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

Monday, February 04, 2008

Feeling Optimistic

The Johan high is still going. My endorphins are endorphing deep inside my cerebellum and Mike Pelfrey is the benefactor today. Have faith in Pelfrey. Jim Callis said that Pelfrey 'isn't anything special' the other day and I have to disagree. The dude has 260 or so pro innings and roundabouts 60 of those were in the bigs and did him little good because he was not as working on anything as much as trying to not get hit and pitching around batters. The man needed to work on non-existent off-speed/breaking stuff and has not had a chance to really do it.

I always mention that you have look at his at-bat against Lance Berkman last year and his game against the Braves. He showed promise. Take a look at his highlights from the aforementioned Braves game. You'll see nice fade on his change, a controlling fastball with late movement that looks like it explodes in the zone, and a nice slider which does not look incredibly different from his off-speed, but cuts back in the opposite direction giving it a similar look.

The guy is basically just learned off speed and breaking pitches after throwing 70%+ of fastballs all through college. It is not easy to learn pitches, but he showed improvement and does need more work. Also, he needs more confidence as attacking hitters has been his #1 problem for me. A close second would be him missing bats, but that is highly correlated with refining his pitches and attacking hitters, which both got better at the end of the year.

Statically, I do not have much to support my optimism. However, when he returned to the rotation back in September when I thought he looked much better despite disappointing results, he raised his k/9 from 4.94 pre-Sept. to 6.95 post-Sept. Add that to his career 1.78 G/FB ratio and you have a guy who is really going to be tough to hit.

Year  W L  G    IP  H  H/9   R HR BB BB/9 K's K/9 K/BB  ERA
2003 10 2 17 105 80 6.9 29 9 15 1.3 98 8.5 6.53 2.49
2004 11 2 16 115 86 6.7 28 2 24 1.9 125 9.8 5.21 2.18
2005 12 2 18 131.2 88 6.0 33 3 28 1.9 135 9.2 4.82 1.91
I am one of the few that still think he could be a front end pitcher. Back in college, Pelfrey exhibited good control for anyone, much less a power pitcher, which is why I am optimistic he can sort that problem out. Also, he is essentially the same pitcher he was out of college. He had an electric arm and the key to him has always been how his second and third pitches develop.

That has not changed and the reason people soured on him is because not enough of a stride was made, but I think he did make some strides. If he can get another plus pitch and get the other one to an average pitch, which I think he do, he can be a legit ace of a pitching staff on the big stage and his control should settle down as he gets more confident. I think we all need not rush to judgment on him and simply give him more time. It has been extremely unfair as to how little time everyone gave him to refine some difficult things.

* * *

  • I posted this a few Saturdays ago. However, since people do not read weekend posts, I will repost this again.

    "Omar (Shea Stadium): How healthy is Pedro Martinez, and how productive will he be this year?

    Will Carroll: C'mon ... use your name, people.

    Pedro is doing well. I recently heard that he's starting his normal throwing program at home and feels much like he did at the end of last year. I'd expect similar results, which were far better than I actually expected."

    That is always a good thing to hear.

  • George Vecsey inks a terrible article.

    I would strongly advise giddy Mets fans to envision the Marlins and the Nationals whacking them around in the final two weeks of last season. That should neutralize the euphoria, assuming Minaya and the family Wilpon sign the Twins' star lefty to a six-year contract.

    Essentially, the Mets are front-ending their pitching staff - Santana for the departed Tom Glavine. That upgrade does not necessarily make them a better - or more mature - team for all 162 games this season.

    Huh? So we shouldn't be happy that our favorite team landed the best left-handed pitcher of our time? Weird. I would have thought we should be happy. I will take note of this interesting development and quell my happiness.

    Even if Santana stays healthy, he is 28, and pitchers can fall apart in a heartbeat. For that matter, he did not have such a wonderful September himself. Besides, he can start only once every five games, or somewhat more than 30 starts a season. Let's say he wins 20 games. He is still taking up a certain number of starts that would have been made, and perhaps even won, by another regular.

