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First Half Grades - Starting Rotation

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Pedro Martinez (A) - What can you say about Pedro Martinez? He's been one of the few best pitchers in the National League so far this year. Here's where he ranks in prominent pitching categories:

5th in ERA at 2.72 (Clemens, 1.48)
5th in IP at 129.0 (Oswalt, 135.2)
1st in SO at 138
2nd in K/BB at 5.75 (Vazquez, 6.88)
2nd in K/9 at 9.83 (Peavy, 9.99)
1st in P/IP at 13.9
1st in WHIP at 0.84
1st in DIPS ERA at 2.56 (defense-independent ERA)
1st in CERA at 1.51 (component ERA; derived from hits and walks instead of runs allowed)

Tom Glavine (C-) - What can you say about Tom Glavine? He's a first-ballot Hall-of-Famer, but he's not helping his legacy any with the way he has pitched for the Mets. For a control pitcher he walks way too many batters, and doesn't record nearly enough strikeouts to compensate for the free passes. He has allowed less than a hit per inning over the course of his career, but that has ballooned to 1.34 H/IP (137 H in 102 IP) this season. If the Mets can find another team to take him at the deadline for anything, even if the Mets have to pay his whole salary this year, Omar Minaya should jump at it. The guy is an on-the-field cancer to this team, and I can't bear to watch whenever he pitches. He can't leave this team soon enough.

Kris Benson (B+) - After missing all of April, Kris Benson has pitched well for the Mets thus far in 2005. His ERA is 3.65, and he has kept the Mets in all but one or two of his starts. It remains to be seen whether Benson will be able to continue his success into the second half of the season. As has been mentioned on numerous Mets broadcasts this season that Benson isn't striking a lot of batters out. His K/9 is 5.09, which is well below the National League average of 6.52. He has kept the walks down, issuing only 2.43 per nine innings, compared to the league average of 3.33. If he can get the strikeouts up a bit I think he'll have a much better chance of keeping that ERA steady as the season rolls on.

Victor Zambrano (B+) - A strong first half from Victor Zambrano has made Mets fans forget, at least a tiny bit, about Scott Kazmir. What is most encouraging about Zambrano is his consistent improvement since the start of the season:

         ERA    IP/GS    BB/9
April   5.81     5.3     5.81
May     3.52     5.8     6.65
June    2.48     6.4     3.58
July    2.25     8.0     1.69
He has only made two starts in July, but you get the idea. He is walking fewer batters, and as a result he is pitching deeper into ballgames and his ERA is going down. He isn't striking out batters with the prolificacy of prior years, but the results have nonetheless been outstanding.

Kaz Ishii (D) - [insert open-ended rant about Ishii's uselessness and the inexplicability of his continued presence in the rotation despite the ubiquity of more capable arms in the bullpen, Norfolk, etc.]