Tag: Mike Pelfrey

New York Mets: 2011 Season Prediction

The New York Mets open the 2011 regular season tonight against the Florida Marlins with Mike Pelfrey set to oppose Josh Johnson.

Heading into this season, the Mets have a lot of questions that need answers. Can the rotation step up without their ace, Johan Santana. Will Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran stay healthy? How will the bullpen perform without Pedro Feliciano, their most reliable reliever last season?

We’ll start to get those answers tonight.

That said, here is your Mets 2011 season preview.


Starting Lineup

Jason Bay starting the season on the DL with a rib injury isn’t a good sign. Willie Harris will get the start tonight in left field, batting second and pushing centerfielder Angel Pagan to the fifth spot in the batting order.

Jose Reyes, entering possibly his final season with the Mets will be in his customary leadoff spot, and as all Mets fans know, as Reyes goes, so go the Mets. Last season, Reyes played in 133 games, batted .282 with 11 home runs, 83 runs scored and 30 stolen bases.

When Reyes is healthy, he’s one of the most electrifying players in baseball. This season, he’ll have to be if the Mets want to contend. David Wright had a great season in 2010, coming back to hit 29 home runs after hitting just 10 the year before. Along with Carlos Beltran and Jason Bay, Wright is the centerpiece of the Mets lineup.

Bay is eligible to come off the DL on April 9, so hopefully manager Terry Collins won’t have to wait any longer than that, but right now, fans need to cross their fingers. Once Bay returns, Reyes and Pagan will form an excellent one, two punch of speed and on-base percentage.

Rule 5 pick Brad Emaus is the most intriguing player heading into this season. A relative unknown, Emaus earned the second base job after the Mets released Luis Castillo and Daniel Murphy and Justin Turner failed to impress Collins in spring training. Along with catcher Josh Thole, the Mets will have one of the best offenses in the National League if they can stay healthy.


Starting Rotation

Mike Pelfrey steps in as the Mets No. 1 starter in the absence of Santana, who continues his way back from shoulder surgery. Last season, Pelfrey has the best season of his career, finishing the season 15-9 with a 3.66 ERA. He was amazing in the first half, starting out 10-2 with a 2.68 ERA, but he faded in the second half, posting an ugly 10.02 ERA in the month of July.

Jon Niese enters as the No. 2 pitcher in the rotation. In his first full season, Niese threw a career-high 173.2 innings, finishing 9-10 with a 4.20 ERA. He led the team in strikeouts with 148.

R.A. Dickey was one of the best parts of the Mets 2010 campaign. After failing to make the team out of spring training, Dickey was called up in May and was more than impressive, leading the team with a 2.84 ERA in 26 starts. A full season from Dickey should give the Mets a formidable front of the rotation.

Rounding things out, reclamation projects Chris Young and Chris Capuano look to restart their careers. Both have been dominant pitchers in the past, but have had to battle injuries in recent years. Young made just four starts for the San Diego Padres last season, finishing 2-0 with a 0.90 ERA. In spring training, Young won two games and posted a 1.84 ERA.

If he can stay healthy, Young could be the best offseason addition made by any team this offseason, and that includes the Philadelphia Phillies and Boston Red Sox.

Capuano missed all of the 2008 and 2009 seasons recovering from Tommy John surgery. He hasn’t made a full season’s worth of starts since 2007. In 2005, Capuano won 18 games for the Milwaukee Brewers, finishing with a 3.99 ERA.

If the Mets can get 50 starts total out of Young and Capuano, the rotation will certainly be a strong point. And if the Mets can stay near the top of the division until Santana returns, they can make a late push and perhaps capture a wild-card spot.



The bullpen is an area of strength for the Mets this season, as it was last year. The biggest difference is the loss of Pedro Feliciano, who made a league-high 92 appearances for the Mets last season. The reliable lefty is replaced by Tim Byrdak this season, tasked mainly with keeping the big left-handed bats of the NL East in check. Collins decided against carrying two lefty relievers, so we’ll see if that decision works out or hurts the Mets down the line.

Blaine Boyer, Taylor Buchholz, D.J. Carrasco and Bobby Parnell will form the path to closer Francisco Rodriguez. Parnell will serve as the Mets eighth inning man, but Buchholz could also see time in that role.

Parnell was excellent last season, posting a 2.83 ERA in 35 innings. If Rodriguez is not with the Mets next season, Parnell seems poised to take over the closer’s duties. 