    So many interesting and thought provoking items in here. Well, he could get injured, but he is in good shape and is as good of a bet as any to stay healthy. ERA-wise he had a bad September, but for the most part, he was Johan Santana. Striking people out, holding opponents to a low BAA, and throwing hard. But hey, let's forget this guy was the best pitcher in the league since 2003 and focus on seven games.

    As for this other 'regular' you speak of, it would have been league average innings at best. I would think the Cy Young-esque innings will do much more for this team and they psyche.

    Little has changed since last September. Paul Lo Duca is being replaced by Brian Schneider at catcher, maybe an upgrade in defense and comportment but a downgrade in hitting, and they now have Ryan Church in right field, not necessarily a big deal.

    Stunning. LoDuca's bat is a loss? That is a strange suggestion that I have not been able to verify statistically. How about this. Anyone who thinks LoDuca's bat is a loss, please send me a compelling argument because I have yet to see one. Besides, the man would be batting 8th this season. Even if I were to placate anyone and say that LoDuca is better, who cares?

    Nah. Church is not a big deal. Solid defense. Sixty extra base hits. Those things happen all the time. No one needs such things on their team.

    Again, this is just another crappy article trying to bring the Mets down for some bizarre reason. I wonder if the Yankees are on notice as well? Why is there no article on why the Yankee fans shouldn't be excited about Mussina and two rookies in the rotation?

  • To review, Klapisch said the Mets basically had no chance before the Santana trade. Now they NL East is theirs? Weird. I love Johan as much as the next person, but one person cannot make a team that was a non-factor into the favorites. Maybe a team that already had a pretty good chance into favorites, but he was quite adamant the Mets were toast previously. Is it really too much to ask for some consistency?

  • It never ceases to amaze me how stingy these players can seem at times. Johan was close to walking away over $5 million as if the $145 million or so guaranteed was not enough?

  • The Johan Santana story.

  • There are times GMs spin things a bit. Twins fan think Smith is trying to spin the deal from his perspective. Cashman is spinning the Yankees lack of interest from his perspective. But Omar is laying down some truth.

    "Coming into the winter, we really looked for a No.1 starter and we have accomplished that objective ... and this really almost exceeds those expectations," GM Omar Minaya said on a conference call. "It doesn't get better than Johan Santana."

  • Johan's deal certainly will affect the CC negotiations, but there is one major caveat. CC might want to actually stay. If he does, they could probably come to a dollar figure that would appease both sides.

    If he is looking for the biggest payday and something that rivals Johan's, he is probably gone. However, it would not surprise me if he hung around for another five years with a mutual option for a sixth.

  • The Mariners and the Orioles keep on keepin' on. This deal looks like it going to go through and what a winter. How many times have three front end guys still in their 20's been dealt? Nuts.

  • I am not a huge football fan, but that was a spectacular game. Really amazing stuff and the commercial of the night for me was this one.

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    Blogger Anthony said...

    I believe that Pelf will be solid. It really is amazing how young pitchers in big markets get blown out by such big, fast expectations. You have to let some of these guys develop. Maine is an obvious example of what happens when you do. It will be interesting to see where Pelfrey is at by the time he's 26/27. I think he's going to be a solid pitcher. Hopefully on the Mets.

    That Vescey article was ridiculous and another example of a writer trying to come up with something to write about. Of course at the Mets expense.

    I am psyched about this team and nothing is going to bring me down on that. It is going to be a great season. I am in for season tix and can't wait.

    Amazing that the deal almost got blown out over 5 mil on the backend. Jesus.

    I read your posts on weekends. It's helps me keep my sanity while my 2 year old son jumps all over me screaming at the top of his lungs on Sat mornings while I am nursing hangovers. Good times.

    Awesome game last night. I'm not a Giants fan (Jets unfortunately). Seems like one of the best SB's ever. Biggest upset? A 10-6 wild card team beats a perfect team. Pretty cool. Good to see NY finally beat the Boston team at something.

