A blog dedicated to the New York Mets with some other baseball thrown in.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Well Slap My Ass and Call Me Sally

Mike Pelfrey, hoping to secure the fifth spot in the Mets' rotation, allowed four runs in five innings on Sunday against the Astros. The young right-hander felt disappointed, but shortly after the game, his mood brightened markedly when manager Willie Randolph told him that he has made the starting rotation.

I didn't think it would happen, but it has. Mike Pelfrey's inclusion to the rotation is certainly exciting being how long the Mets have gone without having a homegrown pitching prospect come up through the ranks that was this highly touted. I do not expect him to have a typical rookie season and I expect him to be a productive pitcher that will challenge the defacto aces on this team for ace status of the New York Mets. Though he had a rough outing on Sunday, Keith Law saw a lot of positives.

His arm slot is more conducive to throwing a slider, and his slider flashed average or even a tick above average on Sunday. The pitch improved as the game went on, with Pelfrey clearly gaining some confidence in it by the third inning (and then throwing five or six in a row). At its best, the slider was 83-85 mph with a short but sharp break, decent tilt, but most importantly it showed enough lateral movement to fool hitters who were waiting on his fastball or change, both of which are straight.

Of course, Pelfrey hung a few sliders and threw several with an earlier-than-ideal release, which isn't shocking for a guy throwing a new breaking ball. His change was its typical fringe-average self, and his fastball was down a tick to 92-95 but with its usual superb sink. Given the rest of the Mets' rotation, it's fair to say the Mets' hopes for a playoff spot depend as much on Pelfrey as on any other single player on their Opening Day roster, and the signs Sunday were positive.

The key for Pelfrey was always developing two average pitches to compliment his ++ fastball. Keith Law may be a lot of things, but he is still a talent evaluator and has a bit more expertise in the area than most baseball writers. Him calling Pelfrey's slider above average at times is certainly nice to hear about a pitch he has not been throwing all that long. If Mike can develop two plus pitches, he could replicate Verlander's '06 season with ease in the lighter hitting National League. Of course he will struggle at times with his slider, but if he can keep making huge strides, he will be the Mets ace of 2007 and I did not see that as a possibility at the end of 2006.

* * *

  • Park is not happy, but does anyone really care? Pelfrey has looked great and Park was clearly not one of the best five starters who stepped on the mound this spring for the Mets. Park could probably still be an effective starter, but the Mets are going with the youth movement in their rotation.

  • Well, it looks like Duaner should not be counted on this season just the way Pedro is not to be counted on. It's no use wondering if Duaner's lack of rehab did him in, the Mets somehow mishandled the situation, or even misdiagnosed his situation. At this point, the Mets should be thankful they have a deep bullpen that should be able to pick up the slack. Furthermore, the Mets still have Guillermo Mota for 112 games of the season.

    When told Sanchez is out til August, closer Billy Wagner turned to Aaron Heilman, who will likely assume role of primary setup man, and said: "guess that means Aaron you've got three innings and I've got one."

    The bullpen is set with Schoeneweis, Feliciano, Wagner, Heilman, Park, Sele, and Smith. I've said it before and I'll say it again. The Mets are going to have an overabundance of big league capable relievers. At this point in time, things look a bit thin. However, later on when Mota returns and some of the guys on the farm progress, the Mets will have ample depth for a late season injury fill in.

  • This is starting to get a little frustrating.

    At this point, the only thing that can hurt Lastings Milledge in his quest to make the Opening Day roster is a serious injury. Which is why it was doubly painful yesterday when Milledge was nailed on the right hand by a fastball from Astros reliever Matt Albers in the ninth inning.

    Milledge collapsed to the ground, clutching his right hand, and left the game with trainer Ray Ramirez holding his wrist. Fortunately, X-rays were negative, but Milledge is expected to miss the next few days with what the Mets described as a contusion of the right hand.

  • Well, it looks like BJ Upton might actually stick on the infield yet despite my previous assertion that the Rays management has handled him in a clueless fashion. Of course it could still be argued his best fit is in the outfield, but it seems to be a numbers game and the Rays like their outfielders better than their infielders and would prefer to keep Upton on the infield.