Buchholz is another of the Mets low risk/high reward additions this offseason. In 2008, Buchholz was excellent for the Colorado Rockies, throwing 66.1 innings of relief and posting a 2.17 ERA. Since then, Buchholz hasn’t quite been able to put those kind of numbers together again, mainly because of injuries, but if he can find that success again, he could be the best reliever in the Mets bullpen.

The Mets are in a tricky situation with closer Francisco Rodriguez. If he finishes, not saves, 55 games, his $17.5 million option for 2012 will vest, leaving the Mets on the hook for a lot of money. The MLB has already visited general manager Sandy Alderson, who assured them the team will not try to prevent K-Rod from vesting his option. If the Mets are contending, the might not be able to avoid it. If they fall out of it, K-Rod could be one of the players the Mets will look to deal.

K-Rod was excellent in spring training and seems to be in midseason form already.


Bench Players

The Mets have a lot of versatility and power on this bench this season. Lefty Daniel Murphy was a lock to make this team in some capacity when spring training began. He was a contender for the starting second base job, and though he hit very well, his defense proved to be an issue. Murphy will serve as an excellent pinch hitter and is also capable of starting at three different infield positions and the outfield.

Scott Hairston and Willie Harris are both excellent additions to the team. Hairston showed a lot of pop in spring training, leading the team with four home runs. Harris is best known for his excellent defense, making a habit out of robbing the Mets in the last few seasons. He’ll get the start in left field tonight with Jason Bay on the DL.

Chin-Lung Hu will be the Mets versatile defense infielder, able to play both shortstop and second base. Backup catcher Ronny Paulino will serve the remaining eight games of his 50-game suspension handed out last season for performance enhancing drugs. Mike Nickeas will take his place until he can return.

With Bay on the disabled list, the Mets added Lucas Duda to the 25-man roster. Though Harris gets the start tonight, Duda will get the majority of the play while Bay recovers. A September call up last season, Duda started his major league career in a 1-for-33 slump, but finished the season 16-for-52 (.307 BA) with four home runs.


2011 prediction

The Mets are a team that, if they can stay healthy and get solid production, the Mets can surprise some people. Almost nobody is picking the Mets to make much noise this season mainly thanks to the questions surrounding their finances. If the Mets find themselves out of contention this season, guys like Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran, both of whom are entering their final seasons under contract, may find themselves on the trading block.

On the opposite side, if Reyes has a good season, he could become too expensive for the Mets to resign.

With the strides made by the Phillies, Braves and Florida Marlins, the NL East is a tough division. “Health” will be the key word for the Mets all season, but I think they’ll get solid production from their starting rotation, especially Chris Young, as well as bounce back seasons from Bay, Reyes and Beltran. Throw in a solid bullpen and the Mets should be in good shape.

2011 record: 83-79, fourth in the NL East

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Low Expectations Part II: A Preview of the 2011 New York Mets Starting Rotation

In my previous post, we took an in-depth look at the Mets everyday lineup. It is clear that if everyone remains healthy, the Mets could put up some pretty big numbers with the bat; however, the big question mark that remains with this baseball team is pitching.

Johan Santana will miss the first half of the year after season-ending shoulder surgery last September.

There were reports a few weeks ago that Santana would miss the entire 2011 season, but the lefty disputed those claims, stating that he is on pace to return to the Mets in June at the earliest.

If the Mets had Johan Santana healthy, this would be a pretty good looking rotation, but without him, everyone has to move up in the rotation, and in some cases, will have to match up against the aces of the world like Roy Halladay, Tim Hudson, Josh Johnson and Tim Lincecum.

It will be a very difficult assignment for the new Mets rotation in 2011, an assignment that many predict will fail badly.

Let’s meet the new rotation, and then take a look at the bullpen in part II of our 2011 Mets preview.

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New York Mets: 10 Bold Predictions for the 2011 Season

There isn’t a lot to look forward to when it comes to the New York Mets in 2011. There are more questions than answers surrounding this team right now, and with the lawsuit stemming from the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme hanging over their heads, fan morale is at an all-time low.

Well cheer up Mets fans! It’s Spring Training, and with it comes a clean slate. Will the Mets win the World Series this season? Probably not. Can they win the World Series? Sure they can; any team can. That’s why it’s a clean slate.

So let’s take a look at 10 bold predictions for the upcoming 2011 season and the New York Mets.

