Johan Alexander Santana (born March 13, 1979 in Tovar, Mérida State, Venezuela) is a Major League Baseball left-handed starting pitcher who plays for the New York Mets. As a two-time Cy Young Award winner, Santana has established himself as one of the best pitchers in baseball. His repertoire includes 91-95 mph fastball along with a circle changeup, considered by many to be one of the best changeups in baseball.
In 2002, the Twins sent Santana to the minors for 2 months to work almost exclusively on perfecting his changeup. He did this for 10 starts and came back up to the majors with a terrific changeup to complement his very good fastball. While in the minors, pitching coach Bobby Cuellar made Santana throw at least one changeup to every batter. According to Cuellar, Santana would sometimes throw 20 in a row during games.
Santana is very good against both right and left-handed hitters. He works quickly and throws a 91-95 mph fastball, a hard slider (which he has developed into a slurve), and a tailing changeup that is considered one of best changeups in baseball. Some announcers refer to the changeup as a "Bugs Bunny" changeup. His pitches are too close to take, but difficult to drive, causing batters to lunge after balls that are down and out of the strike zone. He consistently works to eliminate the difference in his throwing motions, making it very difficult for opposing batters to guess which pitch he's throwing.
Santana was used as a long reliever early in his career after finding little success as a starter. In 2003, Santana transitioned from relief to the Twins' starting rotation after spending the first four months of the season in the bullpen. He won his last eight decisions and pitched the ALDS opening game against the Yankees.Due to Santana's early major-league success with the Twins, a young minor-league pitcher in the Anaheim Angels' farm system also named Johan Santana changed his name to Ervin Santana in 2003 and has also achieved major league success.
In 2004, Santana enjoyed one of the great second halves of modern times. He became the first pitcher since 1961 to give up four or fewer hits in ten straight starts, and his 13-0 record broke the old Major League second-half mark shared between Burt Hooton and Rick Sutcliffe.
Santana's other second-half numbers were equally impressive: 11.13 strikeouts per nine innings, 1.21 ERA, 4.74 hits per nine innings, and 6.73 baserunners per nine innings. In addition, Santana set a team season record with 265 strikeouts, surpassing the old 258 mark registered by Bert Blyleven in 1973.
Santana finished in good form with a 20-6 record and led the American League in strikeouts (265), ERA (2.61), strikeouts per nine innings pitched (10.46), WHIP (0.92), batting average allowed (.192), OBP (.249), SLG (.315), and OPS (.564) and walked only 54 batters in 228 innings. Opponents stole just six bases in seven attempts against him, and his 42 victories ranked him second behind only Curt Schilling, who won 56 games for the Red Sox. He easily won the AL Cy Young Award over Schilling with all 28 first-place votes.
Santana struggled in his first outing of 2005, giving up six runs in the first inning, but quickly regained his composure and returned to Cy Young-winning form in an 8-4 victory over the Seattle Mariners. In his second game, he rocked the Chicago White Sox with 11 strikeouts as the Twins won 5–2. Following a brief slump in May 2005, Santana worked on improving hispitching form and was immediately rewarded with a seven-inning, two-run outing against the Toronto Blue Jays, which the Twins won 7–2. Santana finished with an ERA of 2.87, second lowest in the American League behind Indians pitcher Kevin Millwood (2.86). However, the weak Twins club of the 2005 season cost him several otherwise-winnable games, and his winning percentage fell considerably in his second full year as a starter. He threw 238 strikeouts during the season, leading the majors. He finished third in the Cy Young voting, finishing behind winner Bartolo Colón of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and Yankees reliever Mariano Rivera.
Santana won the Major League Pitching Triple Crown, the first player to do so since Dwight Gooden in 1985. He completed the season leading the majors in ERA (2.77) and strikeouts (245), and tied Yankees pitcher Chien-Ming Wang in wins (19). He is the first pitcher to win the triple crown with fewer than 20 wins, and the first to win the MLB triple crown with an ERA above 2.60.
Santana also led the American League in WHIP (1.0), opposing batting average (.216), and innings pitched (233.6). He continued to add to his reputation as a great second-half pitcher, losing only one game after the All-Star break while winning 10 and posting a 2.54 ERA. A brief slump cost him the opportunity to make his 20th win of the season. No pitcher in Major League Baseball won 20 games in the 2006 season, the first time in modern major league history this occurred.
