Minnesota Twins: Johan Santana elected to Twins HOF

ANAHEIM, CA - JULY 6: Johan Santana
ANAHEIM, CA - JULY 6: Johan Santana /

The Minnesota Twins announced on Friday that Johan Santana would be in the 2018 Twins Hall of Fame class

The Minnesota Twins announced on Friday that Johan Santana would be the only member of their 2018 Minnesota Twins Hall of Fame class.

Santana is on the Hall of Fame ballot this year, and currently, there is some worry that he could fall below the 5% vote threshold to remain on the ballot for another season. However, much like the team did with Bert Blyleven roughly a decade before the Hall of Fame got his induction right, the team inducted Santana to their team Hall of Fame, and he will be inducted in a ceremony in August.

Santana will become the 31st member of the Twins Hall of Fame. After two seasons when the Hall of Fame didn’t induct a single player, the Twins HOF has now inducted their third early 2000s Twins icon in the last three years as Torii Hunter and Michael Cuddyer went in the previous two years.

Santana’s Twins career

The Twins originally acquired Santana as a Rule 5 pick, trading for him after the Marlins took him from the Astros system. That meant the Minnesota Twins were required to keep him on the roster all season, which they did, in spite of a 6.49 ERA over 86 innings as a swingman.

Santana went to the minors and worked his way back up the next two seasons, pitching at an elite level startin in 2002, when he made 27 appearances, 14 of them starts, throwing 108 1/3 innings with a 2.99 ERA and 137 strikeouts.

The Twins started Santana in the bullpen in 2003, but he eventually worked his way into the rotation with his tremendous performance, posting a 3.07 ERA over 158 1/3 innings, striking out 169.

Santana began a run in 2004 in the rotation that is tough to match in team history. From 2004-2007, Santana won 70 games, posting a 2.89 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, 5.5% BB rate, and 27.4% K rate. In that time, he won 2 Cy Young Awards (and should have won a third), won the Triple Crown of pitching, made 3 All-Star teams, and even won the 2007 Gold Glove.

Overall, he finished his Twins career with a 93-44 record over 1,308 2/3 innings, with a 3.22 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 6.9% BB rate, and 26.2% K rate.

Post-Twins time

With free agency impending after the 2008 season, the Minnesota Twins embarked on shopping Santana in the trade market, eventually moving him to the New York Mets for a package of four prospects.

Santana signed a long-term deal with the Mets at that point. He had a tremendous 2008 season for the Mets, finishing 3rd in the National League Cy Young voting as he went 16-7 with a 2.53 ERA over 234 13 innings, striking out 206.

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Injuries started to creep in on Santana in 2009 and 2010, limiting him from eclipsing 200 innings in either season before his elbow popped and required surgery, missing the entire 2011 season.

Santana returned in 2012 and had started with a solid season, but ended up throwing a ton of pitches (134) in order to throw the first no-hitter in New York Mets history. He struggled to find his same velocity and arm strength after that start before eventually ending his season early.

He has not pitched in the major leagues since that 2012 season, in spite of multiple comeback efforts. Even in his interview on his Hall of Fame induction, Santana stated that he’s not officially retired just yet!

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Now that the Minnesota Twins have honored Johan, hopefully he can find his way to staying on the ballot for the Hall of Fame beyond just one year!