Next up in our projections series is Johan Santana. It was a roller coaster ride in 2012 for Santana with some stunning highs and painful lows. Now further removed from the last surgery, can Santana stay healthy and give the club 30 starts this year? And if he is healthy, will he finish the year with the Mets? Or will Sandy Alderson try to work his trade magic again and pick up another piece for his rebuilding effort?

In his first 11 starts of 2012, Santana posted a 2.38 ERA and a 1.015 WHIP, with 68 Ks in 68 IP. We all want to see him post those numbers over a full season. If there’s any pitcher who could do that, even after all of the surgeries and diminished stuff from his Cy Young Award days, it’s Santana. But the odds against that happening are staggering. Regardless, here’s what we think Santana will do this year:

Santana Projection IP ERA Ks BB Traded?
Gray 185 3.05 153 48 No
Groveman 175 3.33 145 49 No
Hangley 198 2.97 202 67 No
Joura 180 3.80 160 60 No
Koehler 160 3.00 140 50 Yes
Mcwilliam 206 3.45 175 56 No
OMalley 115 4.00 115 40 No
Parker 140 4.70 100 45 No
Rogan 130 2.90 94 40 Yes
Rogers 150 2.95 150 50 Yes
Stack 167 3.90 158 45 Yes
Vasile 150 4.10 135 50 Yes
Walendin 154 3.99 138 48 No

As you might expect with a pitcher like Santana, who comes with a long history of injuries, our projections are all over the map. Regardless of what you think Santana will do in 2013, you can probably find one of our writers to agree with you. Perhaps the most interesting thing to me was that the great majority of us expect Santana to finish the season with the Mets.

Here’s what the group thinks Santana will do in 2013:

Since two-thirds of us expect he will finish the year with the Mets, let’s assume that Santana accumulates all of the above stats for the Mets. Adding this to our totals for Jonathon Niese, Matt Harvey and Dillon Gee, we see the top four pitchers for the team contributing 704 IP and a 3.62 ERA. In 2012, the four pitchers who combined for the most innings gave the Mets 656 IP and a 3.81 ERA. If the Mets get the production out of their top four starters that we predict, they will have surpassed the production of last year’s top four, including that of R.A. Dickey. Of course that’s a mighty big “if.”

Finally, let’s close with a table comparing the Mets360 numbers to those of the projection systems available from FanGraphs:

Santana Projection IP ERA Ks BB
Bill James 185.0 3.50 162 61
Mets360 162.1 3.45 143 50
Oliver 100.0 3.68 85 31
Steamer 151 4.26 116 50
ZiPS 94.3 4.01 77 29

It seems comforting that our projections, while optimistic, are not completely out of step with what the systematic approaches predict. Both our IP (James, Steamer) and ERA (James, Oliver) projections are right in line with what the systems forecast. Here’s hoping Santana still has a 162.1 IP season left in his shoulder, elbow and ankle.

Check back Saturday for our next entry in the series.

15 comments on “Mets360 2013 projections: Johan Santana

  • Pete

    If the Mets don’t over work Johan, I can see him pitching 190-200 innings. Instead of him landing on the DL, I don’t see why the Mets cannot push back every 6th start he makes and have one of the kids fill in for that start. i would rather see Johan start 26-28 games than have have him on the DL for any extended period of time.

    • Name

      What’s the point of doing that? Doesn’t make sense for him or the Mets.
      For the Mets you can’t keep promoting/demoting someone every 6th start. Could work in video games, but not in real life.
      Santana definately would not want it because he’s aiming for another free agent contract at the end of this year. Employers don’t want to see someone who has to be babied and put on a different regemin than everyone else.

  • kjs

    The “trade” question is only fair if Santana is healthy, correct? Otherwise, he’s utterly untradable. Love the guy, but I’d love to trade his contract ASAP.

    • kjs

      Sorry…also meant to say I think the Mets would trade him ASAP too.

      • Name

        That contract is untradeable. If you trade him, you are NOT trading the contract because if the Mets want to get anything(which is the only reason Sandy would trade him), you would have to eat a majority(75%) of the contract.

  • Pete

    If Johan pitches well the Mets would just pick up his option for 2014. Coming off injuries why would anyone take the risk and at the same time give up prospects. If he stays healthy (that’s a big if)he would be the perfect bridge for the kids. He’s the consummate professional and I don’t think anyone here would question his heart or work ethic.

    • Brian Joura

      In my opinion, there’s a better chance of Iran becoming the 51st state than there is of the Mets picking up Santana’s 2014 option.

  • Pete

    Well at least you didn’t say Puerto Rico. But what if he does pitch well and doesn’t spend any time on the DL? Say he goes 16-17 and 6 what do the Mets do then?

    • Brian Joura

      Santana has not won 17 games in a season since 2006. It’s the total he’s won in the last three years combined. But even if he does go ahead and do that there’s simply no way he’s on the Mets in 2014. Alderson either trades him at the deadline or lets him go after the season. He’s just not going to pay $25 million to a 35 year old pitcher with an injury list like the one Santana has.

      • Name

        Pete, in that case his option might vest by itself and we would be more about arguing whether the Mets should give him the opportunity to vest or not.
        Otherwise, it is almost guaranteed that it would be cheaper to buy him out for 5.5 million and then resign him to a cheaper contract because he wouldn’t get anything close to 15 million let alone 20 million.

        • Brian Joura

          2014 club option becomes player option if Santana:

          wins Cy Young award from 2008-13 and finishes second or third in the Cy Young vote in one other season
          ranks second or third in Cy Young vote in any 3 seasons, 2008-13
          is on the active roster for the final 30 days of 2013 season, and:
          pitches 215 innings in 2013, or
          pitches 420 innings in 2012-13, or
          pitches 630 innings in 2011-13

          • Chris Walendin

            I believe those 3 requirements are 3 different ways the option converts. My reason is that the first two could be stated a lot more simply if they both needed to happen. On that assumption, the reduced fat version of that vesting option (accounting for what has & hasn’t happened) is…

            – wins Cy Young Award in 2013, OR
            – pitches 215 innings in 2013 and spends the last 30 days on the active roster

            (Santana finished 3rd in Cy Young voting in 2008, satisfying the second part of the first requirement. He also failed to finish in the top 3 in any other season with the Mets, making the second requirement impossible to reach. As for the third, he pitched 0 innings in 2011 & 117 in 2012, so 215 innings in 2013 is the mark he’d hit first to satisfy that requirement.)

  • Pete

    Thanks for the complete details of his contract. I would imagine then that Johan will do everything in his power to achieve 215 innings. Or the Mets will try moving him to a contender at the trade deadline. That would be dependent on the Mets being out of wild card contention. But who knows?

  • Metsense

    I think a healthy Santana will track Rogan’s numbers until August 1st and then his last two months of the season will regress for a final result of Brian’s numbers. That is why it is imperative in July to swallow the contract and trade Johan for the best prospect available. If Santana pitched a whole season to Rogan’s numbers the Mets wouldn’t pick up his option for next year. So hopefully the Mets can trade him this summer.
    I have a question. If you turn down a players option, can you make him a qualifying offer? Even if you could, I don’t think the Mets would.
    Santana has the heart of a lion, a true team player and has all my respect in the way he carries himself.

  • Pete

    It’s unfortunate that Johan has gone through some difficulty staying healthy. To me he’s the exception yo the rule. He cares about winning, holds himself accountable and tries to live up to the expectations of his contract. Can’t ask for more than that.

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