Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Once Again Johan Santana is Lights Out

Even when it came to Cy Young voting this year Johan Santana was lights out taking a clean sweep of the first place voting. Personally I thought there would be at least one idiot out East who would give Curt Schilling a first place vote. While Johan Santana wins his first Cy Young award let's take a look at the brilliance of his season.

Johan finished the season with 20 wins, a 2.61 ERA, 265 strikeouts, a .92 whip, opponets batting average of .192 and only 54 walks in 228 innings. He was lights out in the playoffs against the Yankees pitching 12 innings allowing just one run and striking out twelve. The most amazing thing about Johan's season is that at the All Star break he wasn't even playing well enough to be an All Star.

Before the season started Santana lost arbitration and made only $1.6 million. After offseason surgery Johan started the season with a 2-3 record and 5.46 ERA through May. At this point in the season I knew something just wasn't right. From then on Johan went 18-3 with a 1.51 ERA and 211 K's in a 167 innings. Even more amazing is what Johan did from July 17th on. He was 13-0 with a 1.21 ERA and a 129 K's in 104 innings. Toward the end of the season he had a stretch of 34 straight scoreless innings in which he allowed only 14 hits, 2 walks and struck out 47 batters.

Hopefully the Twins will be able to lock Santana up to a multi-year contract this offseason. Not only is Johan a great baseball player, but he is also a community leader. He is a strong supporter of Twins Fest and works with a local pastor to improve the lives of many from his home country of Venezuela and younster in the metropolitan area.

Something that sets Johan aside from other major league players of his caliber is his humbleness. After winning the award Johan said, "I'm surprised this has been a unanimous decision. I thought this was going to be a real tough race." He went on to say, "It was amazing. To me, (Schilling) was just a hero. He did great things for Boston and for baseball. That's a role model for a young baseball player to follow."

At the start of the 2005 season Johan will be 26 and coming off four consectutive seasons of vast improvement. Look for him to continue his dominance as he strives to become the best pitcher in baseball. Every Twins fan knew this day was coming in the middle of the 2002 season when Johan first became a starter. As a 22 year old kid he was going out and making veterans look foolish using raw talent. He continues to develop his pitches and his ability to call his own games. Congratulations Johan and good luck next year. Keep wowing your opponents and go out and win Minnesota another World Series.

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