The mets starting rotation is entering the season with a lot of question marks. Those question marks being Oliver Perez, John Maine, and Mike Pelfrey. Can Maine and Perez stay healthy the whole season? Will Pelfrey return to his 2008 form?
A healthy John Maine is hard to remember. John Maine's season in 2008 was cut short in late August. His era before his last blowout start in 2008 was 3.82. John Maine was only able to start 15 games last year after having his season cut short in June and tried to make a few starts in September. 2009 is a season that Maine, the mets, and the rest of the fans want to forget. Maine says he feels great right now and he's ready to go. If Maine can stay healthy for the whole season this would be a huge plus for the Mets. Maine, as the number 3 starter this year, should be able to put up numbers similar to 2007 and 2008 before his injury. A 3.90 era is not out of the question.
Mike Pelfrey finally lived up to expectations in 2008. Pelfrey decided to start the season in June. In April and May Pelfrey made 10 starts with a 5.00 era. From June through September in 22 starts Pelfrey was an animal unleashed putting together a 3.23 era to lower his season era to 3.72. In 2009 Pelfrey went back to his minor league/5th starter form. From the beggining of the season, it looked like Pelfrey was just going downhill start after start. In 2010 Pelfrey has to prove that he belongs. He will be the number 2 starter again and has to follow Santana in the rotation. While we are not expecting Santana numbers from Big Pelf, he need to keep his era in the high 3's low 4's. If he can pitch anything like he did in 2008, a Santana-Pelfrey 1-2 punch with be one of the tops in the National League.
Now one to Dr.Jekyl, Mr.Hyde also known as Oliver Perez. In 2007, Perez pitched like a quality number 2 starter. In 2008 Perez took a little step back with a 4.22 era. In 2009 the best thing for him was to get hurt and not pitch. He went from a number 2 starter to the last pick in a wiffleball game. He showed that it is possible to almost have as many walks as innings pitched. 2009 wasn't the real Ollie and everyone knows that. Last week Kevin Burkhardt saw Perez throw and said he threw hard. It is not that big of news because there was no batter there. But it is good to hear that he is healthy and throwing hard. If Perez can stay healthy in 2010 and put together a 4.20 era that would be great news for the mets.
As for Santana, I don't really have any concerns about him. I think he will come back fine and be the ace that he is. I'm hoping for a 3.00 era from him. The Niese/Nieve combination for the 5th starter is not that much of a concern. They are number 5 starters and they aren't expected to go out there and throw up goose eggs. They should be able to give the mets a chance to win and keep them in the game in the 6th inning. They will usually be matched up with 4 or 5 starters so they really won't be getting into pitching duals.
My projections for 2010 rotation:
Santana - 3.08
Pelfrey - 3.88
Maine - 4.04
Perez - 4.26
Niese/Nieve - a combined 4.65
Yes, it is a far reach, but it is not out of the question. A lot of question marks have to be answered. Looking at that rotation, if they can put up those numbers, that is very very good news to the mets and its fanbase.