I was reading Eric Karabell's Wednesday chat last night, and one chatter asked him which pitcher he would want for the next 3 years-Johan Santana or Tim Lincecum?
Karabell responded he would take Santana first even though Lincecum won the Cy Young award in 2008 and lead the majors in strikeouts. Now that the Mets have refurbished their bullpen with the signing of closer Francisco Rodriguez and trade for set up man JJ Putz, one would come to the conclusion that Santana would be a shoo-in for 20 wins in 2009, after winning 16 in 2008.
No one knows how the Mets new ballpark will play in 2009. Some have said it will be an extreme pitchers park, while there have been other stories of Mets hitters calling it a "launching pad".
I decided to take a look at Santana's career statistics to see how his 2008 compared to previous seasons in the AL. What I quickly discovered is pretty shocking. Do you all remember the talk of how Santana will strike out more hitters in the NL since he gets to pitch against the pitcher a few times per game instead of the DH in the AL? Well, Santana's strikeouts dropped in 2008 from 235 to 206, and his walks increased from 52 to 63, even though he ptiched more innings in 2008-234 than 2007-219, and faced almost 90 more batters.
Santana's strikeouts have dropped in 3 of the last 4 years from 265 in 2004, to 238 in 2005, to 245 in 2006, to 235 in 2007, to 206 in 2008. From 2004 to 2008, Santana's K/BB ratio has dropped from about 5:1 to about 3:1. One stat he improved in 2008 was HR given up. His HR number dropped from 33 in 2007 to 23 in 2008.
Meanwhile, Lincecum won the Cy Young award in 2008, with 18 wins, 265 strikeouts, and a 2.62 ERA. He increased his strikeouts from 150 to 265, as well as his walks from 65 to 84. But he only gave up 11 HRs in 227 IP, compared to 12 HRs in 146 IP in 2007.
Should Taxpayer, I mean, Citifield be the launching pad that some have said it is, Santana may not be the best pitcher in the majors in 2009, and someone who drafts him early may be looking up at his fellow league owners at the end of the season.