A Baseball Team Analysis: New York Mets Part 2

A Position by Position Breakdown of the 2007 Season

By Peter Schiller

Starting Pitchers:

Second year pitcher John Maine might not have been the Met’s first choice as the Ace of their staff, but despite his decline in the second half of 2007, his numbers dictate that he was at least in the running. Maine’s VORP was the highest among the Mets starters at 33.3 as he compiled a 15-10 record (tied for the team lead with Oliver Perez) and with a 3.91 ERA 180 Ks and a WHIP of 1.27 while throwing 191 innings. If it wasn’t for the injury to Pedro Martinez that kept him out for most of the year (which was expected), Martinez would have easily been the team’s ace & should be for 2008 if his arm and shoulder comply.

Right beside Maine was Oliver Perez who had a matching W/L record to go with a VORP of 24 (4th out of the Mets starting rotation) an ERA of 3.56 which was best on the team outside of Martinez’s 6 outings. Perez also struck out 174 batters, had a WHIP of 1.31 while hurling 177 innings.

Next on the team in wins was the crafty old veteran and ultimate class act, Tom Glavine (13-8) who just inked a 1-year deal (probably his last) with the rival Atlanta Braves. Glavine threw more innings than any other Met with 201. He had an uncharacteristically high ERA of 4.45 and WHIP with 1.41, but did lead the rotation with the best double play percentage at 15.5%. His departure leaves a hole in the Mets rotation for 2008.

Orlando “El Duque” Hernandez, who underwent successful surgery on his right foot on October 19th should be ready for action come spring training. In 2007, El Duque went 9-5 with a 3.72 ERA in only 149.1 innings due to his injured foot. He has the lowest WHIP in the rotation at 1.17 and a VORP of 31.7 (second in the rotation).

One of the biggest reasons why the Mets were in 1st place for as long as they were, had a lot to do with the pitching of Jorge Sosa. Sosa is a relief pitcher who became a spot starter, then went back into the bullpen. He had 14 starts that contributed to a 9-8 record, an ERA of 4.47 (which was lowered upon his return to the pen) and threw 114.1 innings (81 innings as a starter). Sosa had a respectable WHIP of 1.33 and played a major role setting up the closer towards the end of the season. He did whatever seemed to be asked of him & that is a very important intangible that makes him invaluable on this Mets pitching staff.

Then enter rookie Mike Pelfrey who compiled a record of 3-8 with an ERA of 5.57 and a painful WHIP of 1.71 in 13 starts before he was yanked from the rotation. A much improved 2008 season for Pelfrey, one that starts with an impressive spring training, would be just what the doctor ordered for this staff after loosing Glavine and barring any acquisition the Mets might make between now and opening day!

Last, but definitely not least, the Mets need Pedro Martinez to regain some form of his ability to pitch like he did in Boston. What has to be pleasing to both Martinez and the Mets alike is how well he pitched when he did return in 2007. In 5 starts, Martinez averaged just over 5 innings per start, but went 3-1 with only 1 no decision. He was impressive with a 2.57 ERA, 32 Ks in only 28 innings, but did have a surprising 1.43 WHIP which is very unPedro-like as was the hits per 9 innings total of 10.61 which ranked as the highest in the rotation surpassing that of even Mike Pelfrey.  Bottom line: the Mets need Martinez to get at least 16-18 wins or else get someone else in there that will or they may find themselves in 2nd or even 3rd place in 2008.

The Bullpen:

The Mets closer for 2007 was Billy Wagner who threw 69 innings gathering 34 saves (5 blown saves) with an ERA of 2.63 a WHIP of 1.13 while striking out 80 for a ratio per 9 innings (SO9) of 10.54 (best in the Mets pen) and a VORP of 22.2. Wagner started to show some wear at the end of the year and probably needs to change his off season workout regime in order to be more durable throughout all 162 games in 2008. If not, look for the Mets to repeat their 2007 free-fall from 1st place again. That is, if they get that far. This off season will be a big factor in who will better position themselves to top the NL East.

Aaron Heilman and the other “Pedro”, Pedro Feliciano closed up the gap to get to Wagner. Heilman had 22 Holds with 1 save, but 5 blown saves while putting up good numbers with an ERA of 3.03 over 86 innings, a WHIP of 1.07, and a respectable VORP for a reliever of 19.4. Feliciano, had 18 Holds, 2 saves and 2 blown saves. In 64 innings he K’d 61 batters and had a respectable ERA of 3.09 and a WHIP of 1.22.

Ex-starter Aaron Sele, once a bright young pitcher for Boston, showed why he is no longer a major league starter with his 2007 performance. Sele had an ERA of 5.37 to go along with a painful WHIP of 1.84, but did achieve the best double play percentage in the Mets bullpen with a rate of 21% (7% above anyone else in the Mets pen).

Another arm that did not pan out for the Mets was lefty reliever Scott Schoeneweis. In 59 innings he had an ERA of 5.03 and a WHIP of 1.53 to go along with 11 Holds, 2 saves and only 1 blown save. Again, these are not terrible numbers, but they are also not what you’d expect from Schoeneweis.

Guillermo Mota had to be disappointing with an ERA of 5.76 with 3 blown saves and only 6 Holds. Again his 1.37 WHIP isn’t terrible, but more was expected out of him.

Rookie Joseph Smith had a good 1st year going 4-3 in 45 innings with an impressive 3.45 ERA and 10 Holds without a single blown save. Sele and Ambiorix Burgos were the only two in the Mets bullpen that could make that same claim. Smith’s WHIP was high (1.56), but that might go down with experience and he also struck out 45 (1 per inning).

Overall, the Mets bullpen has the experience to bounce back & collectively, put up better numbers than they did in 2007. This would take some of the pressure off the younger guys in the rotation. If they can get younger on the offensive side of the ball, then the Mets can cause some major trouble in the NL East in 2008.

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