After his second anterior capsule surgery, some analysts believe Johan Santana is finished. He is now approaching 35 years old, and he has lost significant velocity of his fastball. However, I think people are being too quick to write off the former Cy Young Award Winner. While he is not the same pitcher he once was, he has the potential to be a factor for the Baltimore Orioles in 2014.
The main reason why people believe he is finished is because no other pitcher has successfully returned from an anterior capsule surgery. While the success rate is low, this fact is deceiving. An incredibly small amount of pitchers have undergone this surgery, so the sample size is not large enough to come to such a conclusion. Although the uncertainty about the surgery makes Santana a question mark, it does not mean his career is over.
While Santana’s loss of velocity is concerning, it is important to remember he is still rehabbing from a serious injury. It looks like he will not return until the second half, so he can add more velocity as he regains his strength. Santana also does not have to overpower hitters to have success. Santana is an experienced and intelligent pitcher, who can get outs with deception.
If there is a pitcher who should never be counted out, it’s Santana. He was one of the league’s most dominant pitchers, and he is a tremendous competitor on the mound. There are not many pitchers who have Santana’s heart and determination. Look for him to make an impact for the Orioles during the second half of the season.