Feb 26

Hope it isn’t lip service from Pelfrey

Mike Pelfrey came out and admitted it right away. Usually, when he pitches poorly – which was often last season – he’ll acknowledge his flaws.
Speaking to reporters in Port St. Lucie, Pelfrey threw high heat at himself.

PELFREY: He can't just look serious this season.

“I want to play this game for as long as I can and I can’t do that with having the kind of year I had last year,” Pelfrey said. “Going into the offseason, it kind of hits you like, ‘Man, what happened?’ So you go through it, you learn from it and you try to get better. I’m more determined not to let that happen again. Obviously, I need to have a good year or . . . I might not be back.”

Bingo on that part.
Pelfrey has not progressed has hoped for several reasons, including, 1) he loses concentration and poise when things start to unravel, 2) his command can be erratic, 3) his pitch selection is bad (he doesn’t always have to agree with the catcher), 4) he doesn’t command his secondary pitches consistently.
Feb 08

The two Mets I am most curious about this season.

No doubt there are a myriad of questions and curiosities about the 2012 Mets, but two I am wondering about most are Lucas Duda and Mike Pelfrey.

DUDA: Can he be the real deal?

I’m skipping the obvious choices, David Wright, Johan Santana and Jason Bay. With Wright, either they’ll trade him or they won’t. With Santana, he’s either healthy or he’s not. And Bay? Based on his first two years with the Mets, I have no expectations.

Duda and Pelfrey are different to me because their performances can dictate a lot about the future.

Duda combines loads of power potential with limited defensive capabilities. He’ll be in right field, a position where power is a necessity. We can’t project Duda for 30 homers because he’s never done it. For that matter, he hasn’t hit more than 10, and that was last season in a short window.

That short window production is what has us salivating. There’s no doubting his strength, and the shorter fences should help, but there are other factors. How will he adjust to National League pitchers and how will they adjust to him? Will he produce over the long haul and with the pressures of starting?

Duda is still a babe in the woods, but that potential has me thinking that if he can handle right field, this could be a player with a bright future.

We’ve been saying “bright future” about Pelfrey for years. He seemingly had a breakthrough 2010, but regressed greatly last season. Well, which is it? Pelfrey is still young enough where he can have a good career. He’s also not commanding the big dollars.

However, he’s an enigma and what he does this season could determine whether the Mets cut ties with him or make a commitment. Pelfrey’s performance could also dictate the future of pitching coach Dan Warthen.

If Pelfrey pitches as he did in 2010 and several of the other Mets’ questions are answered in the positive, the Mets could be competitive and entertaining this summer. If not, the projected long summer will be upon us.

Nov 08

2011 Player Review: Mike Pelfrey

John Delcos of Newyorkmetsreport.com and Joe DeCaro of Metsmerizedonline.com will be doing more and more projects together with the goal of merging two successful blogs in the hope of giving our readers everything they’ll need in covering the Mets.

Today we begin a series on the Mets where we will take a look at each player from the 2011 season beginning with arbitration eligible players and Mets free agent players. Each day we will focus on a new player in a point/counterpoint debate on who the organization should keep or cut loose. Today we start with Mike Pelfrey.

MIKE PELFREY

THE SKINNY: Will it ever happen for Mike Pelfrey? Big things were expected from Pelfrey when the Mets made him their first-round pick out of Wichita State University in 2005. However, Pelfrey is 50-54 with a 4.40 ERA lifetime, including 7-13 with a 4.74 ERA last season.

REASONS TO KEEP HIM: He’s still relatively young, inexpensive and has an upside. The Mets have precious little depth in their rotation and their prospects are years away.

REASONS TO LET HIM GO: After parts of six seasons, Pelfrey has a losing record and appears to have regressed from 2010, when he won 15 games.

