Tuesday, October 9, 2012
2012 Mets: Same Old Story (Part II)
R.A. Dickey - A+
As if this was ever in doubt. Dickey, perhaps better than anyone else, embodied the spirit of the team. The ultimate underdog, viewed as a castoff, but never quit, never gave up, and eventually was rewarded with a season most pitchers dream about. After a strong finish last season, Dickey started off 2012 on a roll and amazingly only got better. In a string of 5 starts between late May and Mid-June, Dickey was, perhaps, the best pitcher in all of Baseball, allowing 1 unearned run over a stretch that included 3 complete games, 2 shutouts and 2 1-hitters. Moreover, Dickey took an elusive, offbeat pitch and revolutionized it, becoming a master of the Knuckleball in a way that nobody had ever seen. Even on his worst days, Dickey still kept the Mets in games. Dickey's 2.73 ERA was 2nd in the National League, and his 233.2 innings, 230 strikeouts, 5 complete games and 3 shutouts were all League Leading figures. Most importantly, he became the first Mets pitcher in over 20 years, and only the 6th pitcher in Mets history to post a 20-win season. Though he is 37, he's still got plenty of life in Knuckleball years, and should be counted on to anchor the Mets rotation going forward.
Jonathon Niese - B+
Coming into the season, Jonathon Niese was a bit of a question mark. Though he would have occasional solid outings, he never had a really good streak, and his seasons were generally cut short due to injuries of one kind or another. He also tended to fade badly as the season wore on. Talent wasn't the issue, though. The Mets felt highly about Niese, who does have excellent stuff, and in a show of faith gave him a 5-year contract at the beginning of the season. Niese rewarded their faith with his best season to date. Though he did have the same sort of inconsistency for some time in the middle of the season, generally it was simply a bad inning or two spiraling out of control. Niese found his groove in the 2nd half of the season and down the stretch pitched very well, even if he may not have been rewarded with a win for his efforts. The result was that his 190 innings, 155 strikeouts and 13 wins were a career high, and his ERA of 3.40 was a career best. A very solid mid-rotation player going forward.
Johan Santana - A
I don't care. Even if he pitched poorly and once again had his season ended prematurely due to injury, Johan Santana gets an A for life. He has pitched with immense heart and guts from the moment he's arrived here, and this was never more evident than the night he threw the first No Hitter in Mets History.
Chris Young - C+
Young was nothing if not serviceable for the Mets after returning from the same injury Santana had. I'll give him credit for pitching out a majority of the season, though most of the time he pitched to a lot of bad luck, and sometimes just flat out pitched badly. Generally, Young was good for about 5-6 innings, but it usually got pretty dicey from there on out. Finished 4-9, with a 4.15 ERA. He was mostly an afterthought this season and with the ascension of other arms around him probably won't be back.
Dillon Gee - C
The blood clot and subsequent vascular injury that shut Gee down for the season at the All Star break was a blow for him mostly from a development standpoint. Gee, similar to Niese, had a mostly inconsistent first half of the season, but by the All Star break had started to show some improvement. The hope here is that Gee comes back next season and is pushed a bit by the talent around him. Gee has the potential to be a good back of the rotation pitcher, but I'm not sold yet. Finished 6-7 with a 4.10 ERA in his 17 starts.
Jeremy Hefner - C-
Everyone wants to give him credit for coming back from the merciless pounding he took against Philly to pitch well against Pittsburgh and Florida, but, then, it's Pittsburgh and Florida. Consider the competition. Hefner isn't going to be a long term solution, he's just not a good enough pitcher. He may have good outings here and there, but looking over his season, most of his best starts were against bad teams. 4-7, 5.09 ERA isn't going to cut it.
Matt Harvey - A
Rare is the prospect who comes up and is actually better than advertised, but Matt Harvey was better than advertised. Harvey, along with Zach Wheeler, were given close watch all season, but at the start, it was thought that Wheeler had the higher ceiling. Now, that seems to be reversed. Harvey burst on the scene with an 11 strikeout debut and really didn't let up from there, outside of a pair of middling starts against San Francisco and San Diego. Has a fierce competitive spirit and an impassioned aversion to losing, the kind of personality that you rarely see in a young pitcher. 10 starts, 3-5 with a 2.73 ERA and 70 strikeouts in 59.1 innings. The record probably should have been better but for some good outings where he got no run support. He'll be fun to watch going forward.
Can't really give him a grade because he only made 3 starts before getting sidelined with an elbow injury. He'd started well, with a 2.29 ERA, but Pelfrey was generally hard to figure out. By the end of the season, Pelfrey was a forgotten man and there's a very good chance that he's pitched his last game for the Mets.
Collin McHugh - D
Collin McHugh came up and had a brilliant outing against a miserable Rockies team in a game the Mets managed to lose 1-0. Everyone had a collective orgasm over him, overlooking the fact that he shut down a team that had started a AAA lineup. Ultimately, against stiffer competition, and even against some lesser teams, McHugh would be exposed. Terry Collins likened him to Dillon Gee, but at least Gee showed the ability to get hitters out on a consistent basis, something that may be beyond McHugh's realm. 0-4, 7.59 ERA in 8 games and 4 starts, and after striking out 9 in his debut, he didn't even manage 9 strikeouts over the remainder of the season, finishing with 17 Ks.
Miguel Batista - D
Yawn city. Somehow Batista got into 30 games and made 5 starts for the Mets this season before being released. Did nothing of any general regard except proving he could still make the major league roster of an overmatched team at age 41.