Santana won his second Cy Young Award in 2006, becoming the 14th player in MLB history to win the award multiple times. He is the fifth pitcher to win the award by a unanimous vote twice, joining Roger Clemens, Pedro Martínez, and Greg Maddux; Sandy Koufax accomplished the feat three times.
From 2004-2006, Santana has led the league in strikeouts all three years, in ERA twice, and has also led in several other key statistical areas. In that three-year span, he has compiled a 55–19 record with an ERA of 2.75 and WHIP of 0.96, while striking out 748 batters.
After a slow start, with his record falling to 6–6 at one point, Johan jump-started his season with a four-hit shutout, followed by two wins. On July 1, 2007, Santana was named as a member of the 2007 MLB All-Star Game, his third straight appearance.
On June 19, 2007, on the team bus to a game at Shea Stadium, Bert Blyleven said he would have his head shaved if that night's starting pitcher, Johan, threw a complete-game shutout. The Twins won, 9–0, and Santana went the distance. Santana shaved Blyleven's head the following day.
Santana had perhaps his best career game on August 19th against the Texas Rangers in which he struck out 17 batters over eight innings. He walked none and allowed only two hits, both to Sammy Sosa. His 17 strikeouts set a Twins club record for strikeouts in a game.
While Santana did not have a bad season, he led the major leagues in home runs allowed (33) and had the most losses of his career (13). Santana finished the season with only 15 wins, his lowest total since 2003, though he led the American League in WHIP, was 2nd in strikeouts with 235, and 7th in ERA. On the last game of the season, a rain delay in Detroit that lasted over an hour caused Santana to pitch only three innings, ending a 123-start streak where he pitched five innings or more, which was the third longest in the past half century.
In November, it was announced that Johan Santana was awarded the American League Gold Glove Award for pitcher. This was the first time he was selected for this award.
During 2007–2008 off-season, Santana was traded from the Twins to the New York Mets, for Carlos Gomez, Phil Humber, Deolis Guerra, and Kevin Mulvey. On February 1, 2008, the Mets and Santana agreed to a six-year, $137.5 million contract. Santana was named the opening day starter, throwing 100 pitches in seven innings to earn the win against the Florida Marlins. On May 10, 2008, he earned his first win at Shea Stadium as a member of the New York Mets. On June 1, 2008, Santana earned his 100th career victory, going 7.2 innings and allowing just one run in a 6-1 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers. On July 27, the day after the Mets played a 14 inning game where every pitcher in the bullpen was used, Johan pitched a complete game against the St. Louis Cardinals. He struck out 5 and also got his first RBI as a Met. He won this game, improving his record to 9-7. On August 17, 2008 Santana pitched his second complete game and his 11th win of the season, allowing only 3 hits while walking none and striking out 7 in a 3-0 Mets win over the Pittsburgh Pirates.
On September 23, Santana threw a career-high 125 pitches in 8 innings to beat the Chicago Cubs. On 27 September, in the thick of a playoff race and on the final weekend of the season, Santana pitched a complete game 3-hit shutout in a 2-0 win against the Florida Marlins on three-days rest. It was later revealed that Santana had pitched that day, and perhaps in many other starts, with a torn meniscus in his left knee. He underwent successful surgery on it on October 1, 2008.
Santana finished the 2008 regular season with a 16-7 record, posting a 2.53 ERA with 206 strikeouts. His 2.53 ERA led the majors and was a career best. He also set a career high in IP.
Santana finished in third place in the National League Cy Young award race behind Brandon Webb and winner Tim Lincecum.
Johan Santana is a talented person because he has achieved all its goals. At an early age he traveled to the capital with the hoping of exercising the baseball. Santana was born in Tovar, Merida State, Venezuela. Is known in Venezuela as "Gocho" by its Andean origin. It should be noted that the family was poor, and with the help of their parents has become a professional. Currently, it is a great Major League Baseball, played with the New York Mets. In 2004, Santana won the Cy Young Award of the American League. He won twenty games and the first in almost all statistics for pitchers this year. Then in 2006, Santana returned to win the Cy Young Award of the American League after winning nineteen games, achieving the Triple Crown.
Santana is a very humble person with great spirit for life. aid to poor children through sports institutions. He is an idol for everyone because he is perseverance, humility, intelligence and other values that make it an example to follow.
video of Johan Santana: