I’ve seen it said at times that the difference this season so far compared to last is R.A. Dickey. I want to try and make a case that the difference is more having to do with Santana being back. To make the case I am only going to look at the Mets 1st 77 games in 2012 & 2011.
If you look at the Mets 1st 77 games in 2012 it shows they had a record of 41-36. The bulk of those starts went to Dickey, Gee, Niese and Santana in which the Mets record in games they started was 34-26. The remaining of the starts went to Young, Batista, Hefner, Pelfrey and Schwinden in which the Mets record in games they started was 7-10.
Now of all these starters the one with the biggest win/loss differential in games he started is Dickey. The Mets are 12-3 in his 15 starts so this is why you often see it said that Dickey is the difference but here is why I say it is not.
In 2011 the Mets got similar production to what Dickey has provided this season out of Young and eventually a Gee (who replaced Young) combination in the rotation after Young went down for the year. Combined the Mets in their starts were a 13-2. Thereby cancelling out sort of speak the 12-3 in games Dickey has started this 2012 season.
If you then look at Niese in 2012 compared to 2011 Niese also cancels himself out sort of speak with the Mets going 9-7 in games he started in 2011 and 8-7 in 2012.
Then if you look at the Mets record in games Santana has started this season the Mets are 8-7. If you compare that to Pelfrey in 2011 the Mets were 5-11 in games Pelfrey started.
The results from games in which Santana has started in 2012 outshines the results from games in which Pelfrey had started in 2011.
I know, not the most definitive case ever made but sometimes people forget the nice run the Mets got from Gee last season. While there is no doubt what Dickey has provided and meant to this team this season. When doing comparisons of the 1st 77 games this year to last I think Santana this season as opposed to Pelfrey last season has been the biggest difference.