JOHN’S TAKE: Pelfrey has become frustratingly inconsistent during his Mets’ career, almost to the point where Oliver Perez comparisons are being made. Pelfrey appeared to have a breakout year in 2010 when he won 15 games, but last year took a giant step back into his previous world of losing focus and command. At this point of this career, Pelfrey is a No. 3 starter at best, but the reason to keep him is that he’s a No. 1 to the Mets.

With Johan Santana coming off surgery, and every other pitcher in the Mets’ rotation having significant issues in terms of health and production, little help on the minor league horizon, and the team not expecting to make a free-agent splash, the Mets don’t have many options other than to bring him back. Pelfrey earned just over $3 million last year, so it isn’t as if he’ll break the bank.

Pelfrey is still young and healthy enough for the Mets to hang on to him, especially since they aren’t expected to make a significant run at contending for the playoffs. At this stage of his career, Pelfrey’s value to the Mets is in the hope he’ll touch his potential. It’s not too late.

JOE’S TAKE: No one player on the current roster infuriates me more than Mike Pelfrey. As a gangster in a gangster movie once said, “the saddest thing in life is wasted talent”. That’s how I see Pelfrey – just a big hunk of wasted talent.

In 2010, I had some hope that maybe Pelfrey finally figured things out, but as the season wore on his amazing first half looked more and more like a fluke… Too bad. Pelfrey has had more excuses than wins in the last two seasons. His problems range from the mechanical to the physical to the psychological to the bizarre. Pitching coach Dan Warthen said something about fixing him during Spring Training, but instead he regressed terribly.

When given the Opening Day assignment be Terry Collins, Pelfrey spoke about what it felt like to replace Johan Santana and he said he was up for the challenge and looking forward to it. On Opening Day he folded like a cheap chair. On April 1st he only lasted 4.1 innings against the Marlins allowing five runs, and it got worse from there. Truth be told, if he is still on the team next spring he should not be assured of a rotations spot and he should earn it along with the rest pitchers vying for a spot.

As far as tendering/non-tendering goes, the better question is why didn’t Alderson try and move him last season. Teams take chances on pitchers with potential all the time and if you’re waiting for Pelfrey to boost his value that may never happen while he’s a Met. I could think of a dozen other productive things the Mets could do with $5 million dollars than give it to Pelfrey.

Sep 22

Moving In The Fences Not Answer, Pitching Is

 

Silly me, I thought the object was to win games, not hit home runs.

Sandy Alderson is talking about altering the dimensions at Citi Field in an effort to boost the Mets’ paltry home run total, which is odd considering his background as a fundamentalist. You know, high on-base percentage, advance the runners and cut down on strikeouts.

When he took over his goal was to rebuild the Mets with pitching, speed and defense. Let’s not get teary eyed about Shea Stadium, either. Afterall, how many World Series have the Mets won in their history? Two, and both those teams were built on pitching.

David Wright is on-board with this because, well, afterall, he hasn’t hit for power in two years, but that’s more a product of the beaning by Matt Cain and a poor approach at the plate, not to mention being injured and missing two months this year.

Overall, the Mets have hit 103 homers and given up 141. They’ve been outhomered 87-58 on the road and 54-45 at Citi Field. Those numbers are about right for a team below .500.

Before Alderson tinkers with the dimensions, he should consider what the Mets’ home run production might have been had Wright not missed two months, Ike Davis not been out for most of the season, Carlos Beltran not been traded and Jason Bay hit up to his contract. Take those four factors and the Mets would have closed the homer gap considerably.

But, are home runs really the issue?

The Mets are fifth in the National League with 686 runs scored, which is good enough to contend, but are 13th in runs given up with 712 (4.21 ERA).

Clearly, pitching is the problem, not a lack of power.

Home runs give a team an psychological jolt in that they know they can come back from a deficit, but the boost is even greater from the knowledge its pitching won’t put it in a hole.

