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Saturday, March 3, 2007

New York Mets Starting Pitchers

Our New York Mets analysis kicks off with the Starting Pitchers.

Pedro Martinez - Not a draftable fantasy option
Will become a fantasy option once he comes back - and one of the better ones at that. He would get a Fantasy Score of 10.16 if he were playing the entire season, so if you can pick him up late in the year he could help a late surge for your team. He is just not worth wasting a roster spot on for only a month or two of stats. Great K/9 in the low 9s matched with a great BB/9 in the mid 2s makes for a dominant pitcher. His GB Percentage has dropped every year since 2002, falling to 36.3% in 2006. If he could get that back up around 40% and maintain his great K/BB ratio, he would be every bit as good as Johan Santana. I'm sure every Mets fan is hoping Pedro is able to come back at full strength in time for a playoff push.

Tom Glavine - Fantasy Score: 6.76
His lack of Ks - around 5 K/9 - leaves him off the fantasy radar. As a pitcher though, he is still fairly effective. His control is still there: high 2s BB/9, although we expect his K/BB to fall under 2 this year. His groundball percentage has been dropping since 2004 - 44.3% last year, but if he can get it back up to 47%, which it seems likely he will, he can still be a fairly reliable option. If the Mets are counting on him as their ace it could be trouble, especially if his K/9 falls below 5 and GB Percentage doesn't return.

El Duque - Fantasy Score: 7.98
El Duque is a fantasy option in deeper leagues, ranking in at #42, mostly because of his high K rate. His K/9 has been inconsistent - a rare thing for pitchers - but if Hernandez can keep it up in the 8 or 9 range he could be the Mets best pitcher this year. His BB/9 is a little high - hovering in the mid 3s - but an 8 or 9 K/9 makes up for it with a K/BB in the mid 2s. His GB Percentage is very low, 33% in 2006. It was 39% in 2005, which is still not very good, but if he can get it closer to there in addition to keeping his K/9 high he should be the Mets best pitcher.

John Maine - Fantasy Score: 7.20
A decent fantasy option in very deep leagues if he can keep his K/9 at his 2006 rate of 7.10. High K/9 rates in the minors show that Maine's K rate might be legitimate. He had a 3.30 BB/9 in 2006, making a respectable 2.15 K/BB rate. As long as he can keep his K/BB above 2 he should be a pretty good Major League Pitcher. His groundball percentage last year (37.5) isn't what you want it to be, but it was over 40% in limited innings in 2005. If he can get it up to 40% next year and keep his K/BB steady he should be the Mets second best pitcher - at least until Pedro Martinez returns.

Oliver Perez - Fantasy Score: 8.31
The best fantasy options of this quartet of Mets pitcher, directly as a result of his excellent K/9. 8.15 in 2006, 8.48 in 2005, and 10.97 in 2004, Perez has shown to be a legitimate strikeout pitcher. His control is a problem though, allowing 5.43 BB/9 in 2006 and 6.12 BB/9 in 2005. If he could ever get it back to the 3.72 of 2004, he could be a poor man's Johan Santana. I say this because Santana also relies on high Ks and low BBs to make up for his sub-par GB Percentage, although Oliver is even worse in this regard. His 30.1% in 2006 and 32.1% in 2005 is down right atrocious, making the possibility of him ever becoming more than an above average pitcher almost null. Even in his excellent 2004 it was only 35.3%. His ridiculous K/9 that year still made him one of the top 5-7 SPs, but unless it gets back up there and he gains better control, what you see is what you get with Oliver Perez - an average pitcher.

Now to analyze the options for the 5th Starter Spot.

Mike Pelfrey
If he continues to develop on this track he could be one of the best pitchers in the game. Pitching mostly at AA Binghampton last year, he struck out 10.45 batter per 9. He walked 3.53, so that may need to come down a tad. But his 49.4% groundball rate is what gets me excited. Combining high Ks with high GBs makes for an excellent pitcher. It's difficult to tell if he's ready yet, but I'd love to see him in Queens by mid-season. Could be a good fantasy option if he plays in New York this year.

Philip Humber
Similar to Pelfrey in that they both possess the necessary skills. He had a better K/BB than Pelfrey last year, striking out 9.42 per 9 and walking just 2.41, splitting his time between A+ St. Lucie and AA Binghamton. His GB Percentage is worse than Pelfrey's with a 41.3% rating in AA and 52% in single A ball. This still makes for an above-average groundball rating to go with great K and BB numbers. Again, may not be ready for the bigs, but he could be a legitimate pitcher one day. Could be a good fantasy option if he plays in New York this year.

Chan Ho Park - Fantasy Score: 6.38
Because his innings have been somewhat limited the past few years his numbers have fluctuated somewhat. His K/9 should be a little over 6.0, which is respectable. His BB/9 have done the same, but somewhere in the mid-to-high 3s seems reasonable for him this year. That would put his K/BB under 2.0, but an above average GB Percentage makes up for that a little. A rate somewhere around 45% is probably what we'll see out of Park, making him the Mets best option for the 5th spot (assuming Pelfrey and Humber aren't ready yet).

Jorge Sosa
Splitting time between starting and relieving, Sosa compiled a K/9 of 5.71 and 5.72 in 2006 and 2005. He had a 8.52 K/9 in 2004 working mostly in relief, but that seems like an anomaly as it was the only time in his career it went over 6. He compounds his not-so-good K/9 with a not-so-good BB/9. 4.30 in 2005, he improved in 2006 to 3.05. If he can keep it that low he would be better off, but his terrible GB Percentage (consistently around 35%) makes him little more than a bottom of the barrel pitching option for any team.

Aaron Sele
Possibly a worse option than Jorge Sosa, his K/9 is terrible. He hasn't gone above 5 since 2000. His BB/9 isn't great, but isn't terrible either. He had a good 2.61 BB/9 last year, and is usually fairly good with his control. A BB/9 in the low-to-mid 3s is to be expected for Sele if he pitches in the majors this year. With a GB Percentage between 38 and 43 between 2002 and 2005, Sele bumped that up to nearly 46% in 2006. Expect that to be closer to 41% this year.

Jason Vargas
Pretty good strikeout numbers in the minors indicate his 7.21 K/9 in 73.2 IP in 2005 could be for real, although his more modest 5.23 2006 K/9 is also possible. It will probable land somewhere between the two. His BB/9 is poor in his limited major league experience, although his minor league BB/9 of 2.81 is somewhat encouraging. His 2006 minor league season though wasn't very good, with a K/BB rate under 2 and a GB rate of 36.7%. His GB rate was even worse - low 30s - in his limited major league experience. Probably the worst option the Mets have, although early in his career he showed some potential.

That wraps up our Starting Pitching analysis for the Mets. We will probably see a rotation of:
  • Tom Glavine
  • El Duque
  • John Maine
  • Oliver Perez
  • Chan Ho Park

  • to start the season. If Pedro Martinez comes back completely healthy and if Pelfrey or Humber are able to step up mid-season and pitch well, we could be looking at a very competent rotation come October.

    Most stats and batted ball figures can be found at The Hardball Times.
    Minor league stats and batted ball figures for 2006 can be found at Minor League Splits
    Career minor league stats can be found at The Baseball Cube.

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