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2011 NL East Pitching Preview: Mike Pelfrey and the New York Mets

The Metropolitans were seventh in team ERA (3.73) in 2010. Impressive right? You bet. But in fantasy terms, the Mets starting pitchers are merely irrelevant.

As for Johan Santana, who will likely miss the first half of the season recovering from shoulder surgery, it will be tough to determine what ADP (average draft position) is suitable.

My advice, though, don’t shoot for Johan. Let someone else take him in the draft. Unless it’s a very late round and you’re already secure with your starting pitchers, then it’s okay to take a risk and hopefully use him in the second half.

As for his teammates, there isn’t too much going for them. Just know your league’s scoring, and then decide if you could use any of the Mets starters in 2011.

Mike Pelfrey won 15 games last year, had an ERA below 4.00, and pitched 200+ innings. In 2008, he won 13 games, had an ERA below 4.00, and pitched 200+ innings. It looks to me this is the type of stuff you’ll see from Pelfrey this year. In my opinion, 2009 was a fluke year (5.00+ ERA in about 185 innings).

We can all say Mike Pelfrey is not a strikeout pitcher. And his 2009 season, his fluke year in my eyes, was his only season with a ground ball to fly ball ratio above 1.0 (it was 1.06 to be exact).

Since 2006, Pelfrey’s ground ball to fly ball ratio has been 0.99 or lower, and when you consider all the outs involved for over 200 innings of work, that can be the difference between a 5.03 ERA (2009) and 3.66 ERA (2010).

Jonathon Niese has pitched himself into the 2011…

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New York Mets 2011: Sandy Alderson Updates Issues Surrounding Team

Earlier today, New York Mets GM Sandy Alderson sat down with ESPN’s Adam Rubin and addressed several of the issues surrounding the team heading into 2011.

Rubin is an excellent Mets writer and definitely asked the questions fans are most concerned about. Alderson, to his credit, answered all of them fairly well, but left a lot to the interpretation of the fans.

Chief among the issues addressed by Alderson were the Mets’ second base competition, the fifth starter, the use of Oliver Perez and Luis Castillo next season, and potential multi-year deals for several Mets players.

I’ll review the most important questions posed by Rubin, and Alderson’s answers, and give my analysis. Any comments or thoughts…leave them below.


Rubin: You’ve wanted to maintain flexibility for spending in future offseasons. Would that preclude a multi-year deal for any of those arbitration-eligible players?

Alderson: “I wouldn’t rule that out necessarily. Certainly we want to maintain flexibility for next year, but we also want to have flexibility in solving some of the issues we face this year. I wouldn’t entirely rule that possibility out.”

The arbitration eligible players in question are R.A. Dickey, Mike Pelfrey and Angel Pagan. All three are arbitration eligible and Alderson said there hasn’t been much negotiation thus far, and there probably won’t be until the figures are exchanged between the two sides on Jan. 18.

Dickey, at the age of 36, will finally get his first shot at a big pay day. Last season, Dickey went 11-9 with a 2.84 ERA and was arguably the Mets’ best pitcher.

Most likely, Dickey will receive a significant pay raise through arbitration, but wont receive a multi-year deal until the Mets see he can duplicate his 2010 numbers.

Mike Pelfrey (15-9, 3.66 ERA, 113 SO) is poised to receive the biggest raise of the three arbitration eligible players. He made just $500,000 last season, and that could increase to $3-4 million for Pelfrey, whose agent is Scott Boras.

Pelfrey is certainly deserving of a mutli-year deal, given his ability, age and the lack of starting pitching depth heading into 2011. Alderson may want to maintain payroll flexibility heading into next year, but Pelfrey needs to be locked up. I don’t think a four-year, $48 million deal is out of the question.

Angel Pagan, 29, had a breakout season in 2010.

He hit .290 with 11 home runs, 69 RBI and 37 stolen bases. He showed he is capable of playing all three outfield positions, but the majority of his starts came in center field. Depending on where the Mets choose to play Carlos Beltran next season, Pagan could, once again, serve as the Mets’ center fielder.

Pagan made $1.5 million last season, a figure which could double though arbitration. Beltran is a free agent after this season and could be dealt at the trade deadline. If the Mets see Pagan as their center fielder of the future, he could receive a multi-year deal. The Mets do have other outfield options, such as Fernando Martinez, and may chose to keep that payroll flexibility by holding off on a multi-year deal for Pagan.

We’ll wait and see what the Mets do, and Alderson said they’re not looking to use multi-year deals as a way of settling arbitration cases.


