32 GS, 13-11, 3.72 ERA, 200.2 IP, 110 SO, 1.36 WHIP, .276/.336/.393 vs. hitters
Mike Pelfrey was perhaps the greatest story for the New York Mets in 2008. Following a rookie season where he went 3-8 in 13 starts with an ERA of 5.57, Pelfrey once again proved to be very frustrating at the beginning of the 2008 season.
He struggled mightily with his command, which led to a high number of walks and hitters sitting on the fastball late in the count.
However, something all of a sudden clicked once Dan Warthen took over as the interim pitching coach right before the All-Star break. Not only was Pelfrey picking up victories and pitching deeper into games, he was lights out.
From May 21 through July 25, Pelfrey made 11 starts. During that time period he was 7-0 with a 2.57 ERA, and allowed just 20 walks in 73.2 innings.
Eventually Pelfrey came back down to earth, but keep in mind that pitching for the Mets in late August and September is no easy task given the recent history of this team.
With a full season in the big leagues under his belt and a little bit of confidence coming into Spring Training, I believe Mike Pelfrey could be one of the biggest producers for the Mets this year.
Whatever it was that Warthen did to Pelfrey that caused him to turn his season around, I love it. For him to be just as, or even more successful than he was in 2008, Pelfrey is going to have to keep working on commanding that explosive mid-90s fastball, as well as utilizing his off-speed stuff more.
Moreover, if he can learn to pitch backwards and finish hitters with that fastball—which has reached 98 mph before—he may be on the fringe of winning 17 or so games.
Having guys like J.J. Putz and Felix Rodriguez in the bullpen to hand it to also removes an enormous amount of pressure from the team's starting pitchers, so look for this to be the season the kid settles into his own and makes a name for himself.
34 GS, 16-10, 3.54 ERA, 215 IP, 135 SO, 1.32 WHIP, .266/.338/.390 vs. Hitters