    "The big thing for Jorge is that he maintains the consistency he enjoyed in '05, and I think being healthy from the beginning will help that," Friedman said. "His role has yet to be determined, but I'm confident Jorge will help the Rays win games in '07."

    If that sounds cryptic, it might be. Cantu has heard the rumors he could be sent down - "It would be a really bad slap at me" - as well as chatter that he could be traded, with the Mets among those said to be interested.

    Keeping Upton on the infield might mean Jorge Cantu is available. The biggest obstacle there is trying to get any deal done with the Tampa franchise and unfortunately, I see little chance of the Mets and Rays finding a fit between the two teams. The Rays will no doubt ask for Pelfrey or Humber in any such deal and the Mets will undoubtedly decline.

  • Billy Wagner lays out what his take is on the Guillermo Mota situation.

    "I don't think there's anything he needs to say or do," said closer Billy Wagner. "He knows he made a mistake. We know he made a mistake.

    "It's a Catch-22. I know that the organization is not condoning what he did. But it would have been a huge loss for us if he was not signed back.

    "Do I feel like he needs to apologize to all of us? No. He's going to be scrutinized every time he goes out and has a tough outing and even if he has a good one. He's a good man and there are a lot of good men who make mistakes."

  • Carlos Delgado's wife, Betzaida, gave birth to a baby boy, Carlos Antonio, late Friday night. The Mets do not have a timetable for his return.

    Blogger Coop said...

    You know, i kind of gave a filibuster as to why i was so down after Dirty was injured last year. Well we got Oh Pea as a throw in because of it, and we managed to do pretty OK without him. As much as a I loved his balls and sabor (ok let's not toucht that), I am not counting on Dirty or Pedro this year either (to be discussed on MSF this week)

    9:44 PM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    As you shouldn't. I'm writing them off and think this team and make the playoffs without both of them.

    However...without Pedro, I'm not sure how far they will go. It really depends on Ollie and Pelfrey. How good will they be? I think we can reasonably predict the other three, but the Mets need some domination from the two guys slated to the be the 4th and 5th starters and strangely enough, it wouldn't shock me to see the 4 and 5 guys become the 1 and 2 by the end of the season.

    9:50 PM

    Blogger Coop said...

    You ask as if there's a question about Oh Pea. SHEESH

    Hee hee!!

    I think the team will be fine. Of course, i'm a little biased, but the swagger is still there

    10:14 PM

    Anonymous benny rizzle said...

    Just because Chan Ho isn't happy doesn't mean he won't step up and be productive.

    Joe "Generic" Smith and Mike Pelfrey on the roster? Damn homies, times have sure changed. Its all about the best talent that can help right now.

    11:00 PM

    Anonymous Danny said...

    Great as always Mike.

    Pelfrey's slider showing peeks of a plus pitch? Yes! Of course it is going to be inconsistent, he's only thrown like 40 in game situations! The consistency will only get better, let's hope it happens sooner than later. LoDuca also mentioned that he thought Pelfrey's changeup was markedly better this spring than it was last year. But of course, the next time LoDuca says a bad thing about one of his pitchers will be the first time. But that's why guys love throwing to him.

    Oh, and I am loving the youth movement in the rotation. Loving it. And with keeping Sele and Park in the pen, and Vargas and Humber at AAA, there is still plenty of depth.

    Park was pissed at first, but then he said the right things the next day. The guy has no leverage so he has to shut up, basically.

    It's too bad about Duaner. It certainly speaks to the higher degree of difficulty in coming back from a shoulder injury rather than an elbow injury. I feel bad for the guy. It's not like it happened on the mound. The bullpen will be fine, we have veterans up right now, and a bevy of talented young arms waiting in the wings. I loved what I saw from Smith tonight. Tough break on an infield single, and then he hit a guy on 0-2 with a fastball that had so much movement that it hit the batter while he was trying to swing. But he beared down and got out of it. Great stuff from him.

    This will be the excuse to send Lsatings down to AAA. His body is a baseball magnet. Let nobody criticize his body armor again.

