There’s no question out of necessity the Mets rushed Mike Pelfrey, but it says a lot about him that he was able to learn and not let the frustrations of a 3-8 season in 2007 sabotage his development as it would with many young pitchers.
Pelfrey appeared to find himself in 2008, but regressed last year to the point where he was mentioned in trade rumors. Pelfrey, simply, was a mess with some hideous moments, such as a three-balk afternoon in San Francisco.
He still had all the good things in his scouting report, such as a power fastball, but it was outweighed by a propensity for not being able to finish off batters or innings.
When things got tense, Pelfrey got tight and small threats mushroomed into big innings. When they unraveled for him, he was all over the place.
When he struggled this spring, some speculated he’d be better off in the minor leagues – I had that thought – but Pelfrey promised he was working on things and would be better.
He kept his word.
“The game has slowed down for me,’’ Pelfrey said. “I’m making good decisions and making the pitches when I have to.’’
Many of those pitches has been a sharp, darting splitter.
Pelfrey (8-1, 2.39) will be seeking his fifth straight win tonight, and second in eight days against San Diego. After a dismal road trip, the Mets have won three straight at home. They fully expect to make it four tonight.
“He expects to go out there and dominate and that’s what he’s been doing,’’ David Wright said. “With him, it’s just about having that confidence. And he has that now.’’
The Mets chose Matt Harvey last night with the seventh overall pick. When it comes to coping with high expectations and hard reality he’ll have no better mentor than Pelfrey.