Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Coop's Keys to the 2008 Season: Part Three

Good morning, class. Today we have Part Three of our 2008 pre-season analysis, and today's focus is going to be on one Michael Pelfrey. Or "The Big Pelf" as we have taken to calling him.

Arguably, the Mets pitching staff in 2008 is quite possibly the strongest I've ever seen it. A former Mets pitching star who shall remain nameless did tell me there was nothing like the 80s, when you could count on Doc Gooden going out there every fifth day, and you could just relax and be like - ahhhhh.

As fans, you can't help but be excited about Johan...but add in a full year of Pedro, the emergence of Maine Game and Oh Pea, and every 5th day - is there a problem? The pressure is off, essentially. But who is the fifth starter this year? Up in the air, I know, but right now, I would say the spot is Mike Pelfrey's to lose. Which makes him key #3 for Coop's keys to the season.

I know I have mentioned it on this forum before, but I'll say it basically because I can, you can't stop me and I don't care if you've heard it a million times...But I was at Pelf's first game against the Marlins in 2006. I was excited to see him based on all the information I had on him. While he did not have his best game that day (it was more of Jose Valentin's game), it was obvious that the kid had some bona fide talent. He throws hard, throws strikes and is a commanding dude. Will he be a Jeff D'Amico flash in the pan? Or will he make his mark as FINALLY the Mets hyped pitching prospect we've waited for since Doc?

In 2007, the pressure was on for Pelf to perform. However, after an 0-5 start with one no-decision in the mix, we had to wonder - is he all hype, no type?

Let's take a look. Now, I wish that I could give credit here, and I've talked about this ad nauseum with other bloggerati, but someone once pointed out that in his pitching career (including pre-professional), Pelf had the gift of not walking many and giving up very few base hits. If you notice, he gets shaky and can't throw strikes if someone is already on base.

Unfortunately, life doesn't work that way - perfection doesn't occur. Especially in pitching.

Now, I have given Soul Glo Peterson some MAD props for his handling of the young dudes on the pitching staff, especially Maine and Pea. Pea especially -- I threatened to increase my drinking consumption when he started at Shea in 2006, and then we all know what happened there. I thought that if RP could get through to Pea, he could get through to ANYONE.

But Pelf's elusive head...seems Soul Glo can't make his way through that.

We can target his youth - but how long can we do that? He flirted with absolute dominance at AAA and then absolute blah-ness at the Big Boy Level.

Don't get me wrong - again, the pitching staff is probably the strongest I've ever seen it and I've been a fan for a loooong time. When you have old-timers who say Seaver and Koosman (and Gentry...Matlack...etc) had nothing on this staff...we're going to have a rare treat that every single day they can go out and have a great chance of winning.

Except on that fifth day. Am I being greedy that I want a strong rotation from back-to-front? Or am I showing legit concern as to how Pelf is going to fit in the mold on this team?

I think the latter.


MP said...

Pelfrey should have the spot - the ride with Duque should be over. Throw Pelfrey out there for 6 weeks or so and if he looks as terrible as he has this spring (which I doubt) bring Duque back from the pen or start looking for something off the scrap heap.

debmc said...

Well, Coop, it looks as if we might actually go outside the organization for #5. In the person of one Claudio Vargas. And considering the way Pelf and Duque have pitched this spring, I can't blame the Mets.

And check out my new column at F.U. if you get a chance. :)

Ceetar said...

I don't know. Pelfrey biggest problem seems to be his head. If it were me I'd start him in the 5th spot, but I doubt the Mets do that with the way he performed... We'll see how it goes tomorrow. I think the Mets lack in depth a little bit because of the Santana trade, but that's okay, something will turn up in this 5th spot, I'm just not so sure it'll be Pelfrey anymore. You can't discount his excellent September last year, one of the few that didn't collapse. I could be wrong, but I think they were saying Gooden was indeed the last rookie to win three games in September.