    I am not a big Cantu guy. He' certainly not worth what the D-Rays would want for him.

    Congrats to Carlos. If wife and baby are ok, make it back for opening day!

    11:27 PM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    Yes, you are OP's #1 supporter. To doubt him is heresy!

    Just because Chan Ho isn't happy doesn't mean he won't step up and be productive.

    Agreed. I think he will be a good reliever. Shit, I think he would have been a decent starter.

    And FUCK YEAH! 'Tis a new era when young guys can beat out old guys. Skill is the new black!

    Danny...great is an exaggeration. I'm two days late with the news....which is seemingly the theme here lately. If you want timely articles...go elsewhere.

    I did see Park's quote where he said he wasn't happy, but he's going to be work hard at his new job or something. Playing with this team will be infectious and no one else wanted him. He should be happy here.

    Shoulders are officially scary injuries. I'm with Stark. Any shoulder injury means we should forget about the guy. Anything you do get is a bonus.

    I'm excited to see Smitty pitch. He is really going to be a treat if he keeps this up. He sounds like he has a pair of cojones on him.

    Is his body a baseball magnet or are people trying to send him a message for all of the stuff that is perceived to do in terms of being cocky?

    Cantu is not worthy what they will ask, but their way of thinking is "i'd rather keep him and let them rot than trade him and not rip someone off". That's why they will be the Rays of the past.

    12:25 AM

    Blogger metsfanincincy said...

    I admit I’m a bit surprised that Pelfrey made the rotation. Don’t get me wrong! Being in Cincinnati I didn’t get to see him pitch at all in spring training. I’ve been getting excited based on what I’ve been reading from Mike and the rest of you. Until Sunday (the game was on CW11 and I can get that through DishTV – for an extra 2 bucks a month). I saw him last year and was thoroughly impressed, but also saw he wasn’t quite ready. “Bad” outing or not, he looked like a different pitcher to me on Sunday – polished, confident, and ready. The kid is going to be GOOD. My surprise goes with what I said a couple of weeks ago – that he wouldn’t make it as the fifth starter in that he wouldn’t get an opportunity to pitch on a regular basis until almost May. But I think it’s interesting that nobody has actually said that he is the fifth starter. Only that he made the rotation. So maybe he stays in Florida for extended spring training or maybe he gets regular work in the rotation right away. Furthermore, he’s NOT a fifth starter. After a few rotations it doesn’t really matter who’s pitching when, as long as it’s every five days. When that happens El Duque will probably be viewed as the fifth starter and that’s pretty fucking swell with me (I’ve heard enough crap from my office mate about him being a “number 2” – OK that WAS pretty funny).

    The rotation is looking good, possibly great. I’m drinking the OPea kool-aid by the gallon. Maine is solid. Yeah, yeah, yeah, Glavine and El Duque are old (how many times do we have to hear that?). But the next wild card is Humber. A lot of scouts consider him better than Pelfrey it the long run. Humber will be ready this year. When El Duque breaks down I can see him coming up. That means the rotation is Glavine, OPea, Maine, Pelfrey, and Humber. Not bad for an “old rotation”. Reminds me of Detroit’s rotation last year and they didn’t do too badly! And that’s writing off Pedro, which we should all do, but we should all also remember that he IS Pedro.

    Another 97 win season? Yeah, it could happen. And I hope Jimmy Rollins enjoys his foot-in-mouth disease. Hell yeah, bitches! Go Mets!

    8:28 AM

    Blogger mr. met said...


    That’s the speculation. He will make the team, but won’t really break north and will get a few breakfast starts with like 50 pitches and some side work. As for #1 vs. #3 vs. #5, we all know that stuff doesn’t matter, but in figurative terms, we are just putting them in a pecking order. Officially, Pavano is the Yankees #1 starter but he’s not the #1 starter. Frankly, the Mets have a great opportunity to have four guys throwing as a #3 type or better with as you said, The Duque being viewed as the #5. Is your co-worker a Cincy fan? Every time he tries to dig into you mets, you statement should start and end with, “but isn’t your favorite team is the Reds?”

