Johan Santana used to throw pretty hard and doesn’t any more, but it’s always been the change-up that’s really set him apart. And this was just as true Friday night in his no-hitter as it’s ever been, as Santana threw 38 change-ups and recorded nine outs with them.
FanGraphs’ Jack Moore:
It’s only fitting. Although his injuries may make a Hall of Fame bid difficult, Santana’s changeup is no doubt a hall-of-fame caliber pitch. Santana is the career leader in changeup pitch value since BIS began tracking the data in 2002 at 133.4 runs saved, and his changeup saves an average of 2.11 runs per 100 times thrown. The only pitcher who throws his changeup so often to even come close is Cole Hamels, at 2.02.
Open Moore’s piece and you’ll be rewarded with a number of .gifs, showing just how effective Santana’s change-up was.
Is he back to where he used to be? We’ll explore that one later …