No-han Santana

Johan Santana carries a lot of name brand value, even after bone chips in his elbow required surgery in August and cut his season short. MockDraftCentral has him going at pick 41 between Dan Haren and Justin Verlander, which is just crazy in my not-so-humble opinion. Basically, Johan has been in decline since he peaked in 2004. While it has been very productive decline, a decline it is and this ride has been going on for five years and ended in injury.

Johan’s fastball was averaging 90.5 mph last season, since 2006 it has fallen from 93.1 to 91.7 to 91.2 to 90.5 mph. Even before the surgery, you could have expected a sub 90 mph fastball for 2010. Even with the velocity dropping, it still remains a positive valued pitch. The problem last season was that his Change Up lost a lot of value, falling from a superb 23.7 to an above average 2.9

Johan’s K/9 is also declining. Once a mighty 10.46 k/9, his punch out rate has fallen to 7.88 k/9. If the trend continues, we’re prolly looking at a 7.5-7.75 K/9, unless the elbow speeds up the deterioration.

Johan’s BABIP and xFIP are steadily rising. These two stats, which help forecast WHIP and ERA, are on a predictable decline. Again ignoring the elbow injury, you can already safely assume regression in WHIP and ERA. The pattern is obvious.

2004 BABIP .259 = WHIP 0.92
2005 BABIP .276 = WHIP 0.97
2006 BABIP .281 = WHIP 1.00
2007 BABIP .282 = WHIP 1.07
2008 BABIP .287 = WHIP 1.15
2009 BABIP .296 = WHIP 1.21

2004 xFIP 2.95 = ERA 2.61
2005 xFIP 3.10 = ERA 2.87
2006 xFIP 3.12 = ERA 2.77
2007 xFIP 3.43 = ERA 3.33
2008 xFIP 3.66 = ERA 2.53
2009 xFIP 4.13 = ERA 3.13

At the time of his injury, he was expected to fully recover and be ready for spring training, but that elbow did stop his five year run of at least 200 IP. Assuming he is healthy and doesnt suffer any setbacks, you should plan on seeing a decline from Johan. Maybe he stays healthy and gives you a 1.25 WHIP, is that what you want from a 41 ADP? I think people are not only taking a risk (elbow problems are not as serious as shoulder problems, but a season ending injury after a number of years of decline is something to keep an eye on) with his health, but also taking on a player in obvious decline. Name brand value isn’t worth the price here. Johan will not be on any of my teams, unless he falls to the 80-90 range.

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