    Glavine being old doesn’t bother me. But Duque? Sort of. He has a few things that pop and pull I would be surprised to see him top 170 innings, which is not bad for him. As long as he is healthy to be an option in the playoffs be it in the pen or in the rotation. I do have a concern of innings between The Duque, Maine, Perez, and Pelfrey. Realistically, who tops 200? Who tops 200 and doesn’t do any arm damage? You are talking about guys who really never sniffed 200. Maine has 133.2 big league innings all together, Oliver has 215 innings combined over the last two years, Pelfrey shouldn’t be allowed to go much more than 160….This bullpen is going to be WORKED. Luckily they are deep and Sele and Park should be able to go multiple innings when needed.

    97 wins is possible if the Phillies shit the bed. And really, if one of the Mets or Phillies is going to, who is more likely to be the ones to do it? The Phillies have underachievers written all over them whereas the Mets are clearly more well rounded. And enough of the Braves. I still read people taking them in the NL East. Enough!

    9:07 AM

    Anonymous sidd finch said...

    I will call you silly, but I refuse to slap your ass. You don't deserve it.

    9:08 AM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    Maybe I'll like it?

    9:12 AM

    Anonymous jake said...

    i'm not writing off pedro. he'll be dominating by july. not august, july. ok, late july.

    pelfrey has some skinny ass arms. dude is a rail. what is he 190 at 6'7''?

    i hope he'll be good. but i'd be a lot more impressed if he struck people out. ground balls and squibs can lead to demoralizing innings for a young guy. hopefully he tightens, we'll see.

    sucks about duaner. the whole thing from the wreck to his attitude to the new injury.

    mota is going to suck unless he gets on hgh. people like him need the confidence boost just as much as any physical boost. well, i don't know him, so i'm unfair, but i see him sucking.

    it is sick that we have humber and vargas on the ex-tides.

    9:15 AM

    Anonymous Danny said...

    I think Pelfrey is primed for a big increase in his innings without harm because he throws 80% fastballs. I am more concerned with the percentage of sliders he is throwing and his overall pitch counts than I am with his innings. If he is able to be efficient this year using mostly his fastball, he can increase his innings a lot with little problem.

    We can work on him mixing his pitches more for maximizing production next year, when his arm better prepared for it.

    Perez threw 165 innings last year, so I think he could approach 200 innings with not too much potential damage.

    Maine is another guy that relies mostly on his fastball so I like his chances to go deep into games and not get hurt as well.

    Pitching is a crapshoot, but I think this rotation has the potential to go much deeper into games than last year's did.

    10:14 AM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    Jake, you are the king of optimists, hence you draft Hamilton before the 20th round even commenced. I’m writing off Pedro because they need to ensure they have five good starters and have the headache of what to do with all their sick arms when Pedro is back. Assuming Pedro is coming back may preclude them from upgrading the team. You have to assume he’s not there.

    Mota doesn’t need that stuff. He’s got Professor Rick and a ridiculously fast fastball. He needs to stop being so reliant on this change though.

    Vargas and Humber at AAA sure does make things better.

    Is F-Mart starting at AA?


    I think we are going to see a lot less than 80% fastballs. He threw 75% or so in college and that wasn’t going to cut it. I guess we should aggregate fastballs and changeups. If he can get by with 60% fastballs…20% changes…20% sliders, then we’ll see. But they still need to watch his pitch count and innings. Better to be safe about this entire thing. Overblown? Probably, but why not be careful?

    Perez approaching 200 is a tall order. He just hasn’t done it in a while and throws a lot of pitches. I just think even at his optimal output this year, he’ll have trouble getting there even if he is doing good just because he throws a ton of pitches….I hope I wrong. But really though, how many teams have multiple guys topping 200? I guess I’m just making issues up for no reason.

    Maine had issues going deep into games. Good early and then starts to fall apart. If he’s going to make a big step forward, he has to successfully navigate the 5th and 6th innings.

    As you said, the potential is here and that’s why things could be better than anyone expected, which is what I think is more likely to happen.

    10:36 AM

    Blogger metsfanincincy said...