Chris Schwinden - F
Of all the pitchers the Mets used this season, few were as devoid of Major League talent as Chris Schwinden. If Schwinden was awful in his first start, his second was comically bad and led to his merciful release with an ERA of 12.46. But that wasn't bad enough. Schwinden somehow managed to bounce in between the Blue Jays system, the Mariners system and the Yankees system before mysteriously finding himself back in the Mets system by season's end, which is clearly an indictment on the Mets, because if they didn't want him, and 3 other teams didn't even give him a month to stick, what made anyone think he'd be worth bringing back? At least he wasn't given another start.
Jenrry Mejia - C
Acquitted himself reasonably well in 3 starts after basically having two years of development wasted, first by Omar Minaya and second by Tommy John surgery. He has starter-quality stuff which he needs to harness; right now, control seems to be an issue for him. He works too many deep counts and this limits his ability to go deep into games. He could posit as a future closer-type, but apparently he'd prefer to start. If this doesn't work, I figure the Mets will find a role for him somewhere.
Frank Francisco - C+
Saved 23 games, after basically landing in the closer role by process of elimination, so I'll give him some credit for that, but often suffered from a case of Benitez-itis, which led to his ugly 5.53 ERA. Also had multiple DL stints, so durability proved an issue for him. He's not a solution at closer, this season proved him a stopgap at best. Signed through next season, but if there's a better option somewhere, the Mets should probably take it and let Francisco set up.
Bobby Parnell - B-
I really can't decide whether I like Bobby Parnell enough to keep him around, or I can't stand him and want the Mets to get rid of him. Oddly, because he pitched reasonably well this season, posting 61 Ks in 68.2 innings, with a 2.49 ERA and 7 saves, and because he throws in the high 90s, he's one of the few Mets with some decent trade value. He did show improvement this season, though. After many years of just simply throwing hard and routinely getting creamed, Parnell managed to mix his pitches a bit better, which is probably one of the reasons he had some success this year. Next year will tell us a lot, whether he's pitching here or not.
Ramon Ramirez - F
After some solid seasons in San Francisco, Ramirez came here and was generally lousy. Pitched to a 4.24 ERA and a WHIP of 1.4, often had major control problems and also missed time with injuries. Relievers like him are a dime a dozen and the Mets could easily find someone better.
Jon Rauch - B-
Ran hot and cold a lot this season. Pitched to a reasonably good 3.59 ERA but his 3-7 record was indicative of a number of outings where he came in and got bombed. Walked only 12 in his 57 innings, though, so his problem likely stemmed from being too much in the strike zone. If nothing else, you like a reliever who won't come in and walk tons of guys, so that should tilt things in his favor going forward.
Tim Byrdak - C
Typical lefty specialist. Pitched miserably in other situations where he wasn't just facing lefties. Also a miserable 18 walks in just 30 IP this season, but generally pitched to some decent luck, finishing with an ERA of 4.40 before going down with an injury of which type I cannot recall.
Manny Acosta - F
Baffled as to why the Mets have kept him around for 3 seasons now, because he's basically Chris Schwinden with better stuff. Thing is, Acosta's supposed "great stuff" is accompanied by mechanics so bad that it basically appears that Acosta just runs out to the mound, rears back and heaves the ball to the plate as hard as he can, and his ERA of 6.46 is indicative of this. He was DFAd and nobody would take him. Somewhere, some stathead is going to point out his 46 Ks in 47 IP and say I should keep my mouth shut but I'm not fooled. Any hard thrower can strike guys out. The idea is to mix in other outs, not loads of hits and runs.
Josh Edgin - C
I'm inclined to think, though his performances were up and down, that Edgin can improve, probably with some time and experience in the Majors. Since he's a lefty, he's probably going to be buried with the "lefty specialist" tag, but I think he might actually be good enough to be a crossover guy in the Pedro Feliciano mold. Burned twice badly by Ryan Howard at the end which probably left a bad taste in his mouth. 30 Ks in 25 innings, 4.56 ERA in 25 games. Let's see what happens next year.
Elvin Ramirez - C-
Another of the Pu Pu platter that got shuffled between AAA and the Majors multiple times. Did nothing of particular distinction. 21IP, 22K, 5.48 ERA
Lefty Specialist without the Pizza.
Lefty Pizza without the Specialist.
Prospect who didn't show a great deal in his 8 games. Only 22 but still needs to harness his stuff. Similar mold to Mejia, could pose as a reliever going forward. Unlike Mejia, actually open to relieving.
Pitched just bad enough to be able to net the Mets Kelly Shoppach.
D.J. Carrasco - F
Embarrassingly bad, hotheaded punk, mercifully released before he got David Wright killed.
1 game, .2 inning, 0.00 ERA. Never pitched again and I'm not quite sure why if he got people out.
1 game, .1 inning, 108 ERA. Never pitched again and I'm quite certain he wasn't missed.
Rob Johnson - !
Pitched the 8th inning of a blowout loss in Toronto. Somehow I blinked and missed this completely, but he threw a 1-2-3 inning and even got a strikeout, which is actually better than Garrett Olson was able to muster.
And one more for good measure,
Terry Collins - B-
It's difficult to grade Collins, honestly, but I'm going to try. The problem is that he was only able to be as good as the pieces he had, and he squeezed a maximum effort out of them for half a season for the second year in a row. Ultimately, that's not good enough. Down the stretch, the Mets were so bad that it appeared they'd simply quit on him and whatever he was preaching about fundamentals and smart, heady play, something they did so well in the 1st half, seemed to just get thrown out the window. Fortunately, the Mets pulled themselves out of it at the end, but by then the damage had been done. Collins will be back in 2013 and hopefully the team he's got will be better. But if the result ends up the same, and if Collins is going to get so much credit for the success, he's going to have to start taking some heat for the failure. Next year will tell us a lot about Collins going forward. The hope is that maybe if this happens again, he'll go apeshit and flip a table in the clubhouse or something. We'll see.