Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Mike Pelfrey, Therapist

Via the excellent Adam Rubin at the Daily News:

Here’s Pelfrey on the thinking that the Mets don’t have enough starting pitching. Agree or disagree as you please: “I hear that and I think it’s kind of funny. Last year, we had pretty much the same rotation and guys picked us to go to the World Series and win it. Guys got hurt, I had a bad year and now people think everybody’s terrible and I don’t necessarily think that’s the case. I think we’re going to be fine. If they add another guy, it’s a bonus.”

He is ABSOLUTELY correct. This statement is totally on point. People are always too high or too low. It's always that we are winning the World Series, or we are bums. Nobody cares that the truth is that Oliver Perez from 2007-2008 was a great #3 starter -- when things are bad, people would much rather wail and whine about how "inconsistent" he is.

It's never as good as it seems, and it's never as bad as it seems. The rotation of Santana-Pelfrey-Maine-Perez-Hernandez last season was clearly not as good as people made it out to be. Similarly, the rotation of Santana-Pelfrey-Maine-Perez-Niese that we currently have is not as bad as people are making it out to be.

I for one think that Pelfrey is going to have a good bounce back season. In our look at the Mets ZiPS projections, we said:

The thing about Mike Pelfrey that confuses me, is why everyone expects him to be [great]... I was glad when he broke through in 2008, but I wasn't really expecting it.

The truth is, he was a little lucky in 2008 and a little unlucky in 2009. His tRA [was] 4.49 in '08 and 4.52 in '09.

I see Pelfrey's luck turning again this year, at least back to average... In addition, he's got a year more of experience under his belt and he's a year further removed from his first season as a 200-inning workhorse. I think he'll be fine.

Pelfrey will never live up to the hype that he received when drafted, or when he had a great 2008. But I can definitely see him bouncing back in 2010 with a season where he pitches 200 innings and posts an ERA around 4.20. If he can do that, he'll have a season much like the 2009 versions of Aaron Cook, Aaron Harang, Doug Davis, Roy Oswalt and Cole Hamels. There is a lot of value in that.

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