Tag Archives: Dillon Gee

The Second Half

A sense of optimism

Let’s get this out of the way to start. No, I don’t expect the Mets to be in the playoff hunt. I wouldn’t even be surprised to see them fall apart like they’ve done the last few seasons. Yet I’m still excited for what’s in store. I feel like I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. Mind you this light isn’t piercing. It’s simply the first time I’ve seen any in a while.

Even with mild expectations (and that was probably optimistic), the season started out disappointing. Once again Ike Davis had a slow start. The only hitter outside of David Wright with true star potential on the roster, and he put up some of the worst numbers in all of the majors. Ruben Tejada went from a possible starter to a minor leaguer, and Jon Niese has suffered through some poor starts and an extended stint on the DL that almost saw his season come to a close. Not to mention an injury to top catching prospect Travis d’Arnaud, the main impact player in the Dickey trade that was supposed to premier with the big league club.

So why am I optimistic for the second half? It’s Matt Harvey looking like a Cy Young candidate in his first full season. It’s Zach Wheeler flashing the promise of a staff ace in his first few starts. It’s Niese avoiding season ending surgery. It’s Jeremy Hefner turning from a stop-gap to a potential piece of the puzzle. It’s Bobby Parnell turning into a big trade chip, and a stud young closer. It’s wanting to see if there is any way in hell Josh Satin and Eric Young Jr. can keep it up. And it’s hoping to see d’Arnaud in the majors sooner than later. Basically, it’s a lot.

I want to see the progression of these players because honestly the Mets could be a competitive team as early as next season (competitive as in second wild card contender…which is a lot when you consider the last several seasons).

And it’s almost entirely because of the pitching depth in the system. Harvey, Wheeler, Niese, Hefner, Dillon Gee, Noah Syndergaard, and Rafael Montero. That’s seven strong starting pitchers in the majors or the high minors. Pick any five and you have yourself a strong rotation to build around, and that leaves you two strong trading chips (If I had to guess I’d say Niese and Montero are most likely to be traded).

Ok, hitting might leave more to be desired. But Wright has become the leader of this team. He has been the best third baseman in the National League, and one of the most productive players in the majors despite having very little around him (outside of Marlon “Are you absolutely sure PEDs are not involved in any way?” Byrd).

There is still the chance d’Arnaud can establish himself as a solid hitter before the season ends. And let’s not forget all the money coming off the books at the end of the season. If the Mets can use the payroll flexibility to add a bat and trade for another (entirely possible) the Mets lineup could be respectable by next season (and with the rotation that’s good enough).

Some Time to Think

Back in 2005 there were high expectations for Mike Pelfrey. As a Boras client, many teams worried about his signability, allowing him to fall to the Mets at number nine despite many teams believing he projected to be an ace. Last season that potential seemed to be realized. In the first half, Pelfrey posted a 2.69 ERA and had 10 wins. Unfortunately for Pelf and the Mets, he regressed in the second half and has been spiraling down ever since.

I wouldn’t say Pelfrey has been terrible this year, but he has not been reliable. He has had his good games and he has had his bad games. My problem is he still has the stuff to be an ace. Could you imagine if Pelfrey had the poise and command of Dillon Gee?

Several analysts are pointing to Pelfrey’s mechanics as a reason for his problems. So the question becomes, would Pelfrey benefit from some time in the minors?

Pelfrey has always been a headcase, and the pressure of winning in New York could keep him from focusing on his mechanics. In AAA, against lesser competition and with less pressure to win, Pelfrey could take the time to get his head on straight.

The Mets have been notorious for rushing prospects to the majors and Pelfrey may be one of the worst cases. (ok, ok. Mejia was the worst case by far. I will never forgive Manuel for that) Without that time to develop, Pelfrey has continued to struggle. If that time could help Pelfrey realize his potential, it would be well worth it.

I can understand the counter arguments. He is still young and should be able to find his way in the majors. With the Mets still gunning for the Wild Card, they need him in their rotation as he has still given them innings and they don’t have many other options to fill out the rotation.

My point is, he has been given ample opportunities to correct his mistake and has yet to show that he can. He has glaring mechanical problems that have only gotten worse throughout the course of the season. He is a known headcase who unravels as things get harder. Trying to make this adjustment on a team in the middle of a playoff push is not conducive for Mike Pelfrey’s progression. This strategy has been used on veteran pitchers before. For example Steve Trachsel, Bobby Jones and even Roy Halladay have been sent down to the minors to refine their games. This strategy has worked for all three players.

