Mets Starting Pitcher Depth Chart – Who Are These Guys Really?

February 3, 2010

I think that all of you are aware of how I feel about the Mets starting rotation.  I have said on numerous occasions that an upgrade here was essential to the Mets being a competitive team in 2010.  Granted, there were not a lot of impact pitchers available this off-season to be had outside of John Lackey and Roy Halladay.  For a myriad of reasons, the Mets chose to stay pat with what they have had for years now.

I will now review the Met Starting Pitcher Depth Chart as I see it right now, and follow each player with some analysis and opinion.

  1. Johan Santana – Not much to break down here, as he is the only real credible guy in the rotation.  We all know what the man is capable of.  The only negative here is off-season left elbow surgery on 9/1/09, in which he had multiple bone fragments removed.  A report on the success of his first workout can be seen here posted by Joe D.
  2. Mike Pelfrey – “Big Pelf” pitched nothing like his nickname implies last season.  Last year was such a major step back for him after such a promising rookie debut.  His ERA jumped over a point and a quarter, and often times looked like he was a batting tee for the opposition.  For a player considered to be one of our finest home-grown talents, there is a lot we do not know about him at this stage in his development.  What we do know is that he was never a strikeout pitcher going back to his time in the minor leagues (at least above A-Ball).  It is noticeable when he gets to 2 strikes and has no “put-away” pitch to fool the batter.  There are many ten-pitch AB’s against him as a result.  107 strikeouts in 184 innings is as much evidence as you need to gauge this.  In essence, he is a ground-ball pitcher who lets up many base runners while lulling his defense to sleep during long innings of work.  Let’s face it, a plus 5 ERA and plus 1.50 WHIP is not deserving of #2  starter status.  However, as you will see once you continue down this list, he must be placed here for now.  This is awfully disturbing.
  3. Oliver Perez – Who doesn’t cringe every time we see Oliver Perez take the mound, let alone after the sheer mention of his name?  This is a guy that came on like a whirlwind during the 2006 playoffs, and has looked anything but that ever since.  It has been a slow regression of productivity for him since that season.  That 2004 all-star season on the Pittsburgh Pirates seems like a distant memory.  In many ways, it is.  The Pirates lost patience with his lack of command and faulty mechanics that they gave him away f or a song and dance.  The Mets appeared to pull off a steal when they made the move to acquire him in 2006.  What did they actually come away with?  Let’s put it this way.  It’s almost like the Mets held up a bank and asked the teller to fill their bag with all the money in the vault, only to come away with monopoly money instead.  What is evident is that Ollie has reigned back his mechanics to the point where his velocity, which once neared 98-100 mph in 2004, rarely reaches 94 and often hovers around 91 mph.  Combine that with his infamous lack of control, and you have a time bomb on the mound as your number three pitcher coming off of knee surgery.  Ouch!
  4. John Maine – Now here is a man with a little upside…I hope.  John Maine has proven, while healthy, to be a productive pitcher.  Unlike Pelfrey and Perez, his strikeout to walk ratio is minimally 2:1 throughout his major league career.  He is a guy who lets up home runs as a fly ball pitcher, but makes up for it with the ability to strike someone out as he usually possesses fair control.  Unfortunately, he has been completely unable to stay healthy over the last year and a half, and whether his stuff will be what it once was this year is anybody’s guess.
  5. Fernando Nieve – We now reach the level of the completely unknown.  Nieve had a small run of success last season before suffering a season-ending quadriceps injury on July 19th.  He possessed a fastball that occasionally was clocked at 98 mph that had some late movement.  This enabled him to overpower some major league hitters during his short stint with the club last year.  Other than this cup of coffee, he toiled in the minor leagues for parts of 9 years, illuminating the fact that he has not been highly regarded for quite some time by big league scouts.  Your guess is as good as mine here.
  6. Jonathon Niese – Projected as a major league 4th starter by most experts, Mr. Niese seemed to be rounding into form last season before he spun the roulette wheel of season ending Met injuries on August 5th.  He ultimately succumbed to a complete tear of the right upper hamstring tendon that required surgery to repair.  His statistics are encouraging.  He possesses a 2:1 strikeout to walk ratio in limited major league innings.  However, this is backed up by a better ratio than that throughout his minor league career.  He also has the ability to produce a lot of ground ball outs as his best pitch is a huge breaking curve ball.  He began to spot his low 90’s fastball with better accuracy prior to the injury.  He seems to  have a bit of promise, however like so many Met pitchers, he is a huge gamble to produce this season coming off his major injury.
  7. Josh Fogg – Please.
  8. Nelson Figueroa – Why bother?

