Ask any Mets fan who the greatest pitcher in franchise history is, and without hesitation they’ll say Tom Seaver. Ask that same fan what season was Seaver’s greatest and most likely they’ll say it was 1969 when he compiled a 25-7 record while leading the Mets to their first World Series title.
After being treated to another scintillating performance by Johan Santana last night, I felt like we weren’t just witnessing a pitcher on the verge of a great season, but that he may be on the verge of one of the best seasons in Mets history.
With the 40 year anniversary of the Miracle Mets this season, I decided I had to look into this further and compare Seaver’s magical 1969 season to what Johan Santana has done so far.
Of course, there’s plenty of season still left and Santana could have a bit drop off in his performance later in the season (God forbid). But just for comparison’s sake, I wanted to see how the numbers compared.
Because pitching has change so much from the sixties to now, I’m not going to compare complete games and some other stats that would make for an unfair comparison. Rather I chose some statistical standards that could fairly give an accurate comparison.
It’s almost incredible to believe the enormous difference in ERA’s. Even if Santana were to pitch to a 2.50 ERA the rest of the way, he will still finish a shade below Tom Seaver.
Tom Seaver may always hold the franchise record for strikeouts, but what Johan Santana is doing this season is completely off the charts. He is striking out about six more batters per game than Seaver did over nine innings. Last night Santana struck out ten Phillies and all he needed was seven innings to do it.
The walks per nine innings is nearly identical, but when you compare the strikeout to walk ratio, Santana blows Seaver out of the water. Santana’s Batting Average Against and WHIP are absolutely jaw-dropping. I just can’t believe that he will be able to maintain these other worldly levels over an entire season. But if he does, he may not just set a Mets record for the best single season performance, it may just be one for the ages.