    11:47 AM

    Blogger metsfanincincy said...

    Pelfrey was compared to Justin Verlander just before the season started last year. Remember that? He was one of the candidates to break out with a big season. Now? He's a forgotten scrub. The media has way too much influence. There has to be a reason why Omar hung on to Pelfrey (sounds like Minnesota wanted him). I agree with you, Mike, he's got great stuff and needs time to develop. It may not be this year that he breaks out, but he eventually will.

    12:22 PM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    It is not as if Pelfrey has even had much development time. When he was drafted, he was well knows he was all fastball and not much else.

    He was raw. Some college guys are not unrefined in regards to secondary pitches, but he was closer to high type guys that need some polishing.

    He did not really get a shot to any of that.

    RE: Minnesosta wanting him...there was an article that say the Mets have to pay him $1,000,000 this season and the Twins wanted no part of that and opted for Humber.

    Who knows what the truth is anymore.

    What is up with Gammo saying Yu Darvish might net the Ham Fighters a $100m posting fee. Who the hell would do that?

    12:39 PM

    Blogger Sidd Finch said...

    Big Blue RULES!!!

    I'm so glad you didn't say your favorite commercial of the night was this one, or the one that had the woman's heart blow out of her chest.

    I'm optimistic about Pelfrey. He's a big guy, and they develop more slowly, they've got to get their motion under control, and that's tougher for the tall guys. Bruce Hurst had similar problems when he first started pitching in the majors.

    1:56 PM

    Anonymous gbaked said...

    the baby as the best? eh...

    I loved the doritos mousetrap one http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g0nliPWaCvA

    Pelf will be solid. The media hates the mets. Lets get pitchers and catchers together already!!!

    2:24 PM

    Blogger Sidd Finch said...

    I can look at Schneider's and LoDuca's stats and say that they are a wash. LoDuca has more homers (in more plate appearances), but only 24 walks, to Schneider's 56. Schneider has more doubles as well. Besides, LoDuca's OBP was about .250 for the months of June and July last year. Terrible.

    The thing that is most appealing about the exchange of Schneider and LoDuca is that Castro and Schneider bat from opposite sides of the plate. Schneider is bad against lefties, and the Mets have Castro to spell him there. Schneider is a BIG plus behind the plate, and marginally worse, if at all worse, batting.

    2:33 PM

    Blogger mr. met said...


    I actually liked that AMP one a lot. It was disturbing and yet I could not look away.

    And don't forget about Randy. He was 29 when he started to groove.

    RE: LoDuca...right at worst it is sideways move. That is why I find it laughable people continue to harp on this as if LoDuca's offense brought much of anything to the table. In '06 maybe he did, but '06 was one of his better years in a while and he is older while Schneider might have a decent year or two left with the bat. Also Brian's skills with the bat are a bit better for aging being he can actually walk.

    And yes, the true platoon thing is great. Last year was a screwed up platoon. Another great point no one cares to bring up.

    Gbaked, the Doritos one was good. However, if not for the last clip of the mouse unloading on the guy, it would not be as good. So while it's best moment was better than the baby commercial, the baby commercial was deeper.

    2:53 PM

    Anonymous benny blanco from da bronx said...

    THe New York Football Giants are Superbowl Champions, amazing!

    The world sure is a happier place with Johan on the Mets. I think that's the key to happiness, make a trade for Johan. Every fan should experience it for atleast a few days.

    THat Mike Pelfrey breaking pitch was balls man. It was pretty nice. But still, I'm just... I dunno, his fastball isn't as explosive as a 95 mph fastball should be. I will admit I'm still not a big fan but we'll see. Can't base it off Willie's shitty handeling of him yet.

    Isn't kinda a given that Pedro's doing fine? I mean... he pitched in 5 games when he wasn't supposed to. Even pitching 7 innings in his last outing. He threw 92-98-90-and 105 pitches in those outings so it wasn't like he was being babied. With more time to recover he should ready to rock n' roll!

