Results tagged ‘ Chris Capuano ’

A Baseball Chick’s Scouting Report: Starting Pitching

Happy Friday and welcome to another installment of A Baseball Chick’s Scouting Report! This week, I take a look at our starting pitching. The rotation hasn’t changed much, except for the fact that Johan Santana might actually throw the ball for the Mets this year. I will be critiquing the 2012 projected rotation of R.A. Dickey, Dillon Gee, Jonathan Niese, Mike Pelfrey, and Santana. However, if one of these guys does this injured, I fully expect to see Matt Harvey crack the rotation because that’s just what the Mets do.

R.A. Dickey: Of the five guys in our starting rotation, Dickey is really the only one I don’t have to worry about. The knuckleballer was the only consistent part of our rotation last season, even though the team couldn’t get him a win to save their lives. When it mattered and when it didn’t matter, you could count on Dickey to keep them in the game. And now that’s back from climbing Mount Kilimanjaro (without incident), he can focus on the 2012 season. I have nothing bad to say about R.A. Dickey; I hope we sign him for two more years.

Dillon Gee: Of the five guys in our starting rotation, I almost don’t have to worry about Dillon Gee. The thought of a sophomore slump creeps into the back of my head. At the same time, I think Gee will be more acclimated to pitching a full season, so that September slump Gee had last season won’t happen again. Is Dillon Gee or ace of the future? No. Is Dillon Gee a solid #3 or 4 starter? Yes. I expect Gee to improve where it matters and hopefully, we get to keep pre-All Star break Dillon Gee and get rid of that other guy. And yes, sports journalists everywhere willl be able to make their own Dillon Gee inspired headlines (and I plan to also).

Jonathan Niese: This is where I start my worrying. Yes, Jonathan Niese was born to be a Met. His numbers worsened from 2010 to 2011 (even though he pitched less innings in 2011). I don’t know, given his injury history, if Jonathan Niese can imrove on last season’s numbers: 11-11 with a 4.70 ERA in 157.1 innings. When Niese first cracked the rotation in 2008, he was under Jerry Manuel, who kept pitchers in until they threw 100 pitches and then went to the bullpen. Terry Collins keeps pitchers in until they get tired and for Niese, it always seems to be at the 100 pitch count, whether he’s thrown four innings or seven innings. I really like Jonathan Niese and I want to see him improve, but I wish the front office would have given Chris Capuano the damn two years.

Mike Pelfrey: I really wish the front office would have given Chris Capuano the damn two years. Mike Pelfrey got a raise for sucking at his job. I wish I could get a raise for licking things with my unusally long tongue. During his tenure with the Mets, Pelfrey accrued a 50-54 record with a career ERA of 4.40. Last season was the first season where Pelfrey didn’t win at least 10 games, after he went 7-13. Of the guys in the rotation, Mike Pelfrey has the most to prove. It seems like that we, as fans, expected a lot more of Mike Pelfrey because he was our de facto ace last season. And the Mets told him that. And that was the team’s fatal mistake with Mike Pelfrey. And now we, as a fanbase, have resorted to making jokes about this man’s tongue. I have some, but I’m waiting for the season to start. If Mike Pelfrey is not in the Mr. Met costume on his off days, then I don’t feel we’re getting our money’s worth as of right now.

Johan Santana: Johan Santana is a walking question mark. He is throwing from 90 feet as of January 5, but the team hasn’t given a time table for his return. It seems like Santana is on the 15-month DL instead of the 15-day DL. Once Santana comes back, we don’t know if he’s going to be the same pitcher or even close to the same pitcher. I think that most Met fans would be happy with the Johan Santana that keeps the team in the game, whether he was the same pitcher or not. Santana is notoriously a second-half pitcher anyway, so it might take him half the season to get back into the groove of things. I’m not setting any expectations for Santana because that wouldn’t be fair. If he pitches the season, great. If not, it gives someone else in the minors a chance to pitch. But Terry hopes to get 25 starts from Santana this season. I hope so too.

As of this moment, Terry Collins has not picked his Opening Day starter. If I got to pick, it would be R.A. Dickey. If Santana was able to start, again, that would be awesome. Next week, this baseball chick takes a look at our bullpen, and we have a bunch of new guys and a bunch of old guys. So this should be fun.

 

Mets Hot Stove: We need pitching

The Hot Stove season is finally here!

