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The State of the Mets Rotation

Currently, the Mets sport a rotation of Johan Santana , Mike Pelfrey, Jonathon Niese, RA Dickey, and Hisanori Takahashi. Dickey and Takahashi did not start the season in the rotation, but after John Maine and Oliver Perez hit the DL, Dickey and Takahashi took over.

As of right now Dickey and Takahashi are pitching very effectively, and are a big reason the Mets find themselves seven games over .500. With the likely return of Maine, the Mets should avoid tinkering with the success of the rotation and put Maine in the bullpen.

To start the season the Mets held out hope that John Maine and Oliver Perez would finally be able to put it together, and prove to be reliable pitchers in the rotation; however, neither impressed during their time with the team.

Oliver Perez, probably the player the Mets had the most staked on after awarding him a 3 year, 36 million dollar contract a season ago, played so poorly that the Mets tried hiding him in the bullpen. Unfortunately, he was just as ineffective there, and, after he refused a minor league assignment, the Mets banished him to the DL.

Maine’s story is a little more promising. He did not pitch very effectively to start, but after returning to being primarily a fastball pitcher Maine was able to pitch well enough to keep the Mets in games. The problem was he still had trouble pitching late into games and sustained an injury that forced him out of a game after throwing just five pitches.  This came just before he landed on the DL.

Maine has recently thrown in a rehab game and is working his way back to the majors. The question is: Should the Mets put him back in the rotation? Right now, the Mets are clicking, and a big part of that is the current starting rotation.

In addition the bullpen has been more effective as pitchers are pitching six, seven, or more innings. In fact Pelfrey and Niese started back to back games where they pitched for nine innings. While Dickey and Takahashi will never be top-line starters, they are getting the job done right now and that should not be tinkered with.  Especially in favor of a player that struggles to pitch five innings.

John Maine’s best career move looks like a transition to the bullpen. He has a lively fastball, but not a ton else, and like I keep mentioning, he has trouble going deep in to games. In the bullpen only one or two strong pitches are needed to be effective. It would be great to convert Maine into a set-up guy, or if we’re lucky, an eventual cheaper option to K-Rod at closer when Frankie’s contract is up after next season.

While Dickey and Takahashi’s effectiveness might wane as the season continues, John Maine is not a good replacement. He has had numerous times to prove his worth, and outside of 2007 has failed to do so.

by Evan Slavit at the Sports Fan Blog Network

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A Look At the New York Mets’ Young Guns

For all the heat Omar Minaya got over the off-season, it is about time we give him some credit.

While it was definitely warranted to question him in the past, Minaya has overseen a farm system that has provided some quality players for the big league team this season. I am talking about first baseman Ike Davis and starting pitchers Mike Pelfrey and Jonathon Niese.

Ike Davis has solidified first base for the Mets, a position that has not seen a full season of production since 2006.

Carlos Delgado never picked up his play in 2007 and while he went on a tear the latter half of 2008, his bat was pretty much non-existent the first half of the season. With the injury to Daniel Murphy the 2010 season was looking like much of the same with journeymen Mike Jacobs and Fernando Tatis splitting time at the position.

Luckily for the Mets, Davis hit well enough in Spring Training and the start of the season for the AAA Buffalo Bisons that there was little resistance to calling him up. While he is barely hitting .260 on the year, he has still provided power with 7 home-runs, great defense, and most importantly—hope for the future.

Pelfrey has flat out dominated from the start of the season. I do not think it is a stretch to say that I feel more confident when he takes the mound than when Johan Santana does. Pelfrey has gone 9-1 on the season with a 2.39 ERA. He has given the team half of the 1-2 punch they need, and gives the team loads of confidence every time he takes the mound.

Finally there is Niese. He came up last season and pitched pretty well, but suffered a nasty hamstring injury during his third start in the majors. The fear was he would not be able to recover enough to warrant a spot in the rotation to start the season.

That fear was put aside early as he pitched so effectively during Spring Training that Jerry Manuel put him in the second spot following Santana. During the season Niese has managed to keep the optimism going with a stat-line that reads: 3-2 3.61 ERA 45 K/ 19 BB. To follow that up, Niese had only one blemish in his last start, a double in the third inning. Despite that hit, Niese was perfect in a complete game effort where he shut-out the Padres.

Since David Wright and Jose Reyes were called up years ago, the Mets have failed to add impact players to their big league team.

This is Pelfrey’s third season, but following last year his career did not look promising.

While it has only been a few months, at this point it looks like Minaya has done a better job with the farm system than anyone has given him credit for. Not to mention the great acquisitions of Angel Pagan, Rod Barajas, Henry Blanco, Hisanori Takahashi, and RA Dickey.

Give Minaya a little bit of credit.


by Evan Slavit at the Sports Fan Blog Network

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