At the end of the season the Mets have to decide if they want to tender Pelfrey, knowing he is likely going to get a raise. For a team looking to keep payroll down, they may not want to take the risk on a player who has consistently been unable to be a reliable major league pitcher. Sending him down to the minors now will give him a chance to refine his game and possibly make some September starts to show the Mets brass that he can be a front-end starter. Perhaps that seems a bit soon, but both Trachsel and Jones were able to make it back after only a few weeks.

Getting Pelfrey on track could be a major victory for a team that is looking to compete for a championship sooner rather than later.

On to Baseball

With the Bruins winning the Stanley Cup, hockey has come to a close. All that is left standing is baseball, so until September or, if the NFL lockout continues, October (yay hockey! good thing you already got your annoying lockout out of the way!) there is only one sport left to watch. Let us all be thankful it is played almost every day.

Perhaps what is most fitting, is the day hockey ends the Mets have reached .500 for the first time in a while. Yes, the Yanks had themselves quite a day as well, but winning isn’t really new to this club. Why don’t we give some much deserved attention to the Mets today, as they have made themselves relevant for probably the first time since 2006. (I know, I know. They were relevant in 2007, 2008 and yes I’ll give them up until June of last season as well)

At the start of the season, I used to joke with a few of my buddies that whenever the Mets were tied they were losing. A one-run lead might as well have been a tie, and if they were losing it was hopeless. Now, I don’t feel that way anymore. If they are within two runs prior to the eighth inning I believe they can pull out a win. Crazy optimism for a team that just reached .500 and can’t even hit a home run during batting practice in Yankee Stadium. Especially when you consider two of their best offensive players (David Wright and Ike Davis) are currently on the DL and, with the Mets’ injury history, might stay there all season.

I don’t know exactly what has changed about these guys, but they have a swagger and a confidence I haven’t seen since April of 2007. I guess some of that credit has to go to Terry Collins. This next line has been repeated a lot by people covering the Mets so I am sorry for repeating it but: He might not be the best in-game manager, but he has kept the players accountable, and has kept them playing hard, while in previous years the players might fold with such important players on the DL. Another factor that is clearly helping the team is the play of the young guys. Gee, Niese, Turner, Murphy, Tejada, and even Pridie have been great. They have been playing so well I almost don’t want David Wright, Johan Santana and Ike Davis to come back. (I can’t stress the almost enough. I am beyond thrilled with the way these guys have played, but I am not crazy or optimistic enough to believe that this is going to continue all season.)

I doubt the team can catch the Phillies this season, but the Wild Card is not out of the question. I am not crazy enough to predict them actually winning it, but with their recent play they at least have me believing it is a possibility. For a sport that has 162 games, that is extremely important. I love baseball, but it is easily the most painful sport for the simple fact that your team can be eliminated at the end of June, and you still have 3 more months with nothing else to watch but your sorry excuse for a team. Staying relevant till football or hockey starts is awesome. Yankee fans, you might not know this, but it is 100% true. Especially if you are a dedicated (and probably stupid) enough fan to watch all the games even though you know there is no point.

Returning back to today’s game, it was awesome getting to .500 beating the Braves in Turner Field to secure a series victory. At the end of the game, when they said
that this was the first time the Mets have taken the first two games of a series from the Braves at Turner Field since… my mind went racing. I started to wonder if I was even born the last time it happened. I’m joking, but it really seemed like forever ago. The Braves have just absolutely owned the Mets in my lifetime, and at Turner Field it isn’t even a contest. When they finally gave the answer as May 2009 I was in shock. I know that is a long time ago, but it just seemed too soon. I’m conditioned to expect a loss when the Mets go to Turner Field. How in the world did they get two straight wins there as early as 2009?

On a side note: how insanely awesome was that lightning? When they showed us that clip I was mesmerized. In fact, I was almost upset they went back to the game. Honestly, during the rain delay, I would have much rather have watched that than the analysis they were giving us. Hell, I would have rather watched that than the Stanley Cup Finals game. I love game 7′s, but when the score is 4-0 and I don’t care about either team, the game becomes increasingly less exciting every second.

Anyway, tomorrow they play the final game of their road trip with a chance to sweep the Braves. I wonder if SNY will tell us the last time that happened at Turner Field if the Mets win. (I’m gonna guess sometime in 1989) With the way the Mets have been playing I really think they have a chance to win tomorrow and avoid falling back below .500. I guess the most important thing about this is: I am actually excited about the game tomorrow. Not interested, not obligated to watch, but excited. That is why, no matter how awful things get, I will always love baseball and sports as a whole. When you get excited about your team, there is no better feeling. NONE.