The Mets chose Mike Pelfrey with the ninth overall pick in the 2005 MLB Draft. “Big Pelf” quickly worked his way through the minor league system and a little over a year later found himself on the mound for the big league club.
In 2007, Pelfrey was given the role of the team’s fifth starter. All season, Pelfrey struggled and could not master his command. He finished the year with a 3-8 record and a 5.57 ERA. His season was so disappointing that many Mets fans encouraged trading him in the offseason.
Omar Minaya thought differently and decided to retain Pelfrey and give him another chance in the rotation. To many Mets fans’ surprise Pelfrey rebounded nicely and quickly became the team’s No. 2 starter.
He finished the 2008 campaign with an impressive 3.72 ERA. Even more impressive was the fact that he pitched a total of 200.2 innings, which is the first time in his career that he eclipsed the 200 IP mark.
While there is every reason to believe that Big Pelf will continue to pitch like he did in 2008, there are concerns regarding his 2009 performance.
One major concern is Pelfrey’s health. Pelfrey has never pitched anywhere near the number of innings that he did last season so it is really up in the air as to how his body will take to pitching a great deal of innings this season.
Another factor that will determine how Big Pelf’s season will pan out is his confidence. In 2007, Pelfrey looked lost on the mound and the fans absolutely ripped him to pieces. In 2008, it was evident that he felt more confidence in his ability to get batters out, and was widely cheered by the fans.
The statistical projections do not work in Pelfrey’s favor. Bill James projects Pelfrey’s ERA to rise to 4.35. However, he is still projected to have a double-digit win total.
In order for Mike to continue his dominance on the mound, the number of innings he pitches must be closely monitored. With such a strong bullpen it shouldn’t be hard to limit Big Pelf to six or seven innings on occasion.
How will Mike Pelfrey perform this season? The answer is that he will most likely continue having big league success. I would not be surprised, though, to see a stint on the disabled list at some point if his innings continue to add up.