Rubin: As far as needs for the remainder of this offseason, the Chris Capuano signing does not preclude you from adding another starting pitcher? And how likely is it that you add a starting pitcher of that caliber/contract or greater?

Alderson: “First of all, signing Capuano does not preclude us from signing another starting pitcher. I’d like to sign another starting pitcher — probably the same type of deal that Capuano has [$1.5 million base, with roughly $3 million in performance incentives]. I am hopeful of signing another starting pitcher.”

The Mets’ payroll limitations have kept their focus on low risk/high reward-type players. Two of their offseason signings thus far (Capuano and Taylor Buchholz) certainly fall under that category.

Signing Capuano, though he does have a lot of potential upside, does not immediately solve the Mets’ issues at the No. 5 spot in the rotation, and they should look to add at least two other candidates. The Mets have been connected with names like Jeff Francis and Chris Young, both of whom are coming off injury, and Alderson said the progress with both of those players is “beyond the discussion stage.”

There haven’t been any formal offers yet, but certainly the Mets are in need of starting pitching. It’s unlikely they’d bring in Capuano, Francis and Young, as any one of those could fill the fifth spot, but the No. 4 spot is also possibly open, although Dillon Gee has been penciled into that spot for the moment.


Rubin: In terms of left-handed relief, do you foresee signing someone to a major league deal, or someone very capable to an invite to spring training? Or is the current roster of contenders (Oliver Perez, Mike O’Connor, Eric Niesen, Roy Merritt) the entirety of who is under consideration?

Alderson: “The short answer is yes, I do anticipate signing — or certainly trying to sign — someone to fill that role for us.”

The loss of Pedro Feliciano hurts the Mets bullpen in a big way. He was the Mets’ most reliable reliever (MLB-high 92 appearances in 2010), and he owned the big lefty bats of the NL East. Without him, the Mets need to find a way to keep guys like Ryan Howard, Chase Utley and Brian McCann in check.

No Mets fans wants to see Oliver Perez anywhere near the team in 2011 (and Alderson also addressed that issues which I’ll discuss later), but lack of options may leave them no choice. Out of the in-house candidates Rubin mentioned, only Mike O’Connor posted any numbers in the minors to get excited about. In 51 appearances, O’Connor went 5-2 with a 2.67 ERA and a 1.16 WHIP.

Pat Misch is another in-house possibility, but he can’t be expected to fill Feliciano’s shoes. In terms of free agent lefty relievers, Will Ohman, Joe Beimel and Ron Mahay are available, probably on the cheap. The arm the should target though, if the price is right, is Brian Fuentes, who held lefties to a .128 BAA and righties to a .202 BAA.

Note: Rubin asked Alderson whether or not any Mets personnel had gone to Mexico to see Oliver Perez pitch in person. Alderson replied, “Nobody has gone yet. That hasn’t materialized, and it may not at this point.”


Rubin: In terms of second base, Luis Castillo — in addition to Oliver Perez — is a lightning rod for the fan base. If Castillo does not win the second base job, is there another role for him on this team? He does not have a lot of pop, or run-producing ability as a pinch-hitter. And I don’t know that he’s capable of playing multiple positions. Is it kind of second base or bust for him?

Alderson: “Well, that’s certainly his best role on the team. If he’s going to be on the club, it probably will have to be as the regular second baseman, or somebody who plays quite a bit of the time at second base. He just doesn’t give us enough coverage other places to play a utility role. So I would say he needs to have a role on the team. And I think that’s probably his best and maybe only role — regular duty at second base.”

Castillo appeared in just 86 games for the Mets last season, 74 at second base. Castillo is due $6 million next season and much like Oliver Perez, most Mets fans want him kept away from the team in 2011.

Luckily for the Mets, Alderson certainly gave the impression that Castillo’s only option for making the Opening Day roster is as the starting second baseman, and the Mets have a lot of in-house candidates for the position to compete. Rule 5 pick Brad Emaus, Daniel Murphy and Justin Turner are all potential second basemen and were impressive in the Winter League this season.

The Mets also traded for infielder Chin-lung Hu, but Alderson has said his role is most likely as a bench player and back up middle infielder.

Castillo has a lot of competition heading into Spring Training and if he can serve no other purpose other than second base, it may be that Mets fans will get their wish and Castillo will be given his money and shown the door.


Rubin: Johan Santana’s timetable for picking up a baseball and tossing following shoulder surgery had been moved up to early January. Has that occurred yet? Is it imminent?

