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Hefner has been a huge disappointment, and he seems better suited as a long reliever with his skill set.
When Johan Santana’s season ended on an operating table, the man who was supposed to replace him was Jeremy Hefner.
So far, Hefner has accrued an 0-2 record and 5.14 ERA in five appearances and four starts, as well as a 1.48 WHIP and an embarrassing seven home runs allowed.
Hefner also has 20 hits allowed, 12 strikeouts and 11 walks in 21.0 innings.
Hefner is not a power pitcher, and he relies on pitch movement, command and forcing grounders. He has not been able to accomplish any of those feats on a consistent basis. As a result, opposing batters have a .957 OPS against him, and lefties are hitting .324 with an unbelievable 1.243 OPS.
Surprisingly, Hefner has also thrived in pitcher-friendly Citi Field. In three starts, he has a 2.65 ERA and just 12 hits allowed in 17.0 innings.
Of Hefner’s four starts, two of them have actually been quality outings. He recently found his groove, allowing three hits and one earned run in 7.0 innings against the Los Angeles Dodgers. Not coincidentally, Hefner also got 12 and seven groundballs, respectively, in the two quality starts.
That may seem like a positive stat, but that recent start against the Dodgers was the first outing in which Hefner did not allow a home run. That includes the two home runs he allowed in just 1.0 inning of relief.
If Hefner is going to develop consistency, he needs to limit walks and force grounders.
Hefner has shown the ability to do this. But Hefner is a “loser” for the first month of the season because of the ballooning severe lack of command and consistency.
Stats via ESPN.com, baseball-reference.com, mlb.com