Saturday, February 17, 2007

The Fifth Starter

I can't stop thinking about baseball. Today, it was sub-freezing outside. Its February 13th. This tells me that its time to discuss the Mets starting rotation.

For all practical purposes, I will assume that the rotation will shake out like this.

1. Glavine
2. El Duque
3. Maine
4. Perez
5. Sele/Park/Pelfrey/Humber/Soler

Maine has a chance to be an above league average starter, and Perez, as we know, could be excellent (his 2004 version with an ERA sub 3.00 and more than a K per inning) or horrendous. The real interesting part of this exercise is to see what the Mets will do with the fifth spot.

Right now, the competition consists of two flavors of competitors:
Old, washed up, sucky guys versus young, unproven, unpolished guys.

In general, I always go with youth. I think that Pelfrey and Humber would both likely be better than Sele or Park would this season. HOWEVER... three reasons why we should resist plugging in Humber or Pelfrey right now.

1. They could use time in the minors to work on their stuff. Send them to New Orleans, tell them their jobs are not in danger. Tell them to a) limit their pitch counts and b) work on their secondary pitches. This is because:

2. Neither of these guys have 200 good innings in their arms this season. It has nothing to do with skill or age, but the simple mathematics and history show that you cannot increase a pitchers workload by more than 15% or so per season without a dropoff in ability. Pelfrey might be ok from innings 150-200, but he won't be as good as Pelfrey from innings 1-150. That is a guarantee. Put it in the books. Take a look at Justin Verlander or any other rookie from any season who followed that pattern.

3. Lastly, and most importantly, the Mets likely won't need them in the regular season. The Mets are built for the playoffs. Save the young arms for when it matters - October.

Hopefully, at the end of the year, the Mets rotation could get a boost from a few unexpected places - as a matter of fact, it could be an almost completely different rotation. Best case scenario, we could be looking at a pitching staff thats no longer mediocre, but verging on dominance.

1. Martinez
2. Glavine
3. Pelfrey
4. El Duque/Maine/Perez/Humber

Think about it. Priorities. Lets go Mets.

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