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Final Regular Season Grades -- New York Mets Pitchers

Mike SteffanosTuesday, October 3, 2006
By Mike Steffanos


Our illustrious commenter "Micalpalyn" correctly pointed out to me that it was time to get off my rear end and post the final regular season grades for the Mets. We'll start with the pitchers, including all 13 guys who took a start for this team:

Starters

Tom Glavine
After a terrific first couple of months, Glavine struggled mightily for a while. Then came the scare over the blood clots, and the happy resolution. Now he's back to pitching at a level closer to his early season dominance. With 13 starters passing through the revolving door in 2006, Glavine provided vital stability and led the team with 32 starts and 198 innings, despite missing two weeks.
Grade: B+

Orlando Hernandez
Insert your old joke here, but you can't deny that he's been the best pitcher over the last 6 weeks of the season. He's been everything this team could ask for, especially with the loss of Pedro Martinez. Over his last six starts he's pitching to a 1.69 ERA and a 1.07 WHIP, and averaging more than a strikeout per inning. I only hope I'm in as good shape as he is when I turn 100.
Grade: B+

Pedro Martinez
His numbers were the worst in his career, and it ended badly. He gets credit, along with Glavine, for carrying this team early when they needed a lift. Say what you want about how much -- or how little -- they get from him for the final 2 years of that big contract. I just hope he pitches again.
Grade: B-

John Maine
He carried the team for a while, and has been a very dependable starter despite enduring a few bumps. Consistency with his off-speed pitches are the difference between him being a promising starter and the solid middle-of-the-rotation guy I think he will become. Chalk this one up as another Rick Peterson success story, he really made progress with this kid.
Grade: B-

Steve Trachsel
Tied for the team lead in wins with Glavine, he also was second on the team with 30 starts and 164 innings. The 4.97 ERA and 1.60 WHIP are nothing to brag about, but that clincher against the Marlins was as good as it gets for Steve. Give us a game or two like that in the playoffs and no one will remember the bad starts.
Grade: C

Dave Williams
His stuff is the very definition of ordinary, but he's a lefty with a deceptive motion who aggressively attacks the strike zone. I think he can help in a starting or relieving role in 2007. This is one of those gems that Omar should take a bow for.
Grade: C

Oliver Perez
His numbers weren't very good, but if you watched any of his games, you saw promise. You can't teach "stuff", and he's got that. He seems more mature than he did with the Pirates, and is a prime candidate for a Peterson makeover. I can't help myself, I get a little giddy over this kid. I really do believe he will be a key guy in 2007.
Grade: C-

Alay Soler
Maybe he really was hurt, but he sure looked gun-shy towards the end. Terrific breaking pitches when he controlled them, but only a so-so fastball. He looks more like a reliever to me than a starter.
Grade: D-

Jose Lima
We saw more than enough of a pitcher that has little left beyond style and heart.
Grade: F

Brian Bannister
Some have written this kid off, despite his promising spring and a knack for working out of trouble before he went down with the groin. To me, it's just plain unfair to judge him on what he's done this season, he just missed too much of it.
Grade: Incomplete

Mike Pelfrey
We saw enough to intrigue, but not enough to really judge. That fastball is electric, and like Maine it will all hinge on consistent off-speed pitches.
Grade: Incomplete

Victor Zambrano
A second Tommy John surgery in a career usually spells the end. I still wish I could have seen Rick Peterson work with a healthy Zambrano, since we have learned that he was never healthy in New York.
Grade: Incomplete

Geremi Gonzalez
He gave them all he had for those 3 starts, but he didn't have much.
Grade: Incomplete

Bullpen

Billy Wagner
A remarkable turnaround for the little redneck. If you can get yourself to look past the fact that he gives up some baserunners, you can allow yourself to be impressed by 40 saves, including 18 in a row and 26 of 27. He makes me nervous, no lies about that, but he gets it done, and that's the bottom line. Name me a Mets closer who was better, and I mean ever.
Grade: A

Aaron Heilman
Yes, he struggled for a significant stretch, and was booed by the fans. Then, when Sanchez went down he gave the team everything they could possibly ask for. One of the real heroes of the second half of the season after being written off as trade bait by many. With the addition of Mota and the return of Sanchez next year, maybe he'll finally get that chance to be a starter. He's one heck of a reliever.
Grade: A

Chad Bradford
He was terrific all year with inherited runners, and did surprisingly well against left-handers. We all know that Willie loves that funk, and Bradford brings some very effective funk. One thing I love about him -- in 62 innings of work he walked only 13 guys. Give another pat on the back to Rick Peterson for Bradford's comeback, and a lot of credit to the classy veteran sidewinder himself. On a team whose bullpen wasn't as deep as the Mets was, I could see Bradford filling an eighth inning role, he was that good.
Grade: A

Pedro Feliciano
Do you remember that he didn't even make the team out of spring training? He winds up with an ERA just over 2 in 60+ appearances, and was a key contributor to the deepest bullpen in baseball. He was effective against lefties, but surprisingly effective against righties, too.
Grade: A

Guillermo Mota
Omar and his staff were brilliant on this one. Now that Mota has resurrected his career, he combines with Heilman to give the Mets shut-down relief at the end of games.
Grade: A

