2004 - Johan Santana, Minnesota Twins
Stats: 20-6, 2.61 ERA, 265 K's, American League Cy Young Award Winner
Although most of the 2004 season is blacked-out of my mind forever, and will go down in history as one of the most miserable October's of my life - it was also the season that former Rule 5 draft pick Johan Santana established himself as a force in Major League Baseball. In his first full year in the Twins rotation, Santana started 34 games, pitched 228 innings, and won 20 games. But this information is barely the tip of the iceberg - the real dominance took hold after the All-Star break in July.
Santana's second half numbers read like a box score recapping a professional Ace pitching against blind little leaguers - he started 15 games, pitched 104 innings and went 13-0 with a 1.21 ERA and 129 K's. Ready to shit your pants? He had 14 earned runs during this run. 14. Yes, 14. Four-fucking-teen. That's Koufax-esque. His batting average against was .154. His 2nd half OPS? Oh, just a slim .444.
His two postseason starts against the Yankees were also up-to-par. And by "up-to-par" I mean, "in retrospect, better than everything you've ever done in your life combined". Built a house? Better. Rescued a child from drowning? Better. Single-handedly fought off 17 muggers with nothing but a prosthetic leg and a broken umbrella? STILL BETTER.
Observe: 12 IP, 0.75 ERA, 12 K's.
And the dominance continues to this day. Santana, as the Mets Ace, is fulfilling AK's wildest dreams on an every-fifth-day basis - and what's become the Mets annual collapse is September, an every-third-day-basis.
Reign on, you sonuvabitch, reign on.