For a while, it looked as if Johan Santana already had his ticket to Cooperstown punched and ready to go. From 2004, when he became a full-time starting pitcher with the Twins, until the end of the decade, Santana was the best pitcher in baseball, eclipsing Roy Halladay, CC Sabathia, Roy Oswalt, Brandon Webb, and all of the other pitching greats of the time in just about every single category. Since then, however, injuries and various other maladies have ravaged the Venezuelan lefty. Beginning in 2009, Santana has undergone numerous surgeries, including repairing a torn left knee meniscus, removing bone chips from his left elbow, and repairing a torn anterior capsule in his left shoulder, causing him to miss considerable time. All of that, plus age and natural wear-and-tear on his body, contributed to him being a lesser pitcher.
When Johan finally took the mound again in 2012 after more than a year of rehabilitation, he looked completely rejuvenated. Santana appeared a little shaky through his first handful of games, but he hit his stride at the end of April and for nearly two months was pitching like one of the best hurlers in the game. From April 24, his first good start of the season, through the end of June, Johan threw 86 innings and had a 2.60 ERA with 80 strikeouts (8.3 K/9), 27 walks (2.8 BB/9), and allowed batters to hit .201/.265/.348 against him. From June 6, when he collided with Reed Johnson, until he was shut down on August 17, Santana was a very different pitcher: he threw 19 innings and had a 15.63 ERA with 18 strikeouts (8.5 K/9), six walks (3.0 BB/9), and allowed batters to hit .448/.471/.771 against him.