Pelfrey Looks Strong

In grapefruit league action yesterday, 18-year-old shortstop Ruben “don’t call me Miguel” Tejada blasted a double in the gap to score Michel Abreu with the winning run in the tenth inning to beat the Braves 3-2.

Ramon Castro had two hits including a standup triple. Had Jose Reyes hit the ball, he might have rounded the bases twice.

Though Castro’s first triple since little league was the big news of the day, it should also be noted that Mike Pelfrey threw three strong, scoreless innings at the beginning of the game, allowing only two hits and no walks, striking out none.

It was an encouraging outing by Pelfrey, and a good confidence builder. What I liked to see was that he was aggressive, throwing strikes early in the count and relying heavily on his sinking fastball. But the pessimist in me had one problem with the outing: still no offspeed pitch. I saw several sliders but only one or two changeups (one thrown for a strike). For Pelfrey to succeed as a Major League starter, he has to change speeds.

Of course, it’s still early — he can build off this performance. Hopefully, we’ll see his confidence and aggressiveness continue to develop through the spring, and eventually we’ll see more slowballs. With El Duque out until who knows when, he has a golden opportunity to win the #5 spot in the rotation.

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. isuzudude March 4, 2008 at 10:19 am
    I caught the encore showing of the game on SNY last night. Despite a lack of strikeouts, Pelfrey looked sharp and very confident on the mound. Got ahead on a lot of hitters, sawed off a couple bats, and got plenty of groundballs. Pelfrey has said he wants to get back to using his fastball this year, which he thought he got away from last year while with the Mets, and thus could be the result of his lack of offspeed pitches yesterday. However, I agree, throwing only 2 offspeed pitches over 3 innings is going to get Big Mike in trouble sometime in the future.

    I was very impressed by all the Mets consequent relief pitchers, especially Figueroa, Vargas, and Rincon. If this stretch of hot pitching continues, Omar and Willie are going to have a lot of tough choices come late March. F-Mart continues to impress at the plate. A 1 for 4 line in the boxscore doesn’t look all that impressive, but he hit several frozen ropes for outs, and came out of nowhere for a nice diving catch in RF in the top of the 10th, I believe. I really like this Dan Murphy kid, too. Good plate coverage, uses all fields, good glove. Too bad he’s a 3B, tho. He’ll either need to learn a new position (1B, 2B?) or he’s going to be nothing more than trade fodder in the eyes of the Mets.

    Oh, and the slide by Michel Abreu at the end of the game was tremendous. Shows he’s a pretty heady player, although I was shocked to see him go for home with the ball already relayed to the IF. Joe, as a catcher, tell me if I’m right to criticize the Braves’ catcher for failing to block the plate on the play. It seemed to me he was 5 feet out in front of the plate, not even expecting the throw to come to him. Tisk tisk on the relay man for getting the ball home slowly, too. Interesting way to end the game, tho, and kudos to the umpire for getting the call right. We tend to forget this is their spring training, too, and are apt to more bad calls now than during the season.

  2. joe March 4, 2008 at 10:21 pm
    Well yes the catcher should have been closer to the plate. However, to be fair, I think he was not expecting Abreu to be rounding third, and was standing out in front of the plate shouting direction to the cutoff man. It looked to me like both the cutoff man and the catcher were shocked to find Abreu rushing in to the plate.
  3. Mets Game 14: Win Over Cubs : Mets Today April 21, 2010 at 7:55 am
    […] Not to pat myself on the back, but I’ve been clamoring for Pelfrey to develop a change of pace of some sort since 2007. If you follow those links and read those posts, you won’t need to […]