This could get a chuckle from the hometown crowd, but during the 2000s, there were few pitchers that were as dominant as Johan Santana was for the Twins. After being acquired in a Rule 5 draft trade with the Florida Marlins, Santana began his career in the Minnesota bullpen but quickly made his way to being one of the top aces in Major League Baseball.
During his 12-year career, Santana went 139-78 with a 3.20 ERA between the Twins and the New York Mets and 1,988 strikeouts. While his overall numbers are nice, his numbers from when he became a starter during the 2002 season to the 2010 season were outstanding, compiling a 2.90 ERA while winning two American League Cy Young Awards.
Santana has a strong case for the Hall of Fame, but it could be even stronger. In 2005, Santana was one of the best pitchers in baseball going 16-7 with a 2.87 ERA, but because the Twins missed the playoffs, he finished third in the AL Cy Young Award voting. The award was given to Los Angeles’ Bartolo Colon despite Santana outpitching him in virtually every category.
If Santana was a three-time Cy Young Award winner and reached the 2,000 strikeout mark, we could be talking about a pitcher that is on his way to Cooperstown. Until then, it will just be a game of wait-and-see.