Alderson: “I think he’s supposed to be seen by doctors this week or next — maybe this week — to get a clearance to do that. So I would expect once he obtains that clearance he will go ahead and start throwing. I don’t think that has occurred yet.”

No one can question former Mets GM Omar Minaya’s decision to trade for Johan Santana. At the time, Santana was arguably the best pitcher in baseball and even now, the trade was a steal for the Mets. However, given the Mets’ inability to score runs for Santana and the fact that Santana’s seasons have ended in injury three straight years, his presence in the rotation has been inconsequential.

That said, the Mets desperately need Santana to come back from injury if they’re going to have any chance of contending in 2011. At the moment, the timetable for Santana’s return is some time around the All-Star break. If the Mets are anywhere near contention at that time, and Santana pitched well after his return, that would be a huge boost to the team.

For now though, Mike Pelfrey moves into the No.1 spot in the rotation and the Mets will hope R.A. Dickey can repeat his 2010 success, Jon Niese continues to develop, and the Mets’ No. 4 and No. 5 starters produce.  



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Trio of Mets Picked a Great Time to Have Career Seasons Heading into Arbitration

Three of the Mets‘ best players from the 2010 season—R.A. Dickey, Mike Pelfrey and Angel Pagan—are eligible for arbitration, which began on Wednesday.

Players who have between three and six years of major league experience are eligible.

Dickey, Pelfrey and Pagan are all looking at significant pay raises from last season, and they all chose a great time to perform the way they did last season.

Dickey, at 35-years-old, will receive the first payday of his career. Before the season ended, it was thought the Mets would offer Dickey a multi-year contract instead of going to arbitration. But evidently they’d rather wait to see if DIckey can duplicate his 2010 success.

Last season, Dickey went 11-9 with a 2.84 ERA. He’ll finally get a chance to make up for the huge salary cut he was handed when drafted by the Texas Rangers in 1996. Dickey saw the Rangers reduce his salary from $850,000 to $75,000 after it was found that Dickey lacked a particular ligament in his elbow.

Pelfrey is going to receive the biggest raise through arbitration. Last season, Pelfrey had a career high in wins (15) and ERA (3.66). He made just $500,000 last season after his four-year, $5.75 million contract expired after the 2009 season.

The Mets will try to avoid going to a hearing with Pelfrey, whose agent is Scott Boras (which I actually forgot all about somehow). The Mets have only gone to an arbitration hearing twice: with Oliver Perez in 2008 and before that David Cone in 1992.

Pelfrey is due a raise somewhere in the $3-5 million range.

Pagan, 29, also had a career season in 2010. He set career highs in home runs (11), RBI (69), stolen bases (37), runs (80) and hits (168). He made $1.5 million last season.

Pagan will most likely be the Mets’ starting center fielder next season. He’s still under team control for another two seasons, but could easily get $3-3.5 million through arbitration.

All in all, once arbitration is over with Dickey, Pelfrey and Pagan, the Mets’ 2011 payroll will rise to over $130 million.

The trio chose an excellent time to literally have the best seasons of their respective careers. All will seek to at least double their 2010 salaries, and all are deserving of significant raises.

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New York Mets: 5 Things They Must Do in 2011

The Mets now have to contend with the quartet of pitching that is the Phillies. Not to mention a young Atlanta team that seeks revenge. Florida? We’ll see. And then, there are the up and coming Nationals, with a hot new pitcher, albeit hurt, a catcher quickly gaining attention, and a multi million dollar Jason Werth deal. Not to mention Nyger Morgan, who brings his quirky optimism, but also isn’t afraid to charge the mound. Count on them in the not-so-near future. So what do the Mets need to do to contend? Well…

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New York Mets Hot Stove: What To Expect in 2011 Out of Current Roster

New Mets general manager Sandy Alderson made it pretty clear when he took the job: don’t look forward to big free agent signings this offseason or any huge trades unless they’re perfect. That means that this current Mets roster will be virtually the same come Opening Day in Miami.

Actually, it won’t be the same for a negative reason. Ace starting pitcher Johan Santana will miss some time recovering from shoulder surgery and it’s not clear when he’ll be ready to pitch in 2011.

So, if this were the offseason heading into 2012, the Mets would’ve went after Cliff Lee to fill the void. Next offseason, the Mets may be the biggest spenders in baseball as some big contracts will come off the books. Notably the ones of Carlos Beltran, Luis Castillo, Oliver Perez, and if the Mets elect, Francisco Rodriguez. Jose Reyes will also be a free agent.

