Tag Archives: Mike Pelfrey

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.

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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