Johan Santana, Box-Toppers' dominant player in mid-2000s, attempting comeback after injury

  One in a series

One in a series

Box-Toppers’ Stick-A-Fork-In-Them series looks at 14 players whose careers are done or may be done. Included is a look at how they have fared in Box-Toppers points over their careers, reflecting their impact on the game over time. This is the fourth of the series:

4. Johan Santana

Johan Santana was Box-Toppers’ dominant player in the mid-2000s as he led all players in Box-Toppers points three consecutive years and all American League pitchers for four straight years.

Santana, 34, missed the entire 2013 season after re-injuring his shoulder and undergoing surgery. He missed the 2011 season with a similar injury and there are questions whether he will be able to continue pitching. He is currently an unsigned free agent.

Johan Santana

Here are Johan Santana's Box-Toppers statistics. The third column shows his Box-Toppers points (BTP) per season. The final column shows his All-Star Selections, his Box-Toppers key season rankings and his standing in Cy Young and Most Valuable Player Award voting.

YearTeamBTP Notes
2000min al0.0 
2001min al1.7 
2002min al10.0 
2003min al10.7CYA-7
2004min al26.8BTP-1, CYA-1, MVP-6
2005min al24.1AS, BTP-1, CYA-3
2006min al25.7AS, BTP-1, CYA-1, MVP-7
2007min al18.1AS, CYA-5, BTP-4, BTP-AL pi-1
2008nym nl15.4BTP-9, BTP-NL pi-5, CYA-3, MVP-14
2009nym nl11.4 
2010nym nl12.0 
2011nym nl0.0 
2012nym nl10.7 
2013nym nl0.0 
Total 166.6BTP-8, BTP-pi-6

AS All-star selection
BTP Finish among all players in Box-Toppers points
BTP-AL pi Finish among all AL pitchers in BTP
BTP-NL pi Finish among all NL pitchers in BTP
CYA Finish in league Cy Young Award voting
MVP Finish in league Most Valuable Player Award voting

Source: Information for player awards comes from Baseball-Reference.com

Santana has 166.6 Box-Toppers points, putting him in eighth place among players on Box-Toppers’ “all-time” rankings (Box-Toppers record keeping began in 1995) and sixth among all pitchers. At the end of 2013, he ranked third among all active pitchers, behind CC Sabathia (172.3) and Roy Halladay (170.7), who announced his retirement in December.

Santana’s Box-Toppers numbers suggest he should have won four straight American League Cy Young Awards while pitching for the Minnesota Twins from 2004 through 2007, however, he only won two. He led all players in Box-Toppers points in 2004, 2005 and 2006 and led all AL pitchers in points in 2007:

• In 2004, his best season, he earned 26.8 Box-Toppers points, more than any other player that year, won the Cy Young Award and also finished sixth in AL Most Valuable Player voting. (Vladimir Guerrero of the Angels was voted MVP. He had 14.4 Box-Toppers points, fifth among all AL players.)

• In 2005, Santana had 24.1 Box-Toppers points, more than any other player that season. However, he finished third in AL Cy Young voting. (Bartolo Colon of the Angels won the Cy Young—he had 9.4 Box-Toppers points that year, ranking 13th among AL pitchers.)

• In 2006, Santana had 25.7 Box-Toppers points, again more than any other player that year, winning the AL Cy Young Award and finishing seventh in AL MVP voting. (Twins teammate Justin Morneau was voted MVP—he had 12.2 Box-Toppers points, seventh among all AL batters.)

• In 2007, Santana had 18.1 Box-Toppers points, the most of any AL pitcher and the fourth most of any player. However, he finished fifth in AL Cy Young voting, with only one vote. (CC Sabathia of the Cleveland Indians won the award—he had 13.1 Box-Toppers points, fourth among AL pitchers.)

Santana moved to the New York Mets in 2008 and while he finished fifth among National League pitchers and ninth among all players in Box-Toppers points with 15.4, he has never again equalled the success he had over the previous four years with the Twins.

However, when he has been healthy and active, he has surpassed 10.0 Box-Toppers points each season—he has 10 such seasons in his 14-year career. He surpassed 15.0 points in five seasons and scored more than 20.0 points in three seasons. 

Box-Toppers tracks who most helps their team win the most games. Using standard box score statistics, Box-Toppers uses a simple formula to determine a Player of the Game for each Major League Baseball game played. That player is the person who contributed most to his team’s win. Players earn Box-Toppers points for being named Player of the Game and can earn bonus points for being Player of the Day or top player or batter in their league for the day.

Coming next in the series: Jim Thome

Previously in the series: Alex Rodriguez, Roy Halladay, Manny Ramirez