late season "slide" was more of a command issue, as evidenced by the walks and home runs. I didn't see him pitch much at that time, but he was probably up in the zone or something. That's something that can be caused by any number of things (mechanics, mild injuries like blisters, or what have you).

I think he'll be fine. Dominant even. But not Big Unit/Maddux dominant, because who the hell ever is?

Jason said...

If this trade works out as well as the Pedro trade to Boston worked out, the Mets will be giddy. That's a reasonable proxy, maybe.

Marcel said...

If this trade works out as well as the Pedro trade, then Neyer will be vindicated on that projection because '98-'03 Pedro was just as good if not better than Maddux and RJ in their dominant stretches.