It isn’t next offseason, though, and therefore the Mets will start the season with Mike Pelfrey as the “ace.”

In 2010, the Mets went through a major youth movement. The season didn’t start out like that and the plan was to compete. But as the season went along into the summer, Ike Davis was called up from the minors, Josh Thole eventually became the starting catcher, and Ruben Tejada got a lot of time at second base. There were a bunch of other youngsters contributing like Jon Niese and in September, Lucas Duda.

At the end of the season, after a bunch of games featuring seven rookies in the starting lineup, the team won 79 games. That was with Pelfrey winning 15 games and with Santana pitching dominant baseball at times and with the team putting together two eight-game winning streaks.

The team was too young and too inconsistent with a lot of dead weight on the roster. As of today, just days before Thanksgiving, Luis Castillo and Oliver Perez are still on the roster. It looks like the exact team that produced 79 wins in 2010, will return for 2011.

So, where does that leave the Mets? You can’t really expect an increase in victories and should really expect a decrease with the loss of Santana and his 11 wins and 2.98 ERA.

The lineup will be the same with rookies on the right side of the infield and Wright and Reyes on the left side. The outfield has potential but Jason Bay was a bust up until his season-ending concussion in his first season with the Mets. Carlos Beltran hasn’t played a full season since 2008 and Angel Pagan has to play like he did last season.

The starting rotation is a complete mess made worse by Santana’s injury. There are three guys that can be relied on with Pelfrey, R.A. Dickey and Jon Niese but the latter two are question marks.

Can Dickey’s knuckler be as effective to the tune of 11-14 wins? Can Niese rebound from late-season struggles? Even if all three mainstays perform up to their best capability, who’s pitching the other two games?

Hisanori Takahashi was not re-signed and Pat Misch isn’t a viable option. The Mets could perhaps sign a second-tier free agent starter such as Jorge De La Rosa, Carl Pavano, or Javier Vazquez but they can’t sign two of them.

Pavano and Vazquez were both busts as members of the other New York team and haven’t proven to be effective in big games.

So, the rotation is a mess and the bullpen is awful as of now. It could get better but two key pieces are missing. As mentioned, Hisanori Takahashi was not brought back as he could’ve been a setup man to Rodriguez.

And the even bigger loss if he isn’t brought back would be Pedro Feliciano. He’s been the best left-handed specialist in baseball over the last five seasons and if he’s gone, the bullpen is officially terrible.

Nothing concerning the current or even possible Opening Day Mets roster gives you much hope for 2011. It’s going to be another grind and it’s almost like what the Knicks went through over the past two seasons. Not expecting much until some money is cleared to work with, which it will be.

This Mets team looks like a 75-79 win team at the highest and there’s not much to improve that right now.

Can you wait for 2012? You’re going to have to have patience in order to witness this team play meaningful games in October again.

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Fantasy Baseball Two-Start Options: Week 25 (September 20-26)

It’s time to look at the potential two-start options for the upcoming fantasy week. If I have someone rated as a three, four, or five-star option, they are someone I would definitely use.

A two-star option is someone who is borderline, but I’d strongly lean against it unless I have no other options. The one-star options are an absolutely non-scenario.

So, with that said, let’s take a look at the players available to you this week:


Five-Star Options:

  • None


Four-Star Options:

  • Matt Cain—San Francisco Giants @ CHC, @ Col
  • Chris Carpenter—St. Louis Cardinals @ Fla, @ CHC
  • Zack Greinke—Kansas City Royals @ Det, @ Cle
  • Cole Hamels—Philadelphia Phillies vs. Atl, vs. NYM
  • Jered Weaver—Los Angeles Angels vs. Tex, vs. CWS


Three-Star Options:

  • Chad Billingsley—Los Angeles Dodgers vs. SD, @ Ari
  • Trevor Cahill—Oakland Athletics vs. CWS, vs. Tex
  • Fausto Carmona—Cleveland Indians  @ Min, vs. KC
  • Jorge De La Rosa—Colorado Rockies  @ Ari, vs. SF
  • Brian Duensing—Minnesota Twins vs. Cle, @ Det
  • Gavin Floyd—Chicago White Sox @ Oak, @ LAA
  • Matt Garza—Tampa Bay Rays @ NYY, vs. Sea
  • Gio Gonzalez—Oakland Athletics vs. CWS, vs. Tex
  • J.A. Happ—Houston Astros @ Was, @ Pit
  • Phil Hughes—New York Yankees vs. TB, vs. Bos
  • Jair Jurrjens—Atlanta Braves @ Phi, @ Was
  • Colby Lewis—Texas Rangers @ LAA, @ Oak
  • Bud Norris—Houston Astros @ Was, @ Pit
  • James Shields—Tampa Bay Rays @ NYY, vs. Sea

