Tag: pedro feliciano

Brian Cashman Admits Idiocy

It’s rare that the Yankees do or say something that makes them appear inept. It’s even rarer when the Yanks do or say something that makes the Mets look smart.

But the planets must have aligned with the moons or something this past weekend, because for once, the Yankees looked like fools and the Mets geniuses — perhaps it is a sign of things to come?


Ike Davis: Mets LOOGY?

With Pedro Feliciano moving on to pitch for the Yankees, the Mets have brought in a so-so selection of lefties to audition for his LOOGY spot: Michael O’Connor, Taylor Tankersley, and Tim Byrdak. You might even throw Chris Capuano, Oliver Perez, and Pat Misch into the conversation, as well as minor leaguers Roy Merritt, Eric Nieson, Mark Cohoon, and Robert Carson.

How about Ike Davis?

Crazy, right? But in the deep dark winter, irrational, unrealistic thoughts tend to enter my mind. I’ve even thought my joke post to reverse the game could be considered seriously.

The idea is that Davis would be able to enter an inning on the mound to face one lefthanded hitter, then go to first base when a righty came up, then return later that inning or later in the game to face another lefty. Using Davis as a LOOGY would open up a roster spot, and allow the Mets to set up more lefty-lefty matchups in a game.

Think about it: bringing in a LOOGY to face Ryan Howard and Chase Utley not once a game, but twice — or three times! Or, bringing in a LOOGY, only to have the opposing manager counter with a RH pinch-hitter, and then slipping in a ROOGY to counter-counter — while still keeping your LOOGY available because he’d be moved to 1B.

Of course, there are some issues to work out, such as getting Davis enough warmup pitches prior to the inning in which he’d be used. Oh, and then there’s the small matter of whether he’d be good enough to retire MLB hitters.

But the idea isn’t as far-fetched as it sounds, considering that Davis — son of former late-inning reliever Ron Davis — was a pretty good pitcher in college. He started 12 games in his freshman year at Arizona State, and was an effective reliever in his junior year, winning 4 games, saving 4, striking out 30 batters in 24 innings, and posting a 0.88 WHIP. Those numbers are nothing to sneeze at, as they were put up in the always-tough PAC-10 Conference. Davis was originally recruited as a DH / pitcher by ASU, and was used in the outfield because of his rifle arm. In fact, the reason he is a first baseman is because he was put there by ASU to keep his arm fresh for closing games. Here is a snippet from a Baseball America scouting report from 2005, written during his senior year in high school and prior to the June draft:

Davis had realistic expectations of going in the first round, both as a pitcher and hitter coming into the year, but he had a disappointing spring, in both roles, as Chaparral won a third straight state title. While he has excellent bat speed and continued to hit for average (.447), he drove balls only in spurts, which magnified his lack of speed and athletic ability. His velocity also slipped. It settled into the high 80s this spring after being 87-91 and touching 92 in the past. But he still gets exceptional movement from a three-quarters angle. Scouts are split on where to play Davis, but most see greater upside on the mound. His father, on the other hand, wants him to be an everyday player. The debate could benefit Arizona State, which recruited him to play both ways and has penciled him in as its starting first baseman for 2006.

I didn’t see him pitch at ASU, so have no idea whether he had big-league stuff. From what I’ve heard, he threw at least in the low 90s during his junior year, but don’t know what he did for secondary stuff. If he threw in the mid- to high-90s, he wouldn’t necessarily need other pitches in a LOOGY role (but then, he likely wouldn’t have been drafted as a first baseman, either).

It’s been only a little over two years since Ike Davis last pitched competitively, so he wouldn’t have too much rust to shake off. Why not put him on the mound and see what he can do? If he can find the plate with his fastball and mix in a slider, he’ll have enough to be a LOOGY. In spring training, have him spend about 15 minutes to a half-hour a day throwing off a mound under the close watch of Dan Warthen. What’s the worst that can happen?

Hat tip to Murph, who inspired this post by his comment over the weekend.


2010 Analysis: Raul Valdes

Every time I saw Raul Valdes take the mound, I thought, “how is this guy in the Major Leagues?” His delivery resembles that of a high school shortstop who is thrown into a pitching role because the team has run out of pitchers, and his stuff is marginal at best.

For a while, Valdes seemed to get by – if you judge him by his 1.86 ERA in April. That number is deceiving, however, since during his 9 innings of work in the initial month, he allowed 9 hits (including a homer) and 3 walks, and blew two save opportunities. But something about Valdes (perhaps his smile?) enamored the Mets’ coaching staff, and he hung around for most of the year, finishing with a 4.91 ERA and 1.47 WHIP through 38 games and 58 IP. His one positive was an ability to get batters to swing and miss – he struck out 56 in those 58 innings. However, I will go on a limb and say that was more due to batters not seeing him before rather than advanced ability.

