Mets Spring Training Question 20: Johan Santana

With 20 days until pitchers and Molinas report, question #20 for the Mets is the health of Johan Santana.

Based on the risky assumption that Santana’s reconstructed shoulder will finally be healthy enough for MLB competition, this is what the projected 5-man rotation looks like for the Mets:

1. Johan Santana
2. R.A. Dickey
3. Jonathon Niese
4. Mike Pelfrey
5. Dillon Gee

You can change the order as you see fit; bottom line is that the above are the five men the Mets hope will take the mound in a five-game period. There are question marks for all five, but let’s focus on Santana. What if his arm isn’t ready? What does the rotation look like then? Something like this:

1. R.A. Dickey
2. Jonathon Niese
3. Mike Pelfrey
4. Dillon Gee
5. Chris Schwinden

Alternatively, you might write in Josh Stinson or Jeremy Hefner into that #5 slot. We saw Stinson very briefly in a few relief appearances last September, and Hefner was released by two different clubs during this past winter before the Mets signed him. Hefner is interesting in that he’s “new” and he showed success at the lower levels of the minors, but his performance in the hitter-happy PCL in 2011 was so-so; just based on the numbers it appears he’s ahead of Stinson and maybe Schwinden as well — though that’s not saying much. Hopefully, though, that means he’s better than the ageless Miguel Batista — who is also around “just in case”.

Here’s a crazy thought: what if Santana isn’t ready, and one of the other projected starters goes down with an injury? It may sound pessimistic but think about it – Pelfrey has been dealing with a chronic shoulder injury for at least two years, Gee’s shoulder has been weak for longer than that, and you never know what kind of freak accident might occur during those PFP drills. I shudder to think what the rotation might look like if two of the projected five don’t survive spring training.

So there it is, question 20 — is Johan Santana ready for MLB competition and what does the rotation look like if he’s not?

Discuss …

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About the Author

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.

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