My player projections continue with…
Johan Santana, LHSP
Following over a year of rehab and recovery from a torn anterior capsule in his shoulder, Johan Santana is ramping up for Opening Day. His Spring Training starts and bullpen sessions have reportedly gone off without a hitch, and he’s scheduled to start again today for the Mets.
Besides being healthy thus far, he has been effective. His fastball has been clocked at 87-90 MPH, and his changeup has maintained a 10-12 MPH differential. He’s also been working on throwing more sliders, in an effort to increase his deception to compensate for his drop in velocity. But there’s still a chance he may pick up a MPH or two before Spring Training is over. And since he joined the Mets, he hasn’t thrown much more than 92-93 anyway, and has still put together three very good seasons.
There’s also a chance his shoulder will fail him once again. Chien-Ming Wang had the same injury, and it took him two years to come back. On top of that, Santana had a more invasive version of the surgery – doctors had to cut through muscle to repair his anterior capsule.
As of now, Johan is on track to return, but it’s a long way from here to Opening Day, and an even longer way to the end of the regular season. The Mets will be cautious, taking every opportunity to give him extra rest, and maybe even shutting him down at the end of the season. If he gets 20 starts – and I believe he can – the team will be happy.
Projection: 23 GS, 9-5, 3.68 ERA, 1.29 WHIP
FanGraphs: 23 GS, 10-8, 3.53 ERA, 1.27 WHIP
Next week: The bullpen and bench (sounds like an English pub).