2011 Projection

The Mets have already dropped Valdes from their roster, and I don’t see him returning to the organization in 2011. Although the Mets have already lost Hisanori Takahashi, and likely will lose Pedro Feliciano this winter, I don’t see them adding him as a lefty specialist – mainly because he was ineffective against lefthanded hitters (who hit .330 with a .991 OPS against him). He is a nice enough guy and definitely a team player who will fill any role asked of him, but he’s simply not very good.


2010 Analysis: Pedro Feliciano

For the third consecutive season, Pedro Feliciano set a new Mets record for appearances by a pitcher, while leading the league in the same category. “Everyday Pedro” was exactly that, taking the ball 92 times – including a whopping 23 appearances in September / October. The modern-day Iron Joe McGinnity pitched without rest (i.e., back-to-back days) an incredible 43 times. Manager Jerry Manuel and pitching coach Dan Warthen both insisted that such use did not affect Feliciano’s performance, and didn’t physically harm him. Maybe not.

One stat proving their point was the number of homeruns he allowed – only one. Quite an accomplishment, especially considering he allowed 7 gopher balls in each of the previous seasons. Pedro also induced 10 double plays – which was, um, double what he did in 2009. But, his WHIP swelled to 1.53 (after a 1.16 posting in ’09) and his effectiveness was uneven – dropping off significantly in July and August. Those who look at stats in more depth will point out that opposing hitters’ BABIP of .351 as an indication that Pedro suffered from bad luck. Maybe … or, maybe batters were getting better pitches to hit than they did in the past.

Overall, his numbers weren’t terrible, and in fact he was quite good in stretches – not unlike a streaky hitter. It could be argued that Felciano’s drop in performance (if indeed there was one) was due as much to overuse as it was to his ever-changing role.

2011 Projection

Regardless of how you judge Feliciano’s season, the bottom line is that he continues to be one of the premier LOOGYs in MLB. The question is, what is that worth to a Mets club that is unlikely to sniff the postseason in 2011? Feliciano turned 34 in August, and isn’t likely to vastly improve any part of his game. He “is what he is”, which is a valuable asset to a championship club in need of one final bullpen piece. This winter he hits the open market as a free-agent, and it’s going to be hard for the Mets to justify spending more than the $2.9M he earned in 2010, and/or offering him beyond a one-year deal. As much as I have enjoyed my daily dose of Pedro over the past five years, it seems apparent that he’ll be wearing an opponent’s uniform in 2011.

Click here to read the 2009 Analysis of Pedro Feliciano


Mets Game 158: Loss to Brewers

Brewers 3 Mets 1

It can be very tough to win the second game of a doubleheader after losing the first game in the late innings. And the Mets aren’t very tough.

The Brewers rolled with the momentum built from their come-from-behind victory earlier in the evening by beating the Mets a second time. Not much else to say, other than, thank goodness we have only four more games to suffer through.

Game Notes

As usual, R.A. Dickey gave the Mets a chance to win. He allowed one earned run on 6 hits in 7 full innings of work — only to leave the game with a no-decision. Once again, no walks from the knuckleballer; no small feat for throwing a pitch that is controlled by the wind rather than the man.

Carlos Gomez went 3-for-4. Oh wait, he’s not on the Mets any more. I still like watching him run around.

Jose Reyes and Angel Pagan had two hits apiece at the top of the lineup, and Pagan stole his 37th base. So they set the table well. Only problem was, the only other Met with a hit was — you guessed it — R.A. Dickey. Maybe Dickey should get a start in left field in one of these final games.

In typical bullpen (mis)management, Pedro Feliciano appeared in both games of the doubleheader, and allowed 3 runs on one hit and 2 walks on the day, pitching a total of one-third of an inning. However, he did extend his own franchise record by entering his 90th and 91st ballgames. Only submariner Kent Tekulve, kinesiologist Mike Marshall, and Salomon Torres have appeared in more MLB games in one season than Feliciano.

Next Mets Game

The final game of this much-anticipated four-game set takes place at 7:10 PM on Thursday night. Dillon Gee goes against Chris Narveson.


Mets Game 93: Loss to Diamondbacks

Diamondbacks 13 Mets 2

Much was made of the fact that for the first time in over a year, the Mets’ lineup was as intended — in other words, intact with all the planned regulars healthy.

Unfortunately, it didn’t matter.

Mike Pelfrey was the one of the top three or four pitchers in baseball through June 25th. Since then, he has been one of the three or four worst in baseball — and that includes PONY leagues. Big Pelf dug a big hole early and the Mets never had a chance to climb out. It took him 51 pitches to get out of the first inning, and he left before finishing the second. By the time he hit the showers, his line looked like this: 1 1/3 IP, 6 ER, 7 H, 2 BB, 1 K. Ouch.

Unfortunately for the Mets, the next arms brought in provided no relief. Raul Valdes helped Pelfrey increase his ERA by allowing an inherited runner to score, and Fernando Nieve allowed 5 runs on 5 hits in the 6th inning. So even if the offense showed any sign of life, it probably would not have made a difference.

