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Ervin Santana has a chance to join elite company

The Twins pitcher could end the season as the MLB’s best

MLB: Chicago White Sox at Minnesota Twins
Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

Mudcat Grant, Jim Kaat, Jim Perry, Dave Goltz, Frank Viola, Scott Erickson, and Johan Santana. That is the complete list of Twins pitchers to ever lead the league in pitcher wins. Ervin Santana has a chance to join that list this season. Yes, I know pitcher wins is a useless stat. This is still fun. Let me have my fun, damnit.

Ervin Santana currently owns a record of 15-7, which ties him for second in the AL. The leaders, Trevor Bauer, Corey Kluber, and Chris Sale, are at sixteen wins. Carlos Carrasco, Drew Pomeranz and Jason Vargas also have 15 wins. If you’re counting, that makes three Indians, two Red Sox, and a Royal. Plus our guy. No one else has a chance to overtake the lead, unless everyone on this list shits the bed.

Santana likely has four starts left, assuming the Twins stick to their rotation. Tonight, he faces the Padres. If Kyle Gibson could handle them so well, one hopes Santana can too. After that, he is scheduled to face the Yankees, and the Tigers twice. Last time Santana faced the Padres, he threw a complete game win, and they are a fairly weak team. The Yankees will be a challenge, but are beatable, and the Tigers are already thinking about their October tee times. I think it is realistic to estimate that Santana can win three of the four, giving him 18 wins on the season. Nineteen would be the maximum he could win.

As for his competition, what are their odds?

  • Trevor Bauer has a slightly more difficult row to hoe. He likely has three remaining starts. He faces Jason Vargas of Kansas City on Friday, then lines up to face the Angels, and his final start is against the Twins. Winning two of those will be do-able, but isn’t a guarantee. Two wins would put him at 18 wins as well. He needs to win all three starts to hit 19.
  • Chris Sale will likely start against the Rays on Friday, and then lines up to face Baltimore, Toronto, and Houston. He is the only pitcher with the potential to reach twenty wins this season, but also has a very difficult remaining schedule. If he wins two of those games, he is at 18, and three wins puts him at 19.
  • Corey Kluber might actually end up with the most wins of any Cleveland pitcher. he lines up for Kansas City, Seattle, and Chicago. If he wins two of the three, which is quite possible, he will also be at 18, and all three puts him at 19.
  • Carlos Carrasco also has three likely starts remaining, against KC, Seattle, and Minnesota. He will have to win all three to hit 18, and that doesn’t seem likely.
  • Drew Pomeranz draws a slightly easier schedule than Sale, but not by much. He gets Oakland, Baltimore, Toronto, and Houston. Winning all four would put him at 19, and three would put him at 18.
  • Jason Vargas also has a challenge upcoming. He faces Bauer and the Indians on Friday, and then draws Toronto, Detroit, and Arizona. He would somehow need to win three of these games to hit 18 wins, and all four for 19.

Of course, all of this is assuming that the teams keep their pitchers on schedule. With Cleveland and Boston basically locked into the playoffs, and Minnesota heading for a berth as well, there is a good chance that starts get skipped at the end of the season to line up the best pitching staffs for the playoffs.

Ervin Santana has a good chance to end up at least tied for the lead in this particular meaningless stat column. While it might not mean much to stat heads out there, it would put him into the record books with an elite list of Twins. Personally, I think Sale will end up in the lead, but you never know with baseball.


Does Ervin Santana end the season with the most wins in the AL (or at least tied?)

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