New York Mets' Starting Pitching is NL's Best

Todd ParmeleeSenior Analyst IFebruary 27, 2008

On paper the New York Mets have arguably the deepest pitching rotation in the National League.

If their pitching can stay healthy the Mets will return to the postseason after their embarrassing collapse late last year.

Johan Santana is the best pitcher in the MLB. He is coming over to the National League and pitching in a pitcher-friendly ballpark (Shea Stadium) where he has had past success.

Past pitchers such as Andy Pettitte and Roger Clemens have had success making the shift to the National League. Santana could be the Mets first 20 game winner in some time.

Last year, he finished the season 15-13 with a 3.33 ERA. From 2004 to 2006, Santana averaged an 18-6 record, 2.75 ERA and 248 strikeouts.

It is hard to consider a guy that is only going to throw five to six innings a solid No. 2 starter. It’s also hard to put Pedro Martinez in the No. 2 spot when he has not pitched a full season since 2005. For the Mets, though, they can afford to have Pedro in this slot at beginning of the year.

His stats at the end of last year were not bad, 3-1, 2.57 ERA. He only pitched 28 innings in 5 starts. Do not expect Pedro to finish the season without a couple of stints on the DL.

John Maine had a breakout year last year finishing the year 15-10 with a 3.91 ERA. He only allowed 161 hits in 191 innings and he also had 180 strikeouts. Mets fans should expect more consistency down the stretch from Maine and a lower ERA.

Oliver Perez was pretty good overall last year finishing 15-10 with a 3.56 ERA. He struck out 174 batters in 174 innings pitched. He is inconsistent at times, exhibiting major control problems.

Having a good signal caller in Brian Schneider behind the plate should benefit Perez.

If Orlando 'El Duque' Hernandez is healthy and can get the Mets 20 starts, I am sure they will take it. Last year, he was 9-7 with a 3.72 ERA in 147 innings. If the Mets have to rely on Mike Pelfrey, then they are in big trouble. Pelfrey was unimpressive last year finishing 3-8 with a 5.57 ERA.

Down the stretch, though, Pelfrey did show improvement winning three out of his last five starts. Pelfrey does give up a lot of hits. Maybe he will be the biggest beneficiary of Schneider.