The Mets have 8 players who are free agents this season: Jose Reyes, Chris Capuano, Scott Hairston, Chris Young, Miguel Batista, Jason Isringhausen, Dale Thayer, and Ryota Igarashi.

The Mets also have five players who are eligible for arbitration this winter: Mike Pelfrey, Angel Pagan, Manny Acosta, Ronny Paulino, and Taylor Buchholz.

Seeing the list off free agents this offseason, it’s clear to me what our greatest need is: pitching. Sandy Alderson said himself that our next closer is not in the organization. So I guess the Bobby Parnell experiment is over.

Pitching can only do so much. I’m sure the Mets will talk seriously with Jose Reyes about re-signing. A player can say he wants to stay with the Mets forever, but a team could offer him more time, more money and he can immediately jump ship. The Jose Reyes situation could go either way and I wouldn’t be surprised.

But we need pitching, more specifically bullpen help. This past season, I cringed every time we had to go to the bullpen, cringed every time we sent Parnell in to pitch the 9th. Just because he has a 100 MPH fastball, it doesn’t make him a closer. We need a closer. We need a reliable guy to pitch the 8th inning. We need a more reliable bullpen. R.A. Dickey had a great season; his record doesn’t reflect that because of a combination of lack of offense and a crappy bullpen.

I’m cutting the offense some slack because we basically had a team of rookies, and Jason Bay. Plus Ike Davis will be back so that instantly boosts your offense. Also, as long as Daniel Murphy bats third, we’ll be okay. We just need an outfielder with some pop. More pop than Jason Bay.

I’m curious to see what the Mets do this offseason to try and get the players they need, while at the same time cutting down the payroll. Should be interesting to watch.

Looking Ahead: 2012 Pitching

For the past two seasons, Dan Warthen has done well making something out nothing. Pitching has become both our greatest asset and out biggest need. 2011 without Johan Santana was tough; watching Mike Pelfrey pich was tougher.

For 2012, the Mets are expecting Santana to be healthy and ready. Realistically, we can’t expect Santana to be what he was; I would take 80-85% (which is 100% if you’re Carlos Beltran). But Santana at 80% is better than our de facto ace, Mike Pelfrey.

With Santana locked in as our Opening Day starter (barring further injury), we still need rotation spots 2-5.

I would put R.A. Dickey in the two hole. The knuckleballer’s 8-13 record might not be the most accurate stat given his performance in 2011. This season, Dickey pitched 208 2/3 innings and posted a 3.28 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, and 134 K’s. He also ended the season with 14 consectutive quality starts. This is someone I want in my rotation. Dickey is also fun to follow on Twitter. His handle is @RADickey43.

Dillon Gee gets the benefit of the doubt for being a rookie. The first season is always the toughest for pitchers because they get fatigued by September. Despite this, Gee still posted a 13-6 record with a 4.43 ERA,  a 1.38 WHIP, and struck out 114 batters. Gee fits in the middle of the rotation because like Santana and Dickey, Gee still pitches to keep the team in the game. Santana-Dickey-Gee might be the best 1-2-3 punch we have, unless we sign a #2 starter. A improbable possibility would be C.J. Wilson.

We also have Chris Capuano and Jon Niese to consider. When they’re good, they’re good. When they’re bad, it’s not pretty. Capuano has the run support but not the ERA. Niese has the ERA but not the run support.  If the Mets wanted to keep their rotation younger, they would go with Niese, but for the past two seasons, I think Niese has shown himself to be an injury risk. Sure, Capuano had two Tommy John surgeries, but he stayed healthy all season, right? If we don’t sign a free agent, I’d take them both. If we do sign a free agent, then I’d go with Niese, solely based on my bias towards younger players.

Mike Pelfrey is my odd man out. I truly believe that Dan Warthen has done everything he can to help Pelfrey improve his game. But Pelfrey hasn’t done jack squat except for lick his hand, lick the ball, lick the Gatorade cooler in the dugout, etc. We should cut our losses and tell Pelfrey bye-bye.

Like I said, even if a team has pitching, except if you’re the Phillies, you’ll always need pitching. I’m really okay with the rotation we do have. Now the offense has to give Johan, R.A., Dillon, Chris, and Jon some run support. Especially Johan, he’s always been hard for luck with this team.

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