Anthony McCarron from the Daily News, has an update on Mike Pelfrey who is hard at work trying to rediscover that killer sinker that made him the Mets first round draft pick in 2005.
Mike Pelfrey estimates that he has already thrown 1,000 sinkers over the winter during workouts at Wichita State, his alma mater. The Mets’ righthander is desperately trying to recover the pitch he feels he lost somewhere in the disappointment of 2011, a season he says was “nowhere close to what I envisioned or what I wanted to happen.”
His sinker could be the key to what Pelfrey believes is a crucial year in his career. “Huge,” he calls it. “I had a good year in 2010 (when he was 15-9 with a 3.66 ERA) and I wanted to take that next step in 2011 and obviously I wasn’t able to do that, by any means.
“I’m a firm believer that you get out of it what you put into it and I’ve worked my tail off, cleared my head and analyzed. I feel like I’m throwing the ball great right now. It’s definitely an important year for me.”
Pelfrey told McCarron that he feels like his sinker has made progress. Last season, too many times his sinker was up in the strike zone which led to a career-worst 21 homers to go with his 7-13 record and a 4.74 ERA. In 2010 he only gave up 12 home runs.
“I gave up way too many homers and that was a product of the ball being up a lot higher than I’d like. Last year, it got to the point where it just wasn’t moving [his sinker] and I can’t necessarily explain why. It disappeared, but I’ve been throwing and there’s more action on the ball now.”
Another thing Pelfrey must work on is quickening his delivery. Base-stealers were successful on 29 of 31 attempts against him, mostly due to how slow he is to the plate.
Now 28, Pelfrey’s potential is rarely talked about anymore and many just see him as wildly inconsistent with occasional flashes of the dominating pitcher he was expected to be. His evolution toward ace pitcher never materialized and in fact seems more suited to a mid to bottom of the rotation starter whose value is mostly in the 200 innings or so that he can be relied upon.