Thursday, January 12, 2012

Mets rotation might be a little better than people think

Looking at the (expected) starting rotation for the Mets might bring a wince or sad head-shake. The concensis is that the Mets have the worst rotation in the NL East. I'm not here to try and convince you otherwise. However I do want to try and show how the rotation isn't exactly a disaster, like I'm constantly reading this offseason, either.

At first glance, here is your likely starting five:
1. Johan Santana
2. R. A. Dickey
3. Jon Niese
4. Mike Pelfry
5. Dillon Gee

Considering Santana missed the entire 2011 Season and is not expected to be the pitcher he was before his shoulder surgery then this rotation won't make anyone sweat too much. You have no-one that would be considered a "stopper", but the idea that the Mets rotation is BAD is incorrect.

You don't know what you will get from Santana, but you might be looking at the type of pitcher David Cone became after he was unable to blow fastballs past hitters in the latter part of his career. Many have said that 70% of Johan Santana is still going to be be better than a large chunk of other pitchers.

R. A. Dickey has had two straight solid seasons. His breakout 2010 was followed up with a nice 2011 where he had career bests in starts, ininngs and strike outs. His 3.28 ERA was 12th best in the NL. He keeps the Mets in games he pitches and his ERA over the last two seasons is 3.08.

Jonathan Niese has been solid the last two years when healthy and has a lot of upside that could see him in this rotation for a long time, even when the young promising arms of Harvey and Wheeler get to town. He's a craft lefty who throws in the 90s, strikes out hitters and doesn't walk many, while getting a nice amount of groundballs. With a good defense behind him it's not out of the question for Niese to have a breakout 2012.

Mike Pelfry is an enigma. His last four seasons he has teetered back and forth between strong and infurating. In 2008 he went 13-11 with a 3.72 ERA. He had a great second half that year and 2009 looked promising, however he stumbled with a 10-12 record and a rough 5.03 ERA. Then in 2010 he bounced right back and had a great season in which he went 15-9 with a 3.66 ERA and at one point in June and July was without doubt the Mets best pitcher. Then in 2011 he dropped back again going 7-13 with a 4.74 ERA. At times he's dominating and other times he's maddening. This really is the "now or never" year for him I think. Which Pelfrey will the Mets get? If it's the 2008 or 2010 model He's a potenial #2. If it's the 2009 or 2011 model he's at best a #4 and likely more a #5.

Dillon Gee had a solid start to his rookie season, but faded in the last third of the season. He went 13-6 with a 4.43 ERA but at the end of June was 8-1 with a 3.32 ERA and at the end of July was 10-3 with a 3.69 ERA. He had a rough Sept but showed a lot of promise and poise. He had 114 strike-outs in 160.2 innings but did walk 71. If he can cut those walks down his upside can be high.

The entire NL East has a lot of quality pitching in it. The Mets may not be at the top, but this notion their rotation is terrible makes no sense.

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