    My office mate is an ORIOLES fan! And, yes, I did email him the link to your March 20th post as soon as I read it. Beautiful stuff, man. (Beautiful to read, that is. Beautiful to look at? Not so much. Anyone on a diet should have a picture of that man nearby).

    I think Maine is going to take a step forward this year and pitch deeper into games. Last year had to be a big confidence builder for him. I also think OPea will pitch deep into games sporadically.

    11:05 AM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    Actually being an Orioles fan is 100% worse. Hopeless. At least the Reds have a shot to win the division before 2020 rolls around.

    11:38 AM

    Anonymous The Stupid Guy at the Back of the Bus Who Never Shuts Up said...

    I think both Maine & Perez will pitch deeper into games, but the key is the use of the word "sporadically." Glavine was mostly a five/six inning pitcher last year; the fourth and fifth innings tended to be hair-raising (or maybe I should put razing). I'm not that worried about the pen. Maybe I will be later. Who knows?

    The other starter at NOrleans will be Adam Bostick who judging by Omar's record may turn out to be more important of an acquisition than Vargas. He certainly strikes a lot of guys out: 139 last year in 142 innings between AA & AAA. Why do I reason as such? Maine was the secondary player with the O's and Ollie with the Pirates. There's precedent.

    As I think about it, Sele is what you would call a Shea pitcher, not a stellar Shea pitcher, but it's a stadium he could succeed in. Park needs to be a short reliever at least until Mota gets back.

    As for John Pelfrey, a lot is going to depend on his keeping his fastball in the zone. If he does, he will be able to keep to low pitch counts; when he doesn't he'll occasionally look like the pitcher from last year. Next year, he'll probably need to reintegrate his curveball as that would probably help at k's. And we like k's.

    12:31 PM

    Anonymous jake said...

    neyer makes a handful of severely irritating comments here: http://proxy.espn.go.com/chat/chatESPN?event_id=15145

    1:34 PM

    Blogger BookieD said...

    I'm as psyched as everyone about Pelfrey, Maine & OPP (on whom I've had a non-sexual crush since that '04 season with the Bucs). Hopefully Glavine can continue to tudor Pelf on the change-up.

    Is anyone at all concerned about having two guys who have been career starters in the 'Pen? Park's grumbling aside, is it a good thing or a bad thing? I don't know any stats about this sort of thing, but as we all recalled at the end of last season with Traxx, the preparation and mentality of entering a game in the middle is completely different.

    2:12 PM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    DG, I’m ashamed I keep forgetting to call him John Pelfrey. That could be the greatest nickname of our time.

    Admittedly, I know nothing about Bostick except for the fact that he is big and throws hard.

    I do think Maine will be better this year. He’s young and typically young guys do progress, but we’ll have to see how much and if he can turn into an innings eater. If he could be a mid-rotation guy that can pitch in big games and give 210 innings, that would be tremendous. Also, that’s something he should be able to do eventually.

    Jake, that’s what Neyer does…he makes irritating comments. He gets paid to do that. I think he was one of those people that picked the Braves to make it to the WS…if that isn’t irritating, I don’t know what is.

    Bookied, I’m completely fine with starters in the pen. Of course, there are guys who do not translate well into the pen as you stated in Trachsel, but that is primarily because of how long it takes for him to warm up and just how long it takes him to work on the mound. Imagine bringing him into a jam! Darren used to be a starter and things worked out well for him and countless closers were starters…some that couldn’t even hack it. I think they will be fine additions to the pen and keep in mind, one is a long man and the other is essentially early relief/garbage time even. It’s not like they will be leaning on them that much….that is unless they step it up, which I don’t anticipate. Just solid relievers that get their job done.

    3:12 PM

    Anonymous zahir from ghana said...

    I would very much like to conversate on you block. I mate Omer Miniya on he's trip her, and he talk aboot bazebull. Is true dat you half Glavin and he 41 old yearly? I like Mets vary much! Is true that Fleas plaig in city of bruddrly luft? Dat no be guud, write?

    3:48 PM

    Blogger Toasty Joe said...

