My player projections continue with…
Mike Pelfrey, RHSP
Mike Pelfrey is an enigma wrapped in a riddle. He has a live fastball and a darting sinker, but he’s had trouble with his command since he debuted in the major leagues. He’s also shown a lack of confidence in his secondary pitches: His slider, curve, and changeup.
In 2006, the former first-rounder was hurried through the Mets minor league system. He started a combined 18 games at A, AA, and AAA, and got a cup of coffee at the major league level – all during his first professional season. He put up an impressive 1.18 WHIP and 10.2 SO/9 ratio in the minors, but struggled in his 4 major league starts. Since that year, his numbers – in the minors or majors – have never been as good.
His best year came in 2010, when he discovered a split-change, and started the season 10-2. In July, he suddenly dropped off the cliff, going 0-3 with a 10.02 ERA. He recovered in August, posting a 1.82 ERA. Even in his best season, Pelfrey was a roller coaster ride.
He had a down year in 2011, a year in which the Mets counted on him to be their ace in lieu of the injured Johan Santana. His ERA ballooned from 3.66 to 4.74. His fastball appeared to lose some life, and he all but abandoned the split-change he had developed the year before. Most alarmingly, his GB to FB ratio dropped to a career low 0.86 percent.
One thing he continued to do well was eat up innings. Pelf has averaged 195 IP per year during his 4 full seasons in the majors.
However, his overall performance last year doesn’t seem to bode well for 2012, except for one, completely non-scientific fact. Pelfrey pitches well every other year. He’s one of those every-other-year guys. But that pattern will come to an end this year. He’s lost too much off his fastball – four and two seam. His secondary stuff, and most importantly, his command, aren’t good enough to make up for it.
Projection: 8-14, 4.61 ERA, 1.44 WHIP
FanGraphs: 11-11, 4.30 ERA, 1.43 WHIP
Up next: Jon Niese