It was funny to hear pitching coach Dan Warthen say moving in the fences would help his staff because it would force them to concentrate more. What a joke. If the Mets’ pitchers give up a lot of runs now, wait until the fences come in. Warthen is simply towing the party line. Have his pitchers walk fewer hitters and have him build a bullpen then he can talk. Until then, concentrate on Mike Pelfrey.

And, it’s not as if moving them in will enable the Mets to close the homer gap. The disparity would be roughly the same because the real disparity is in talent.

If the Mets want to do something, it ought to be to get better players, specifically pitchers. Moving in the fences is a gimmick, and teams don’t win with gimmicks. They win with talent.

Ways to Train:  Baseball Tips

If you’re looking to improve your batting average, slice that ERA in half, or simply enhance your ability to interact with your fellow teammates on the field, you’ll want to make sure you’re practicing the right things so that you don’t waste your time on nonsensical efforts.  Fielding, batting, and pitching all require very specific types of training, and while there is certainly overlap (and most players have to know how perform at least two of those 3 functions at any one time), there are also individual items to focus on for each as well.  Below, we’ll cover each of the three aforementioned areas, and what type of training approach you should take for each.

Batting

Swinging at a baseball flying toward your face at nearly 100 miles per hour seems like a fairly easy feat when you’re watching a Mets game or another team performing at the major league level.  That easiness only appears that way because you’re watching masters of batting at the plate, the peak of players available for the game.  For the typical baseball player, connecting the bat to the ball can be quite difficult to master, at least in a way that produces actual hits consistently over time.  The best way to practice batting is through repetition, so head over to the batting cages if you want to face pitch after pitch until your swinging improves.  Pitching machines come in a variety of speed settings, so you can surely find one that’ll pitch to you at the speed you need.

Pitching

Unfortunately, they haven’t developed a baseball batting machine that works quite as well as the pitching version yet, but catching a pitcher’s ball is easier for the average person that throwing a 95 mph fastball.  In order to practice your pitches, find someone who is competent at using a glove, and throw to that person over and over again.  Remember to also switch up your pitches so that you don’t become dominant using only one type of pitch.

Fielding

This article doesn’t have the space to cover the many different fielding positions individually, but on the whole, there are some simple things to keep in mind when standing in the outfield or around the bases.  Make sure you’re using a glove that’s been broken in, first off, so that you’re comfortable using the glove and don’t feel limited in movement.  Since baseball fields don’t have roof cover and many day games are played, you’ll also want to practice fielding balls in direct sunlight, as often times you’ll have to face straight up in order to catch the ball.  So long as you can run and judge a ball accurately as you are moving towards it, you’ll be in good shape on the field.

Aug 17

Today in Mets’ History: When things looked brighter.

This was when the window was wide open for the Mets. They didn’t have extraordinary starting pitching, but a deep bullpen was deep and the lineup was powerful.

MAINE: It never happened for him.

There was a lot to like about the 2006 Mets, managed by Willie Randolph, who on this date ripped the Phillies in Philadelphia, 7-2, behind two homers from Carlos Delgado, one from Carlos Beltran and a workmanlike effort from John Maine.

Maine was acquired from Baltimore in the Kris Benson deal and showed glimpses of being a solid starter. Maine appeared on the verge of stardom the following year when he led the National League in wins at the break – but was an All-Star snub – and gave up one hit in a late September game against Florida that kept the Mets in the race.

However, arm problems and a tendency to more a thrower than a pitcher, derailed his career. Maine eventually clashed with manager Jerry Manuel and pitching coach Dan Warthen, and his Mets career was pulled after a five-pitch outing in Washington in his ninth start of the 2010 season.

Maine worked into the seventh this afternoon, before Randolph turned the game over to the bullpen.

First, the effective Chad Bradford, whom the Mets did not bring back in the offseason, then Pedro Feliciano, followed by Aaron Heilman and Billy Wagner.

The Mets’ inability to keep their bullpen intact manifested itself in the dramatic late-season collapse the following year.

The bullpen has been an issue ever since.

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