Game Notes

If you read my post on Pelfrey’s minor mechanical issue, you may have noticed during this game that he was hunching over fairly often — which in turn wreaked havoc with his arm angle, release point, and command. Just as significant, his body language was negative; he looked lost and lacking in confidence. In some ways, he reminded me of bad outings by Ron Darling back in the mid-1980s, when Darling used to think too much on the mound. Pelfrey was thinking about something, and to me it looked like he was filling his mind with negative thoughts. When mechanical issues are combined with psychological issues, bad things happen. Success generally breeds confidence, which in turn follows with more success — but in Pelfrey’s case, that hasn’t happened. I wonder if he’s one of those self-sabotaging types who fear success?

The Mets scored once, in the fifth inning, after pinch-hitter extraordinaire Josh Thole walked, advanced to second on a wild pitch, and scored on a blistering line drive off the bat of Angel Pagan.

David Wright went 2-for-3 with a double. Did anyone notice? I didn’t.

Though “the plan” was to have a four-man outfield rotation, Jerry Manuel nixed that by announcing that Pagan would play every day. That was the best news of the day.

Speaking of, whatever happened to the idea of “easing” Carlos Beltran back into everyday duty? Wasn’t he supposed to play one day, sit the next, play two in a row, sit one, etc. ? Yes, he did get the day off on Sunday … but I don’t remember the plan being three days on, one day off. Not that it matters, and I’m sure the Mets know what they’re doing.

While we’re on the subject of players returning from the DL, Luis Castillo returned to the roster and started at 2B. He punched two of the Mets’ 8 hits and scored half their runs. His legs looked fairly healthy running the bases.

Jose Reyes returned to the lineup as well, and looked good offensively but lost and rusty on defense. He made a terrible throw on an attempted DP turn and completely missed a perfect throw to 2B by Rod Barajas on an attempted steal.

Pedro Feliciano continues to look bad, as he allowed 2 runs on 4 hits and a walk in the eighth inning. He threw the entire inning and expended 36 pitches. Yet, Jerry Manuel keeps telling us that Feliciano can pitch every day because he’s a “situational” guy and doesn’t face many guys nor throw many pitches. Did you know Feliciano has thrown 109 pitches so far in July? That’s kind of a lot for someone who is supposed to be a “LOOGY”. (For comparison, Cardinals LOOGY Trever Miller has thrown 38 pitches this month, threw 133 total in June and 118 in May.) But I’m sure overuse has nothing to do with Feliciano’s drop in effectiveness — he’s probably just not throwing the right pitches at the right times, as Manuel explained the other day.

Next Mets Game

The Mets play again in Arizona on Tuesday night at 9:40 PM EST. R.A. Dickey faces Barry Enright.


Fantasy Baseball, Pedro Feliciano and Jerry Being Jerry

Photo: NJ.com

It sounds like Pedro Feliciano might be the new setup man for the Mets, at least according to Rotoworld. The fantasy baseball site is basing their information on an article by Andy McCullough in the Newark Star-Ledger.

I can’t find anything in the Star-Ledger article to back this up. Here’s the best I can come up with:

But with Mets manager Jerry Manuel rummaging through the bullpen for an eighth-inning answer, Feliciano has faced more righties than lefties this year. Both Fernando Nieve and Ryota Igarashi flamed out. So Manuel says Feliciano leads the team’s set-up committee alongside 39-year-old journeyman Elmer Dessens.

So will Feliciano retain his niche as the team’s left-handed specialist? Or does the team need him to set the table for closer Francisco Rodriguez?

“I know he wants it,” Rodriguez said. “He wants that job. He’s working so hard to establish himself in the set-up role.”

Feliciano led all of baseball in appearances these past two seasons – 88 in 2009 and 86 in 2008. After a clean eighth inning on Saturday, he notched his 37th appearance and extended his lead for this year’s title.

“There’s a ton of value,” assistant general manager John Ricco said, “for a guy like that – especially the way he can get lefties out – in our division.”

When I read that article, it seems like the Mets haven’t yet found an 8th-inning guy. In other words, it is still bullpen-by-committee. That’s fine, the committee has been working and Feliciano is a big part of that. But let’s not assume the Mets have figured out their bullpen situation for the long term.

Don’t discount RotoWorld because it is a fantasy baseball site. It is usually a great place to find out what’s really going on with injuries, bullpen roles and playing time controversies – they have a way of cutting through the media reports and PR spin from MLB teams. But in this case, I think they’ve fallen victim to Jerry being Jerry. To think the Mets have a hard and fast plan that they can stick to in the 8th inning is a bit presumptuous, until it is demonstrated in game situations, over a period of time.

If we believe every idea floated by Jerry Manuel, then Carlos Beltran will be the DH this weekend…

Read the article yourself and share your conclusions in the comments section.