Two-Star Options:

  • Homer Bailey—Cincinnati Reds @ Mil, @ SD
  • Livan Hernandez—Washington Nationals vs. Hou, vs. Atl
  • Derek Holland—Texas Rangers @ LAA, @ Oak
  • Daisuke Matsuzaka—Boston Red Sox vs. Bal, @ NYY
  • Mike Pelfrey—New York Mets @ Fla, @ Phi
  • Clayton Richard—San Diego Padres @ LAD, vs. Cin
  • Jake Westbrook—St. Louis Cardinals @ Pit, @ CHC


One-Star Options:

  • Chris Capuano—Milwaukee Brewers vs. Cin, vs. Fla
  • Bruce Chen—Kansas City Royals @ Det, @ Cle
  • Luke French—Seattle Mariners @ Tor, @ TB
  • Jeanmar Gomez—Cleveland Indians @ Min, vs. KC
  • John Lannan—Washington Nationals vs. Hou, vs. Atl
  • Paul Maholm—Pittsburgh Pirates vs. Stl, vs. Hou
  • Adalberto Mendez—Florida Marlins vs. NYM, @ Mil
  • Ivan Nova—New York Yankees vs. TB, vs. Bos
  • Rick Porcello—Detroit Tigers vs. KC, vs. Min
  • Joe Saunders—Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Col, vs. LAD
  • Chris Volstad—Florida Marlins vs. Stl, @ Mil
  • Randy Wells—Chicago Cubs vs. SF, vs. Stl


Scheduling Notes:

  • The Brewers may go with a six-man rotation this week, leaving either Chris Capuano or Dave Bush without a second start. When you are picking between those two, does it really matter?  Neither should be trusted with your fantasy season on the line.
  • Right now Phil Hughes is penciled in as a two-start option, but there certainly is the chance that the Yankees toy with their rotation in an effort to prepare for the playoffs. He’s usable either way, but just keep that in mind.
  • Could Gio Gonzalez be tiring down the stretch?  One bad start shouldn’t completely deter you (seven ER over two IP), but he did throw only 159.0 innings in 2009. It’s certainly a possibility, and there also is a chance that the A’s opt to push him back given the increase in work (he’s already at 181.2 innings).



  • Fausto Carmona has been pitching exceptionally well of late. While he is just 1-3 over his last 37.1 innings, he’s done that with a 2.41 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, and 30 K. The start against the Twins may be worrisome, but the way he’s going right now he can certainly be used.
  • Brian Duensing’s control is his greatest asset, by far. In his 10 starts this season, only twice has he walked more than one batter (and one of those was two walks). That’s extremely impressive and certainly helps to justify his success (2.25 ERA as a starter).
  • He’s been impressive against both the Indians (2.61 ERA over 10.1 innings) and Tigers (0.69 ERA over 13.0 innings).
  • I would only use Homer Bailey this week if you were in desperate need of a two-start option. He’s just never proved to be trustworthy, and is coming off a start where he gave up three earned runs over three innings to the Arizona Diamondbacks. I’d consider him nothing more then a low-end two-star option.
  • Jorge De La Rosa is becoming a very good second-half pitcher, isn’t he?  After going 10-2 with a 3.46 ERA in the second half in 2009, he’s gone 5-3 with a 4.00 ERA this year. I know those numbers aren’t too impressive, but they are solid nonetheless. With two favorable match-ups and the Rockies pushing for the playoffs, I’d look for him to excel.
  • Both Bud Norris and J.A. Happ have nice looking match-ups this week, taking on the Nationals and Pirates. That’s about all you can ask for, isn’t it?
  • While Happ is coming off a bad start (five ER over 4.1 IP), he hadn’t allowed more then three earned runs in a start in his prior seven starts.  Norris, meanwhile, has a ton of strikeout potential against the teams who are sixth (Pirates) and 10th (Nationals) in the league in strikeouts. Roll the dice on both of them.
  • Mike Pelfrey has had his ups and downs in 2010, but pitching on the road he is 5-6 with a 5.30 ERA this year. He’s tough to trust with two road starts.
  • Clayton Richard has struggled on the road (4.85 ERA) and has a tough match-up with the Reds. It’s hard to consider him a must-use option.

