Monday, January 28, 2008

Pedro's Small Stature and Fragility = Key to 2008 Mets Success?

This is quite possibly one of the best ideas I've heard in a while. Tim Marchman suggests that the Mets would be better off using a 6-man rotation (at least to start the season). Thanks to Repoz for the link.
Maine and Perez both perform better on long rest, El Duque cannot make more than 25 or so starts in a season, and Martinez will presumably need extra rest; but none of this need be a problem. Assuming the Mets sign Livan Hernandez, they could put Pelfrey, Humber, or even Aaron Heilman a clear shot at a job by running a six-man rotation for a month or two at the beginning of the season, saving their best pitchers' arms for the stretch. Something like this could turn a weakness into a strength.
While the argument is strong, I doubt the Mets would ever entertain the idea. It's true that Pedro was kept on 5 days rest throughout September last season (if I remember correctly), but that was more a product of not over extending him and keeping him fresh for that oh so magical 2007 playoff run.

And while any Met fan will tell you that it appeared as if Maine and Perez tired down the stretch, the numbers back it up. Here were John Maine's ERA numbers by month:

Mar/Apr: 1.35
May: 4.50
June: 2.66
July: 3.56
August: 6.32
Sept/Oct: 5.93

1st Half: 2.71
2nd Half: 5.53

Remember that September/October had the near no-no in there as well.

Now, Maine's BABIP rose to .318 in the 2nd half from .253 in the first, but that could just as easily be the result of him leaving pitches up/losing velocity as it meaning he was unlucky.

Another interesting stat of Maine's is that his ERA in wins was 1.75 and - stunningly - his ERA in losses was 8.75. Compare that to a 4.02 mark in NDs and it seems to back up the fact that when things aren't going well Maine loses focus (i.e. mentally implodes).

Oliver Perez's numbers over the same period are as follows:

Mar/Apr: 3.86
May: 2.01
June: 4.06
July: 1.40
August: 5.19
Sept/Oct: 4.45

1st Half: 3.14
2nd Half: 4.04

Ollie's 2nd half numbers are skewed by his outstanding July, but his numbers also ballooned in August and September as compared to the rest of his season. Even more telling, his BABIP also skyrocketed from .240 in the 1st half to .312 in the 2nd.

In the second half Ollie walked 5 more batters and allowed 7 more hits in 12.1 fewer innings. From a cursory glance at the stats it seems as if his dropoff was simply from not going as deep into games which would make one assume he was throwing more pitches early.

And lo and behold that was exactly the case. Perez went 7 or more innings only twice from Aug. 1st on. Compare that to 9 outings of 7+ innings from Opening Day until July 20th. He was also averaging (roughly off the top of my head) the same number of pitches per start in about an inning less of work during the same period.

The same thing is true for Maine - only it began about a month earlier. Prior to July 5th (when Maine's ERA was 2.71 and he seemed to be a lock for the NL All-Star team) Maine had 9 outings of 7+ innings. After July 5th he had 3.

The empirical data - from a very brief look - backs up what every Met fan witnessed last season. We know the drill with El Duque. He'll miss a month if we're lucky. With Pedro you don't know what you're going to get. The same goes for Mulpelfumber. So, dare I say, what would the problem be with going to a 6 man rotation? Give Pedro and Duque the rest we know they need. Give Maine and Perez the rest that would probably help them be more productive late in the season. And assuming we don't sign Livan, give two of the three headed prospect monster a shot to make the rotation out of spring training.

I'd agree with Marchman, who (I'd assume) thinks this scenario looks better with one rookie and Livan than with two rookies; however, I'm not totally averse to doing it with two rookies either.

Who am I kidding. Bring on Livan, injuries, and another second half collapse!

EDIT: Jerry Crasnick (via MLB Trade Rumors) reports that it will be Kyle Lohse not Livan Hernandez if the Mets fail to acquire Johan Santana. So just go right on ahead and imagine the entire above mentioned scenario with "Kyle Lohse" instead of "Livan Hernandez." Just when you didn't think it could get any does!


Rickey Henderson said...

Please, please, please... Rickey can't bear the thought of Livian as a Met. The offseason can't be that cruel to Metsfans, can it?

MP said...

You pick. Livan or Kyle Lohse. Omar is partial to doofy looking white guys...ehh latinos though. We will see.