    I'm actually glad Paul Lo Duca is gone. I was sick and tired of his "angry man" act. It was cool at first but my good ol' pal Law of Diminishing returns peeked his head and I've had enough.

    To defend Johan and Omar, people compare the Johan signing to Kevin Brown. Kevin Brown was 34 when he signed the big contract. That's how old Johan is going to be when the deal ends. When Kevin Brown was 28, he was on the Texas Rangers aka a long ass time before the big contract.

    What is up with Gammo saying Yu Darvish might net the Ham Fighters a $100m posting fee. Who the hell would do that?

    I would...

    3:38 PM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    Isn't kinda a given that Pedro's doing fine?

    To people with common sense, yes. He got surgery, rehabbed, and got better. He has now come back from injury and like anyeone else who has, has a clean bill of health because whatever ailment he had has been solved.

    However, there are some non-believers so Will Carroll's words might help them.

    You would give $100m to Yu Darvish? That is silly talk. He would end up costing you more than Johan Santana with no actual track record.

    Pelfrey's fastball looked mighty good against the Braves in that clip and climbed the stairs a few times with it a-la Johnny Baseball.

    3:44 PM

    Anonymous rick m said...

    First, the baby spitup? That's only funny to people who haven't spent five months of their lives wearing baby spitup.

    Second, when I started reading this line yesterday:

    ...until you clean up the poopie from your wieners,

    I thought it was going in a whole other direction.

    Johan and the Giants in one weekend?!?! Call me giddy.

    4:04 PM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    I struck me as funniest. However, that was towards the end and I had been drinking a lot. It stands to reason that the commercials got funnier.

    4:16 PM

    Anonymous seattle stev said...

    Re: the collapse, blame it on Willie he did not have a clue on how to set up the starting pitching down the stretch, using Humber with 3 weeks rest in a crucial game and him knowing it a week in advance, real smart, having Pedro and using him every 6 or seven days, seeing Reyes implode before our eyes in Sept., anyway the 2008 season started w/ the day of getting Santana, if we stay healthy, hit in the clutch, Delgado improves 10-15%, we will be in the playoffs.

    5:48 PM

    Anonymous rabbi Horatio St. Domingue said...

    Ryan Church is descended from apes!!!

    6:12 PM

    Anonymous Anonymous said...

    I was happy about the Santana trade, but not overly so, as I'm an eternal pessimist, and I always see the worst in things (he's getting older, what if those prospects become aces, blah blah) but...

    Me and my friends picked to see a game come August 16th, since it's in Pitt, which is right between us all. I counted, and it's 27 games after the all-star break, which means, all things going perfectly, it'd be the number 2 pitchers going at it...

    One of my friends asks, "who is the Mets number two?" To which I replied Pedro. That's when I really got excited for this season. Pedro freakin' Martinez as a number 2 starter. Swellicious, indeed.

    7:48 PM

    Anonymous orangeandblueblood said...

    College pitchers seem to get rushed since they get big dollar contracts but Pelfrey was a high pick because of his fastball. The Mets have blown it with him a bit. I wouldn't mind him having a full season at AAA or at least until after the break and if he has found his secondary pitches bring him up and move ElDuque to the pen. This is why I wouldn't mind the Mets signing another pitcher to provide a cushion against bringing up Pelfrey before he is ready because someone in the rotation will miss a start or more. He hasn't loost his fastball. If he is allowed to work on a secondary breaking ball and change up I still view him as a top of the rotation guy in a few years. Bedard followed a similar path but was out of high school so he wasn't rushed.

    Church will be solid in RF. If you look at his three year splits to get a decent sample size he is serviceable against lefties so platoon isn't required although it would be good to rest him every now and then against lefties. Delgado is the bigger issue against lefties.

    Not bringing back LoDuca was one of Omar's good moves. A slow catcher that doesn't take walks and lacks power is typically a double play waiting to happen. Schneider will add as much to the offense and be better behind the plate. I won't miss LoDuca at all. I think he was an over rated, selfish player and that wears on a team after awhile.

