Is Box-Toppers great Johan Santana at the end of his career?

There is news today that Mets superstar pitcher Johan Santana may need surgery which could end his 2013 season and possibly his career.

If it is indeed the end, it is a loss of one of the best players in the last 20 years.

Since Box-Toppers began in 1995, Santana ranks eighth among all players with 166.6 points. He is the fourth-ranked active player, behind only Alex Rodriguez (176.3 points), Roy Halladay (169.7) and C.C. Sabathia (167.6).

Even though his Box-Toppers points totals have declined slightly in recent years (including in 2011 when he sat out with injury and earned no points), he still ranks seventh among all current NL pitchers in the period from 2007-2012. He has 67.6 Box-Toppers points during that period (which also includes points he earned in 2007 with the Minnesota Twins in the American League).

Santana made his MLB debut in 2000 and his Box-Toppers debut in 2001, when he was named Player of the Game the first time. He won the AL Cy Young Award with the Twins in both 2004 and 2006. He also was the Box-Toppers overall points leader in 2004, 2005 and 2006. (He lost the Cy Young to Angels pitcher Bartolo Colón, who only had 9.4 Box-Toppers points that year, though he had 21 wins. By Box-Toppers measures, Colón was not even among the top 10 AL pitchers and was not even the best pitcher on his team that year—John Lackey had 12.4 points.)

In 2007, Santana led all AL pitchers in Box-Toppers points with 18.1. That year's AL Cy Young award winner, Cleveland's C.C. Sabathia, finished fourth among AL pitchers with 13.1 Box-Toppers points. 

In other words, Santana should have won four straight Cy Young awards from 2004 to 2007. He finished third in Cy Young voting in both 2005 and 2007.

Here are his yearly Box-Toppers point totals:

  • 2001 Min 1.7
  • 2002 Min 10
  • 2003 Min 10.7
  • 2004 Min 26.8 (Cy Young award, Box-Toppers points overall leader)
  • 2005 Min 24.1 (Box-Toppers points overall leader)
  • 2006 Min 25.7 (Cy Young award, Box-Toppers points overall leader)
  • 2007 Min 18.1 (Box-Toppers AL pitching leader, 4th overall)
  • 2008 NYM 15.4
  • 2009 NYM 11.4
  • 2010 NYM 12
  • 2011 NYM 0
  • 2012 NYM 10.7

On a personal note, my brother Andy, who died in 2010 at the age of 40 of ALS, was such a big baseball fan that he had a player's jersey draped on his casket the day of his funeral. It was the jersey of his favorite player, the player he always made sure he had on his fantasy baseball team—it was Johan Santana's jersey.