Johan Santana: Will the Mets' Former Ace Revert to His Old Form This Season?

Nick Carlo@@carlo2612Analyst IIJanuary 15, 2012

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - JULY 24:  Johan Santana #57 of the New York Mets pitches in the bullpen as Manager Terry Collins #10 looks on during a throwing session before a game against the Florida Marlins at Sun Life Stadium on July 24, 2011 in Miami Gardens, Florida.  (Photo by Sarah Glenn/Getty Images)
Sarah Glenn/Getty Images

Spring Training is slowly approaching. Pitchers and catchers report in a little over a month. The Mets will have a ton of question marks coming into Spring Training this year. However, there is no doubting that Johan Santana will dominate the headlines.

Former Mets' ace, Johan Santana, missed all of last season. Santana missed an immense amount of time due to surgery. He had surgery performed on him more than a year ago to successfully correct his torn anterior capsule.

This risky surgery seemingly ended Mark Prior's career. Santana spent all of last season rehabbing, and the time has come for him to attempt a comeback.

It is speculated that Santana is ready to go for Spring Training. His daily workouts are preparing him for when pitchers and catchers report next month. As of now, Santana is right on track. But one setback could possibly put an end to his decorated career.

The former Cy Young will look to regain even a fraction of his past success. As mentioned earlier, this surgery is a risky one, and it's success rate isn't exactly high. Chien Ming Wang of the Washington Nationals also had the same surgery that Santana did.

Wang is projected to be in Washington's starting rotation this year, but not after a grueling comeback process. Wang's return to the majors took him almost two full seasons. He made his long-anticipated return late last season, and he showed flashes of his old self. It will be interesting to see how he fares this season.

Santana's comeback is equally as tough as Wang's, and he will try to follow in Wang's footsteps. If anyone can make a great recovery from a serious injury like this, it is Johan Santana.

Santana's bulldog mentality has earned him numerous accolades, including a pair of Cy Young awards, four trips to the All-Star game and even a Gold Glove.

The chances of Santana reverting to his Cy Young form are slim, but there is no denying that if healthy, Santana's presence on the mound will greatly help a thin Mets' rotation. Santana's "stuff" has been diminishing in the past few seasons, but he is a smart pitcher and will find ways to get people out with what he has.

This upcoming Spring Training will be crucial to the rest of Santana's career. If Santana goes through the next couple of months without any setbacks, then he will be good to go for the 2012 season. Santana might not be the Opening Day starter, but if he puts up solid numbers in Spring Training this season, then expect him to be on the mound for Opening Day.

If Santana can stay healthy this season, and perform at a fraction of his old self, then he will completely transform the Mets' rotation. A lot of questions surround Santana, but he is determined to complete his comeback and succeed in New York.

He is owed around $50 million in these upcoming seasons, so the Mets front office is crossing their fingers for Santana to revert back to his old form.

I believe that there is a good chance that Santana can once again become an effective pitcher. I'm not so sure about him competing for the Cy Young award again, but he should greatly help the Mets as he will give the team a true ace, something they greatly lacked last season.

As many Mets fans know, the Mets have a slew of immensely talented young pitching prospects. Santana's presence and knowledge can only help out those kids when they eventually make their way to the bigs.

Barely anyone expected Jose Reyes to put together his great 2011 campaign, so I don't think that anyone should rule a great season out for Santana. Crazier things have happened.