    7:50 PM

    Blogger Itsmetsforme said...

    There is some consensus here. We all like us some Pelfrey, hate or tolerate willie, watch Lost, though we're split on which cast member is the hottest.

    Allow me to set myself apart. First off, I don't watch the fairy commercials during the superbowl; i'm too busy doing manly things like banging chicks, examining the hair on my knuckles, and benchpressing. I also don't dream of smurf land and rainbows.

    Second, I don't really know who Yu Darvish is. Was he in "the king and I"?

    Third off, this pre-revisionist history about Schnieder and Church bugs me. Those two are going to have to do a lot before I'll accept, nay even tolerate their presence where a Village might have been. That dope Church will win me over faster than the $10mil man.

    And all this bashing of Lo duca. Ugh. Sure the bug eyed bastard likes little girls: who doesn't? Yeah he had mental lapses. Lo Duca, roids, rage and all, had a fine season for us in '06. And he forever shall and should be remembered for taking second on Andruww Jones ladida smirking ass that one time. If you guys were real men, you'd know that.

    ps. is it me or did Kevin Brown break his hand every time he faced the Mets trying to bunt or some shit?

    9:44 PM

    Anonymous Two-By-Four said...

    I’m still exuberant over the Giants winning the SB. Since they were the visiting team in the SB they won 11 out of 12 road games. That is the mark of an excellent team. However, they lost 5 out of 8 home games, the mark of a weak team. They are an enigma and the SB Champions. Even though I played baseball, football is my favorite spectator sport.

    Pelfrey brings to mind many pitchers with outstanding fastballs that lack secondary pitches and command and control. Ah, command and control the demarcation between men and boys.

    Before I destroyed my arm as a lad (I can’t lift it above shoulder height) I threw hard but had no idea where my pitches were going and had no secondary pitches. It’s amazing how stupid HS hitters are. If they kept their bat on their shoulder I wouldn’t have lasted an inning.

    It’s amazing how years ago catchers like Schneider were a dime a dozen.

    Vecsey probably is thinking of the “roids” LoDuca. That guy could hit. Writers don’t hate the Mets it’s just there are times they have to publish a column and there is nothing to write. A little agitation of the fan base does get noticed.

    I view Church with some suspicion. He is no longer a baby and had trouble getting a regular spot on arguably the worst team in baseball. I really don’t expect much from him but I hope he surprises me. I would love to get a strong right handed bat to platoon with him. I still wish they wouldn’t have traded LM.

    BTW someone in their mid to late twenties is either old or young depending on the justification for making a trade.

    12:31 AM

    Blogger Sidd Finch said...

    Oh, I don't watch Lost, and I thought we were talking about the 2007 LoDuca. Sorry. I'll try to do better next time.

    9:07 AM

    Anonymous orangeandblueblood said...

    I don't watch Lost either. Lost is what Duquette was when he traded Kazmir for the wrong Zambrano. That dumb ass trade made the Santana trade necessary. How sweet would the Mets future be with Kazmir in the rotation and Gomez, Humber, Mulvey, & Guerra on the horizon. Money for Texeria in 2009 would be no issue. It just shows how damaging one bad move can be to an organization at both the major and minor league levels. The Mets have recovered from that trade at the major league level but it will be years before they do at the minor league level. Not to mention the extra cash spent on Santana. Kazmir may not be the best pitcher in baseball but in the NL his stats would qualify him as an ace.

    LoDuca's 2006 was a good year but don't pretend he was anything beyond above average in 2006. And that's with him hitting in the 2 hole with Reyes in front of him and big bats behind him ensuring he saw a steady diet of fastballs. His value is purely in batting average because he doesn't take walks or hit with power. Drop him in the order and his value drops like a rock. Defensively his ball blocking and throwing skills suck! If he hits like 2007 again he is a poor catcher. His removal from the team is addition by subtraction.

    10:46 AM

    Blogger mr. met said...

    itsmetsforme, that was a solid rant.

    10:48 AM


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