Pelfrey Is What His Stats Say He Is!

An article by posted on July 20, 2010

You know in all honesty, I realize there will be people who cover their ears, shake their head no and refuse to look at the numbers…but Pelfrey was never an Ace as people tried to anoint him. Heck, he was never a #2 starter either. He was more lucky than good this season. 

Don’t take this as I don’t like him. I really do. I just think he’s a #3 starter and once again when talk of him being our #1 or #2 happened (just like 2008) he comes back to earth.

Ignore last night for a second. When a pitcher has a 1.44 WHIP and 10 wins before the All-Star game, he’s a pretty darn lucky guy. When you K 5.5 batters per 9 innings pitched, you’re not an Ace. When you give up 121 hits in 113 innings pitched, plus 42 walks, you’re putting 163 runners on base safely in 113 innings of work. 

What do you think will happen? 

Last night happens. 

I’m pretty sure Pelfrey won our 1st half of the year pitching MVP award right? I know I voted for Santana, and when I did so I said to Joe, “Pelfrey will win but go compare the #s and ignore W-L and tell me who has pitched better overall” 

So, let’s look at the numbers without W-L

NAMEIPHERKBBWHIP
Santana1271114283411.20
Pelfrey1131214569421.44

Try and argue with those numbers that Santana wasn’t a better pitcher overall than Pelfrey in the 1st half? This is why people who act as though stats don’t matter are kidding themselves.

Did Pelfrey pitch some nice games? Yeah. Just like Barajas had some big ABs. Doesn’t make either them of an All-Star, and doesn’t change who they are as hitters or pitchers. Let’s compare those numbers of Pelfrey’s to that of the #2 starters for contending teams, shall we? 

For this I’ll use: Philly, Atlanta, Florida, St. Louis, Cincy, San Diego, San Francisco, Colorado and Los Angeles and I’ll take who I’d say is their 2nd best starting pitcher in the first half. (For St. Louis, Garcia probably was the 2nd best pitcher, but I’ll use Carpenter) 

NAMEIPHERKBBWHIP
Pelfrey1131214569421.44
Hanson (ATL)10210647104341.37
Hamels (PHI)11211047107391.33
Sanchez (FLA)1091174475411.45
Carpenter (STL)12511846108381.24
Arroyo (CIN)1201075458411.23
Richard (SD)1131074290451.34
Cain (SF)1211054588421.21
Hammel (COL)90974172241.34
Kuroda (LAD)1021114482291.37

So what do we notice? First things first, I notice that Pelfrey & Arroyo are the only two without good K numbers. I also notice that Pelfrey, Sanchez, Hammel and Kuroda give up about 1.07 hits per inning pitched while everybody else either gives up fewer hits per inning pitched, or in Hanson’s case it’s very close.

You also should notice that the only other start with a WHIP higher than 1.37 was Anibal Sanchez. So somebody try to tell me that you’d be happy with Jason Hammel, Hiroki Kuroda or Anibal Sanchez as the Mets #2 starter? I’m waiting…

So what does this say about Mike Pelfrey? To me, it says #1 he was NOT the best starter on the Mets in the 1st half of the season. #2 it says the Mets are not in as good of shape as some may have hoped and dreamed. Don’t get me wrong, I’m hoping they find a way to turn it around. I think sometimes when we look at things in a realistic manner, some folks tend to think it’s a negative attitude. 

I’m just pointing out that when you look at the numbers; Philadelphia, Atlanta, St. Louis, San Diego, San Francisco and maybe Cincinnati have better options after their #1 starter. When you consider the fact that each of those teams #1 starter outperformed the Mets #1 starter in the first-half, what does that say to you about the 2010 Mets chances?

If the Mets do not get a legitimate pitcher to stick between Santana & Pelfrey, then I’ll be the first to admit I was wrong when/if this team makes the playoffs. Any pitcher acquired that still forces Pelfrey to be the 2nd best starter on the 2010 Mets will be like putting a band aid on a broken leg.

Lastly in regards to Pelfrey v. Santana. Sure, Pelfrey was 10-4 and Santana was 7-5 at the break. In games that Pelfrey started, the Mets averaged 4.2 runs a game. Games when Santana started? 2.5 runs a game.

If the Mets scored just 3 runs in Santana starts, you could make a serious argument that he too would’ve had 10 wins at the All-Star break. It’s time to wake up and realize Mike Pelfrey is a good pitcher, and not a great pitcher. There’s nothing wrong with being a good #3 type starter, so long as you aren’t asked to do more than you are capable of.

To anoint him the “ace” of this staff was foolish, and to assume that moving forward the Mets need a #3 type starter is ridiculous because they already have one. His name is Mike Pelfrey.

About the Author ()

Michael Branda grew up a Mets fan watching the mid 1980's teams and his favorite Met of all-time is (and was) Wally Backman. When it comes to sabermetrics versus old school thinking, he's in the middle and believes adopting new ways to get answers is helpful, especially when the old way has not produced results.

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