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A Closer Look: Is Johan Santana Droppable??

Yesterday, I read somewhere that Johan Santana admitted that he is still recovering from his offseason elbow surgery. On Saturday, we saw Johan give up 5 runs on 8 hits in 6 innings of work. It marks the 4th game in a row where he has given up at least 4 runs, but more importantly he has only a 9-9 K/BB rate in his last 25 innings of work. Nine strikeouts for Johan?? We used to see that in one game, now we are getting that in 4 games.

For the month of June he has a 8-12 K/BB rate in 26.2 innings. His ERA has jumped almost a full run in June from 2.76 to 3.55. His FIP and xFIP prior to Saturday's game was 3.92 and 4.72, with a BABIP of .274 and a LOB% of 76.5%. His BABIP is his lowest since 2004, and his LOB% is his lowest since 2005. Another stat in his favor is his HR/FB% of just 6.00%, so his ballpark is aiding him since his FB% is around 45%. But his decreasing K% and increasing BB% are hurting his ERA, as he is not the dominant starting pitcher he once was.

Santana's K% before Saturday's game was just 5.69. His K% has dropped from 10.46 in 2004, to 9.66 in 2007 to 5.69 this year. His BB% is increasing to 2.85 from 2.48 in 2009. As a result, his K/BB% is at a career low of 2.00 vs. 3.17 in 2009. Back in 2005, Santana's K/BB% was at 5.29. How times have changed.

Santana's decreasing K% and increasing BB% is making him just an average starting pitcher in 5 x 5 leagues. Guys like Mike Leake, Jon Garland and Kyle Davies sport better K% than Santana this year.

Santana was the best starting pitcher in fantasy baseball just two short years ago, and now he is talked about in the same breath as Mike Leake and Jon Garland. I wrote about Santana here back in February. If you can deal him and get 4th round value for him, I would jump on it. Santana could still continue to pitch well, but he has shown this year that he is not the dominant starter we are accustomed to seeing.