By Mike Steffanos
Thanks to this post by Rob Neyer I came across this one on David Schoenfield's SweetSpot blog about the difficulty in teams producing homegrown pitchers that win at least 50 games for their franchise.
The criteria was that the pitcher had to be signed by that club as a draftee or free agent and go on to win 50 or more games for that club. Schoenfield lists the last three pitchers to accomplish this for each team. For the Metsies, the last three were Bobby Jones, Doc Gooden and Craig Swan.
Some time this season there will be a new name on the Mets list. Mike Pelfrey needs four more wins to reach 50. Not only will that place him in a fairly exclusive club of homegrown starters (7 in all: Tom Seaver, Dwight Gooden, Jerry Koosman, Jon Matlack, Bobby Jones, Craig Swan, Tug McGraw), but he'll become only the 15th pitcher ever to win 50 games in a Mets uniform.
As much of a disappointment that Pelfrey seems to be at times, he's going to accomplish something this season that isn't all that common. If he's never quite become what we all hoped he might, he's beaten some fairly long odds to be what he's actually become.
Being a Mets fan has quite often been frustrating, and that frustration translates into the way we look at our players. All too often the cup is half empty and we seem to concentrate on what these guys aren't rather than what they are. David Wright doesn't play with that chip on his shoulder; Jose Reyes suffers from brain farts; Carlos Beltran doesn't show enough emotion. Mike Pelfrey isn't an ace.
And he's not, no doubt. But he's been a productive starting pitcher for the team that drafted him, and that's not too shabby.