What are your thoughts?  Who have I ranked too high?  Who do you think will out-preform my rankings?

Make sure to check out our Fantasy Baseball Minor League Player of the Year Awards:


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Mets Try To Even Series With Phillies, Handing It To Mike Pelfrey

NEW YORK—The Mets were let down last night in the series opener against the Phillies by their young starter Jenrry Mejia. He’s young in age, not just baseball years.

Today, they’ll attempt to even the series by starting another younger pitcher, Mike Pelfrey. Now, Pelfrey has been around since 2006, and is 26 years old. But, he still pitches like someone of Mejia’s age.

He’s consistently inconsistent, and has still not lived up to his first-round-pick hype. Every time you think he’s about to mature and reel off eight straight wins, he regresses and gets beat up.

This season has been the biggest example of that to date. It’s been a tale of four seasons for Pelfrey so far in 2010.

He got off to an unbelievable start in April, going 4-0 with a 0.69 ERA and a save. After an average month of May, posting a 3.82 ERA, he entered his second season.

From a period in mid-June through early August, Pelfrey went 2-5 with a 7.35 ERA and gave up baserunners at a historical rate. He then entered his third phase in his final four August starts, going 3-1 with a 1.20 ERA.

Now, he’s in the middle of his fourth chapter, having put together two bad starts in September.

In his last start on Monday in D.C., Pelfrey had an early 3-0 lead. He would give it all back and then some. In only 3.2 innings pitched, he allowed six runs on five hits. The Mets would lose the Labor Day affair, 13-3, and Pelfrey suffered his ninth loss of the season.

He’s still stuck on 13 wins, which is tied for the most in his career. He will get a third attempt at a career-high 14th win today.

The Phillies will counter with Kyle Kendrick. His entire season has been up and down. He’s had a rough time of it over his last four starts, pitching to a 7.84 ERA. In each of those starts, he allowed either four or five runs.

His last start came on Sunday against the Brewers and it was bad. In four innings, he allowed five runs on seven hits, in a Phillies 9-8 loss. He did do well though in his last start against the Mets at Citi Field, and that’s probably why the Phillies are going with him today.

The Mets last night got some positive news and some horrific news that’ll bleed into 2011.

The positive news is that Jose Reyes returned to the lineup and recorded an RBI double. He looked fine, with no problems regarding his frequently injured oblique.

The horrific news is that they’ve lost their ace for the season, and more importantly, the foreseeable future. Johan Santana was diagnosed yesterday with a tear of the anterior capsule of the left shoulder, and will undergo shoulder surgery.

It was originally classified as a strained pectoral muscle around his left shoulder when he left a game early on September 2 against the Braves. It turned out to be much worse, and Santana himself doesn’t have a clue when he’ll be back.

“The most important thing is to be ready,” he said. “To be 100 percent whether it’s April, whether it’s May, July, October—who knows? Time will tell how I will recover. I’ve just got to get back to being healthy.”

The statement about perhaps not returning until next October is disturbing. If Santana can’t be with the Mets next season, their next meaningful game will be 2012.

So now, the Mets are out of playoff contention, and don’t even know where they’ll be next season. It’s frustrating times for them right now, and they’ll try to at least perform well in these final three weeks.

Mike Pelfrey vs. Philadelphia this season (3 starts)
1-2, 4.50 ERA, 18 IP, 18 hits, 6 BB, 8 SO

Kyle Kendrick vs. New York this season (2 starts)
1-1, 3.86 ERA, 11.2 IP, 11 hits, 2 BB, 7 SO

2010 season series (New York vs. Philadelphia)
April 30: New York 9, Philadelphia 1
May 1: Philadelphia 10, New York 0
May 2: Philadelphia 11, New York 5

May 25: New York 8, Philadelphia 0
May 26: New York 5, Philadelphia 0
May 27: New York 3, Philadelphia 0

August 6: Philadelphia 7, New York 5
August 7: New York 1, Philadelphia 0
August 8: Philadelphia 6, New York 5

August 13: New York 1, Philadelphia 0
August 14: Philadelphia 4, New York 0
August 15: Philadelphia 3, New York 1

Sept. 10: Philadelphia 8, New York 4
Phillies lead series 7-6

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