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Another Step for Mike Pelfrey

Mike SteffanosMonday, June 23, 2008
By Mike Steffanos

Game 74: Mets 3 - Rockies 1

I wrote the following back in March:

Mike Pelfrey
It's amazing how some pundits and fans have totally written off a 24-year-old with a fastball you can't teach. I still think the winning formula for Pelfrey is to follow the John Maine path -- learn to pound the strike zone with the fastball and then add the secondary stuff. Maine was fairly effective in 2006 throwing the fastball 85% of the time. The key is to locate it and not always be pitching from behind in the count.

Apparently Pelfrey has been tipping his pitches, and they're working on rectifying it. I still love his chances of becoming a better than average major league starter, provided he's willing to go out there and pitch aggressively with that great sinking fastball.

After a couple of solid starts to start the year, Pelfrey became tentative again, pitching poorly in 5 of his next 7 starts. A no decision against the Phillies in his third start was followed by 6 consecutive losses in April and May. Of course, it didn't help the kid to relax that the Mets hadn't been scoring very many runs for him.

Then on May 31, Pelfrey held the Dodgers to 2 runs on 7 hits and only 1 walk through 7 innings. Even that effort was only good for another no decision, but that was the point where Pelfrey's season turned around:

Mike Pelfrey (Last 5 starts)
(Last 5)32.2101031201302.761.354-1

A comparison of Mike Pelfrey's numbers before and after 5/31 pretty much tell the story:

Before 5/319495.411.
After 5/31532.

At the very least, Mike Pelfrey has established himself as a legitimate major league number five starter with quite a bit of upside. He's 24 years old.

Some small minority of prospects are like David Wright, who almost immediately became a legitimate star. Dwight Gooden was a dramatic example of that as a pitcher. Most aren't, however -- especially pitchers. John Maine was awful in his first major league go-round with the Orioles.

It appears that patience was a virtue when the Mets continued to believe in Mike Pelfrey. Hopefully he continues to make strides as a pitcher. He's still not the guy I'd pick to pitch a really big game right now, but he could be that guy somewhere down the road. I'll be back shortly with another post.

View Mike Pelfrey's Full Season Stats

Box Score

About Mike: I was the original writer on this web site, actually its only writer for the first 15 months of existence. Although I am grateful for the excellent contributions of my fellow writers here, I have no plans of stepping back into strictly an editorial role. I started this thing in the first place because I love to write and I love the Mets, and blogging here keeps me somewhat sane. If you haven't had enough already, more bio info can be found here.

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