Did Mike Pelfrey Really Have A Breakout Season?

An article by posted on March 18, 2009

The Mets have a lot riding on this season. There’s a certain pressure on so many players who need to perform to expectations for everything to pan out.

Among them are Carlos Beltran, Carlos Delgado, Johan Santana, Oliver Perez, Dan Murphy and a few others.

This year, it seems like everyone is considering Mike Pelfrey a lock to step up and deliver another fine season, and we’re not just talking Mets fans, we’re talking about the New York Mets themselves who have no problem calling Mike Pelfrey their number two pitcher.

These lofty expectations all stem from last season, a season which may not have been altogether easy to read.

I came across an interesting excerpt in an article by Mike Podhorzer of Fantasy Pros 911 in which he gives his take on Mike Pelfrey based on a statistical analysis of his expected and actual ERA.

Was Mike Pelfrey’s “breakout” for real? No, it wasn’t. I put breakout in quotes because it was really just good luck, rather than anything skills-based that led to a 3.72 ERA. Pelfrey could mainly thank his 6.3% HR/F for that. His 4.9 K/9 was just awful and his BB/9 (2.9) and GB% (49.6%) weren’t nearly good enough to offset the putrid strikeout rate. His expected ERA for the season was an awful 4.72, exactly 1 full run higher than his actual. What about his 3.16 2nd half ERA you ask? His control took a giant leap forward; however his K/9 remained the same lowly 4.9. If he was inducing grounders at a 60%+ rate, then this might be okay, as Chien-Ming Wang has shown us. However, he isn’t. I don’t expect him to earn any more than $1 or $2 in 12-team mixed leagues

Forget the last sentence unless of course fantasy baseball is up your alley, but there is a lot of validity to what Mike writes. If Pelfrey was just the 4th or 5th man on the totem pole, I may not be as worried, but because we are relying so heavily on him, I can’t help but be a little disturbed by these stats.

Still, there is a flip-side to this in my opinion. Maybe Mike Pelfrey was extremely lucky last season, and his numbers should have looked worse overall, it was still a vast improvement over the prior season. And if Pelfrey improves yet again this season, than maybe last years skewed numbers, will become this years actual numbers.. Do you follow my logic?

So I wouldn’t be surprised if Pelfrey posts another 3.72 ERA, only this time I expect it will be more in line with his expected ERA.

About the Author ()

I'm a lifelong Mets fan who loves writing and talking about the Amazins' 24/7. From the Miracle in 1969 to the magic of 1986, and even the near misses in '73 and '00, I've experienced it all - the highs and the lows. I started Mets Merized Online in 2005 to feed my addiction and interact with other passionate Met fans like you. Follow me on Twitter @metsmerized.

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