Midseason Analysis: Orlando Hernandez

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First-half Analysis

For the majority of his starts, El Duque has been brilliant, mixing speeds and pitches and arm angles with great success in keeping batters guessing and off-balance. On occasion he’s had forgettable outings — usually tied directly to the sharpness of his bread-and-butter overhand curve.

Second-half Outlook

As is always the question with Orlando Hernandez — can he stay healthy? He’s pitching above and beyond what anyone expected this year, but we’d be fine with a level lower if we knew he’d take his turn every five days. Let’s face it, he was brought on this team to win in the postseason, and anything he can give beyond a .500 record in the regular season is gravy.

While the Mets will need him to solidify a spot in the starting rotation in the second half — especially considering the ailments of Oliver Perez and Jorge Sosa, the main concern is to make sure he’s healthy in September and beyond, when the games may be most meaningful. That’s the stage where El Duque shines and prospers. In other words, no more jogging in the outfield.

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.