As clearly illustrated, the Mets have very little to trust going into this 2010 season from a starting pitching standpoint.  As much as I can measure, it is pitching that wins.  Why gamble on such an important aspect to your success? There was John Lackey to be had.  It seems to me that we could have at least made him an offer.

Why take such a gamble, Jeff? You seem confused.

Ask Jeff Wilpon that question, not me.


13 Responses to “Mets Starting Pitcher Depth Chart – Who Are These Guys Really?”

  1. The Coop Says:

    The column was all worth it for the last line here:
    Nelson Figueroa – why bother? Priceless dude. I had an argument with some people who actually thought he was a formidable pitcher (and this was before that sentimental win on the last regular season home game in 2010). He should stick to what he’s good at – playing Guitar hero in the Mets clubhouse. That pic of Jeffy SkillSets is awesome, dude. Anyway, the point is, the Mets pitching staff has more question marks than exclamation points, true. Omar and staff could have done better to at least giving someone who wanted to play here (a Garland, Marquis or Pineiro) a real deal instead of lowballing one or more of them in hopes they go someplace else for more money or more serious offer. These guys won’t be the difference maker but at least you know what you are getting out of them, unlike everyone NOT named Johan Santana on the Mets in 2010. Remember to bring your Pepto to the park!

  2. Bear Man Says:

    Starting pitcher depth? The Mets have NONE! The fact that Fernando Nieve, Josh Fogg and Nelly Figs are even on the list shows how awful the staff could be. I wouldn’t be surprised if Bobby Parnell cracks the rotation again this year, and it won’t be because he earned it.

    In the 1950s, the Braves had the staff of “Spahn and Sain and pray for rain”. The Mets can’t even give us that. All they have is the crappy cover band Johan Santana and The Four Rainouts. At least the lead singer of the band can bring it to the table.

  3. Mack Says:

    I tried to find somewhere on here to send you a private message…

    just a suggestion…

    the last thing the world needs is another negative Mets blog.

    Consider saying something nice once in awhile.

    • dkresh1 Says:

      I hear you Mack, and I see where you are coming from. There are plenty of sites producing nothing but negative spin. I had envisioned being somewhat negative with my posts, but perhaps not completely. The idea was for me to be as objective as possible ultimately. I realize that I am a disgruntled Met fan, and therefore it becomes difficult to sound cheery. Perhaps a bit more focus on some positive aspects of the team might help. Hey, I said a couple of positive things about Santana, Maine and Niese in this post, albeit not completely positive on the latter two. That’s a start anyway.

      • The Coop Says:

        Have another beer, BGWW. Some people need to know when to mind their own beeswax.

      • Mack Says:

        I wrote like a fan for 3 years and then learned that the only way you can take a blog to the next level is to stop writing as a fan. Just a suggestion.


      • The Coop Says:

        Some of us are writing as fans, not getting paid for it. Lighten up.

      • dkresh1 Says:

        Now, now gentleman. Let’s all get along. I do respect Mack and his comments. I think he knows that. It’s all good. Will I stop being a realist (what people may perceive as being negative)? No. I shoot from the hip, and that is just my nature. If things ever make a turn for the better, then I will be the first one showering the Mets with praise.

      • Mack Says:


        First of all, I’m talking to someone else.

        Secondly, I have made a total of $50.00 writing my blog over the past 5 years.


  4. Mack Says:

    disregard what I have said here…

    good luck with your blog


  5. Mack Says:

    Please disregard what I have said here.

    Good luck with your blog.


  6. Mike Says:

    It’s clear to me that this blog has a very specific angle. Therefore, the perceived negativity is going to exist here. No way to push the Wilpons out of Queens without hitting them with some jabs. Nice work, dkresh1!

  7. […] only response to this is…Why?  The Met roster has obvious shortcomings that have been well documented.  Was anyone really measuring that home winning streak, as impressive as it might have been, as a […]

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