Johan Santana: The what-if factor

Johan Santana has done nothing but win for the Twins. So why wasn't he in the rotation at the start of the season?

Updated: September 11, 2003, 11:23 AM ET
By Jim Baker | MLB Insider
What if the Twins had left Johan Santana in the starting rotation back in spring training? Where would they be now? Would it be too outrageous to suggest they would be in first place?

On the day after Santana saved their bacon against the division-leading White Sox, the question is an interesting one. Certainly, his performance in Chicago Wednesday night makes one wonder what the Twins were thinking when they kept him out of the rotation at the start of the year. He was clearly their most talented pitcher heading into the season. Six months ago today, this is what I wrote on Insider, following the announcement that Santana would take the rotation spot of Eric Milton:

Jim Baker is an author at Baseball Prospectus and a frequent contributor to Page 2. You can e-mail Jim at