I guess we are so used to seeing an authoritarian pitcher in Johan Santana that when he’s not striking out guys at a 9K per game clip or watch that walk rate creep up last three years we ask “Have we seen that last of Dominant Johan” when we should be asking “are we watching the re-invention of Johan”
Mike Silva has a great post on this today at NY Baseball Digest looking at the different scenarios that have made Santana less than the dominant pitcher we know and love.
I will say this for Santana, he has terrific focus and he is one of the smartest pitchers in baseball, if he has to compensate for a lack of velocity and the inability to over power a batter, I’m confident he can figure out a way to go after the hitters with a different strategy. We are seeing his Fly Ball rate dropping and his ground ball rate inching up so you could see Santana concentrate more in keeping the ball lower in the strike zone and pitching to contact.
We also have to understand that at the age of 31 most likely we have seen the best of Santana. That’s not to say he’s done or on the down side not in the least, what we could be seeing is a solid pitcher but he may not be the can’t miss option he’s been for the majority of his career.