Tag Archives: Jon Niese

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).

Pelfrey the Ace

Via The John Delcos New York Mets Report

Pelfrey is pleased with his early mechanics, saying the ball is coming out of his hand with ease and fluidity. He also has a sense of confidence knowing he has a rotation slot sewed up, which is not not to be confused with a sense of complacency.

“I’m confident in my abilities, but I still have things I need to work on,” Pelfrey said before the start of camp. “The thing I need to do is be more consistent.”

Defined, Pelfrey said consistency is for him to not get away from his fastball and lose his focus as he did during a horrid five-game stretch in July in which he gave up 24 runs on a combined 42 hits and 13 walks with only ten strikeouts in 20 2/3 innings. He had a dreadful 10.02 ERA and in three starts failed to make it out of the fifth.

That he rebounded in August with a 1.82 ERA was indicative of his growing maturity. Take away July and with a little more offensive support and better bullpen and Pelfrey could have won 20 games in 2010.

“I really think so,’’ Pelfrey said. “I was able to put that month (July) behind me and not let if ruin the entire season. I learned to not get away from my fastball. That was very important.”

I have to say, I completely forgot about the questions about Pelfrey last season. All I remember is Mike was a good pitcher for us, and like the article mentions, if it wasn’t for his performance in July he would have had a great season. Remember, last season a lot of people were wondering if Pelfrey was going to get an All-Star invitation, as many people believed he was having a better season than Johan Santana.

This season we need him as our ace. He is still a young player, and I think his experiences last season coupled with his confidence this year in Spring Training can help him take the next step. I don’t know if he’ll ever be good enough to be considered an ace, but I think the Mets will do fine with him for the start of the season.

I would be lying if I said the pitching staff isn’t the biggest concern of mine heading into the season, but Pelfrey isn’t the reason for that. I truly hope he and Niese can continue their development and give us some nice homegrown talent for years to come.

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