By Mike Steffanos
I was impressed with Chris Young's effort in the Mets win over Philadelphia tonight. When a right-handed pitcher with a mid-80s fastball can pitch that well against the Phillies in that bandbox of a park, he's accomplished something.
The Wall Street Journal has an interesting article on Young, with the premise that Young's 84 mph heat looks like a 92 mph fastball.
Obviously as a Mets fans I want to completely buy into the fact that Young can be a really effective pitcher in the mid-80s, but I'm going to keep my fingers crossed that he can get back to the high 80s. By all accounts he's healthier than he's been in years, and the extra speed would give him more margin for error.
Rob Neyer made some good points in this piece, well worth the short read, and I agree with Neyer's conclusion that, "as long as he's throwing 85 miles an hour, his performance will be hanging by a thin reed."
Young's an interesting case, anyway. He's never been the most durable of starters, with only 49 2/3 of his lifetime 751 2/3 major league innings coming in the seventh, eighth or ninth innings. Roy Halladay had 53 IP in the seventh or later last year alone.
That's not to disparage Young, and there aren't many Roy Halladays out there, but I think it points out that Young will be an interesting guy to watch in the early going. This signing has been getting a lot of favorable ink in a year that the Mets aren't seeing much of that, but I'm keeping my enthusiasm somewhat tempered for now.
Still, if Young can be a solid 5 or 6 inning pitcher over 25 starts, he can make this current management team look really good.
The Mets are showing some signs of life in the early going that are truly encouraging for those of us who have endured some really disappointing and lackluster baseball over the last couple of seasons. I'm not under any illusions about who will be looking up at who in the standings come September, but if this edition of the Mets can go into places like Philly and Atlanta and show some brains, balls and a pulse, they'll go a long way towards winning all of us back.