Darren Oliver
He struggled a bit during the last couple of months, but still put together an outstanding season. Another lefty who was effective against right-handers, also, and he managed to keep the Mets in some important games where the starter made an early exit. His on real Achilles heel was the long ball.
Grade: B

Duaner Sanchez
Pitched with the aggressiveness and mentality of a closer, which he may very well be someday. Losing him was a huge blow that was alleviated by Mota's renaissance. He should be back next spring, and the one thing I'd love to see him do is cut down on the walks a little.
Grade: B

Roberto Hernandez
Required by the team as eighth inning insurance, Bert was quickly overshadowed by a resurgent Heilman and the resurrected Mota. He's been solid, if unspectacular, since his return.
Grade: C+

Royce Ring
Starting to look like a nice left-handed bullpen arm. The question is whether he does it for the Mets or serves as trade bait.
Grade: C+

Heath Bell
A favorite of stat heads, Bell has a fastball that's a little too straight and a slider that he doesn't get over quite often enough. The Mets just don't seem to love him, and I'd be surprised if he was here next season.
Grade: C-

This post is being discussed in the MetsMerized Mets Talk Forum.

Comments (11)

Enjoy your blog, but find the grading column to be the single most tedious convention of sportswriters. You're better than that, Mike.

I disagree, Senor A.

Mike's not better than that (Just kidding, Mike).

Seriously, though, I don't see the harm in scanning through the mental TiVo of the last 162 games and attempting to quantify the relative value of the dudes for whom we rooted.

The only caveat to the meaningfulness of such grades is that it's only the 14th week of the semester. Finals are coming up. A C+ could turn into an A in a heartbeat, or vice versa.

And I just love that it's October 3rd, and the grade books are still open.

Senor Anonymous - It's just a framework for taking a look at what the players did this year. I enjoy writing them, but I'm cool with it if you skip the grading columns when I do them. NostraDennis is right, though, there are very few things that I am actually better than. Maybe serial killers and people who test cosmetics on animals...
-----------------------------------------------
NostraDennis - The regular season and playoffs are so different, I don't think that you can judge them the same way. Just as the record resets to 0-0, everything else starts from scratch.

A thing that I love about this time of year is the anticipation of the wars of the various philosophies of baseball. The eight teams in the postseason do not go about winning in the same way; far from it in fact. It's practically like the early rounds of the NCAA basketball tournament in that regard.

This season we have the Dodgers, who remind me of the Angels of 2002, with their high contact/modest power lineup; the Cardinals, a flawed nine riding on the backs of two or three great players; the Mets, who do nearly everything well; and the Padres, who appear to me a slightly weaker version of the Mets, with strong pitching and defense but less stick.

I'm betting that defensive play will matter. The Mets will convert more balls in play into outs, and it might be the difference over the Dodgers. The Pods have the same advantage, but I'm guessing it will matter less since the Cardinals are more likely than the Dodgers to hit the ball over the wall where the defenders can't catch it.

It ought to be fun to watch. Please, Willie, get Endy in there!

I agree with alot of your grades here ... Heilman might get an A- because it took him half a year to get it tougether... Also Lima should get lower than F.

dd - I agreee with your thinking. The one thing I worry about with the Mets defense is the OF with both Green and Floyd in there, and I think Chavez has a huge role to play.
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Bean - to me the bottom line with Heilman was coming up big when the team needed him, but I get your thinking. I liked Lima more than most, I guess, I respected his heart. I'm glad that he only pitched 4 games, though, that was more than enough.

Nice Job!Thanks for the rip too...

To make a few people happy, maybe try a 1-10 scale...(I think Beltran is a solid 9.5/10).

A few arguements but nothing substantial. I still think Soler, maybe even Pelfrey could be traded. I think humber might have more upside than pelfrey, certainly more polish.

But I like your blurb on VZ. I loved his stuff, but alas in the 6th when he went to the slider the elbow would not agree. I still have optimism on VZ. Ditto for Ollie.

Maine is this yrs Kris Benson: .500 record, similar stuff carried the team at one point. but at 1/16th the price and no quotatables (Anna).

darren Oliver worries me. I'd prefer Dave Williams in his spots. And I still think we might see Ollie. Remember 5innings tops even if its a no-no. ...I cant believe that, When you think about the Mets who IS most likely to pitch a no hitter.....Probably Oliver Perez right now.


Hi Mike- great assessment-but I hate to play dog catcher again-Jeremi Gonzalez spelled his fist name with a "J" not a "G".........

Micalpalyn - I'm old school with the letter grades... The point isn't that Humber is more polished than Pelfrey, it's that Pelfry has the type of fastball that can make him a legit top-of-the-rotation guy, and I wouldn't trade him. I like Humber, too, but this is hardly and either/or deal. Ed Coleman said on WFAN today that it's likely now that Perez will be on the roster.
-----------------------------------------
Shari - Now that he's with the Brewers he's spelling it with a G. It didn't help his pitching much, unfortunately.

http://milwaukee.brewers.mlb.com/NASApp/mlb/team/player.jsp?player_id=114928

WOW you're on the ball-sorry about that MY BAD! Even the dog catcher is wrong occassionally...........yeah he stinks whether it's with a J or a G.....................

Shari - Most normal people don't pay attention to stuff like that. I've never been burdoned by being normal. :)

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