    The title of this post is fucking swellicious. Just thought I'd throw that in.

    4:56 PM

    Blogger Coop said...

    Bookie D, I gotta tell ya -- OPP is better nickname for Oh Pea than mine. It's even got a tailor made chant -- I'm down with OPP!!!!

    6:19 PM

    Blogger oSSyCoCoTaSo said...

    dayne perry has the mets fifth in his power rankings behind the yanks, tribe, and twins and sox.


    mets won the most games last year (reg + post season) and didnt lost much. the tribe cant catch a cold. the twins lost liriano and radke. the sox and yanks i get cus the yanks can rake and the sox have 4 #1 starters.

    but the twins and tribe? wtf

    6:35 PM

    Anonymous DG said...

    Anyone worried that the Nats don't know how to promote their, ahem, "major league ballclub" should note that their commercials feature statues of dead presidents (at their memorial sites) complaining that they won't get to see the Nats play. Class!

    And Shawn Green just got an infield hit! Powering up!

    7:23 PM

    Anonymous benny said...

    Dayn Perry is on crack for not including the Tigers in his ranking. The Tigers, Yankees, and Red Sox should be top 3 and interchangable at the Top 3.
    The Mets are defifnitly the best NL team...

    7:54 PM

    Blogger BookieD said...

    I read that Neyer chat and it put a damper on my evening. He really thinks this year's Mets club will be 15 wins worse?? I understand that the Braves and Phillies should improve, but 15 wins?? Just not seeing it.

    11:12 PM

    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Just caught this over at MLB Trade Rumors. I know, I know....it early, but hey, who thought we would get Petey or Beltran?

    Carlos Zambrano a Met In '08?

    Ah, Big Z, always good for a quote. SI.com's John Donovan got Carlos Zambrano talking yesterday and has an interesting column up.

    Donovan describes a fan yelling "See you next year with the Yankees" to Zambrano, to which he pointed and smiled. Later asked about the Yankees, Zambrano said he didn't see it because they have "too many rules." He seems to want to remain in the NL because of his love for hitting, and mentioned the Mets. Of course, for the right price, I'm sure the Yankees could lure him to the AL. Maybe they'd let him pinch-hit once in a while. Also, Paul Sullivan's source said Zambrano wouldn't mind playing for Ozzie Guillen and the White Sox after this year.

    Zambrano's next pact could approach a $16MM AAV. Donovan seems to believe he'd exceed seven years on the open market, though the Cubs and Zambrano are set at five seasons. It's unclear whether those five seasons would include 2007.

    Donovan writes that the Cubs and Zambrano are making progress on a deal for five years worth around $75-78MM. And last Sunday, BP's John Perrotto said to look for Z to sign a deal in the $80-90MM range this week.

    I think the Cubs will retain their ace; they've got about six days left to hammer it out. Jay Mariotti feels that a lack of a Zambrano contract would be a counterproductive distraction, yet that Zambrano would win a Cy Young.

    John in RI

    11:58 PM

    Blogger Itsmetsforme said...

    all these little tiny words, puny insightful paragraphs make hulk mad. hulk smash.

    so lemmy get this straight: for Countrytime Lemon (TM), Mota can go pump himself full of roids, crack, sniff lines of El Duque's weji board in the middle of the clubhouse and there's "nothing he needs to say or do", but LasterBlasterMillhouse can't slap a few fans hands after a HR or make the Green Monster look like the bermunda triangle?
    SOunds like Philly (read:loser) logic there to me, Waggles.

    I don't think i wanna hear anymore about how the AL has the top 3 teams blah blah. Tell that to Tony La rusa.But wake him up first. I'd go read Dawn perry but i don't do that kind of thing. It's a blood pressure thang.

    12:53 AM

    Anonymous Farva said...


    You gotta see this crazy bastard!! He ski's down the longest escalator in Europe.

    OP? 4 uns in 5 innings in his last outing...hmm. The guy has great stuff but obviously has moments where he lacks ball control.

    11:15 AM

    Anonymous Melvin T. Bookman said...

    Nats in 2007! Nats in 2007! You suckas!!!!!

    11:20 AM


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