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For Mike Pelfrey, Next Stop Shea?

Mike SteffanosMonday, July 3, 2006
By Mike Steffanos

In the Daily News, Adam Rubin is reporting that Mike Pelfrey might be pitching for the big club this weekend. With the uncertainties about when Pedro might pitch again, and the doubleheader Saturday, the tall right-hander could very well be Queens bound. According to Rubin:

An MLB staffer said the league wanted Pelfrey to participate in next weekend's Futures Game for prospects in Pittsburgh, but officials were told he was unavailable because of potentially looming major-league duty.

It's always risky to bring a young pitcher up to the big leagues. They can be a little overwhelmed by the skill of the hitters they face, and try to make every pitch to a perfect location, the trap that Alay Soler has fallen into. What Pelfrey has going for him is a very good major-league fastball. Soler threw most of his fastballs around 86 or 87 mph. At 94, and with excellent movement, Pelfrey should be able to get away with some mistakes.

The problem with Pelfrey is that his curve and changeup are not major-league caliber pitches right now, and he can't always throw them for strikes. If major-league hitters sit on his fastball, they will hit it. The Mets would be gambling that Pelfrey has a maturity level that will allow him to take some lumps and keep improving, unlike Soler who has taken a huge step backwards his last three games.

Speaking of the future, if you're worried that Lastings Milledge was deflated by his experiences with the Mets, you'll be happy with the following from Baseball America's Weekend Dish:

Another of the IL's top young talents, Mets outfielder Lastings Milledge struck a go-ahead double and a stole a base for Norfolk in his first game back at Triple-A after spending all of June in the majors. Milledge summed up his New York experience thusly: "There were times when I got impatient when I was up with the Mets," Milledge told The Virginian-Pilot. "I'm only 21 and there's a lot to learn. It's very important if I want to be a leadoff hitter for me to get deeper into counts and make pitchers throw more pitches. I had 33 walks when I was here at the beginning of the season, but I was overly aggressive while I was with New York."

The kid is more than just an athletic talent, he has a head for the game and the willingness to learn and improve. You have to respect that, and unless the Mets can get a really good young pitcher in return for him, they need to hold onto this prospect.

By the way, if you need something to cheer you up after this weekend, the picture that accompanies this article is guaranteed to put a smile on your face.

Great blog
I found this blog by accident because when I didn't recognize in incoming link on my web site stats page. I was glad that I clicked over, because I found Mets Grrl: my first year as a baseball fan, to be an entertaining look at a newbie's first year as a fan. She's an excellent writer, very funny, and judging by what I've read, she's picking up the game mighty fast. Check it out.

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Comments (7)

Happy 4th, all!

Agreed on all points as to Milledge.

I believe it is extremely unlikely that Pelfrey would be overwhelmed by the major league experience. Pelfrey was a top gun in a major college program; he had the watchful eyes on him throughout his college playing days. And the college game as it is marketed at Wichata State is a much bigger deal than it was even fifteen years ago; I think it counts as real exposure, pressure-wise (obviously the competition is hardly at a major league level).

Pelfrey might not knock 'em dead in the major league just yet, but I absolutely believe that he would pitch well enough to deserve a slot in the rotation. Bring him on!

Care for a tangential thought? I suspect that Brian Bannister was slightly hurt while he was taking his turn in the Mets rotation; I think his hammy was already sore or something. Did you notice, several times Keith or someone would comment on how upright Bannister was in making his delivery? And it was easy to see what they meant.

Bannister; well, I do not doubt his guts, not one bit. But he was walking batters at a rate that FAR surpassed his minor league totals -- and it's not like the plate gets smaller at the big league level. I'm thinking that some of his trouble was physical, that hopefully he will eventually return with better mobility than he showed us in his first pass-around; and that, hopefully, he will make a stronger impression when he returns. Then we'd have something.

I don't doubt Bannister's guts, either, and your theory that he might have had a precursor to the hammy injury makes sense.

I may be the only one but I have to say, your suggestion to a GREAT BLOG should have been R rated. I don't think "excellent writers" use that kind of language. 7/2/06 the cricket score. It saddens me that you seen nothing wrong in it but also to recomend it for us to read it.And like I said, I may be the only one who finds fault in it, and that saddens me also.

That was me

I cannot even put in words how unbelievably concerned I am about the state of the Mets. They have a starting rotation where Pedro and Glavine are not guarantees, Trachsel who is prone to give up 5 runs in 5 innings at any time, Orlando Hernandez who is probably 100 years old and can't get anyone out anymore, and a throw-in-the-air fifth starter who usually goes about 2 and 1/3 innings each time out.

Not to mention that they cannot get a clutch hit or work a count right now if they're lives depended on it. This team is in big trouble, and what terrifies me even more is that the front office is always prone to make a bad trade (need I not remind everyone that Kazmir threw a complete game shutout last night against the Red Sox).

I agree that Pelfrey should probably mature a bit in the minors (AA or AAA is not the biggest difference). I would however consider promoting Henry Owens and Royce Ring (remember we got him for Roberto Alomar) and inserting them into the bullpen and putting Aaron Heilman into the starting rotation. At least the starting rotation would be more stabilized and there would be an injection of young arms into the bullpen who are dominating their competition in the minors.

Case and point, alot needs to be fixed for the Mets to win this division and go anywhere in the playoffs.

Rev, I'm using worse words than those watching today's "effort". I grew up in a lower middle class Italian family where I heard very strong language every day. To be honest with you, I'm desensitized to it and the thought that having language like that in a blog would offend people doesn't occur to me. Anytime you read a blog you take a risk, because the normal rules don't apply.

I thought her blog was very good, and after re-reading some of it I stand behind that. She brings a unique and fun perspective to this, and I haven't been having much fun lately with the Mets. I will try to warn people in the future if I link to something that might offend, but I don't promise to.

Dan, that's why I wouldn't mortgage the future for this year. I'm not convinced they are only 1 pitcher away from a World Championship. To mortgage the future for anything less would be foolhardy.

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