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New York Mets: First Half Gradebook: Pitchers

Be sure to check out the Infielders Gradebook and the Outfielders Gradebook.

=> The Rotation

Tom Glavine C- With Pedro Martinez on the shelf for at least the first four or five months of the season, the Mets looked to Glavine to anchor the rotation. Nobody expected him to pitch like Pedro Martinez, but something like the 2006 version of Glavine would have been fantastic. That didn't happen. Nor did anything resembling that happen. Glavine has the highest ERA of any Met pitcher with at least ten starts. His strikeout rate (4.12) and walk rate (3.11) are both the worst they have been since his first year as a Met in 2003. His homerun rate (1.09) is the highest of his career. His groundball rate, typically low and helpful at keeping his ERA low, is just 1.08, by far his worst mark as a Met. In short, he was looked upon as a stopper when the season began and he has been worse than Jorge Sosa. He has just seven wins in thirteen decisions this season and he has no one to blame but himself.
Orlando Hernandez B+ El Duque has been everything the Mets hoped they were getting with Tom Glavine. He has struggled against lefties, but his dominance against righties has more than made up for it. He missed some time due to injury because, you know, he's really old, but when he's been on the mound there has been very little to complain about. His strikeout rate has dropped significantly from last season, but at 7.01 per nine innings it is still safely above the National League average of 6.59. He has had some trouble with the longball, but he's an extreme flyball pitcher and homeruns are just one of the caveats.
John Maine A His 2.71 ERA is fourth in the National League, and he really seems to have improved as a pitcher since the second half of last year. He has a better idea of how to get hitters out, and the last month and a half or so have turned up substantially improved walk rates. Like Hernandez, Maine is also an extreme flyball pitcher, but Maine has done a much better job of keeping the ball in the park.
Oliver Perez A- Seemed to lose a bit of his command during the month or so prior to landing on the disabled list, but his ERA is still 9th in the league, his K/9 is 7th and his WHIP is 6th. There is plenty to like here, loads of talent, and it's still difficult to believe that a well-run organization would give up on him. Oh.
Jorge Sosa B His peripherals have yet to support his ERA, which was sterling for a while but gradually eroded before he found himself on the disabled list after awkwardly running out a grounder in Philly a few weeks ago. He has been better than Glavine and miles ahead of Mike Pelfrey and, considering what I thought he would do, his performance in the fifth rotation spot has been nothing short of extraordinary.
Mike Pelfrey D- The Mets' top pitching prospect coming into this season has done nothing but disappoint when given the opportunity to pitch in the big leagues. No one is about to give up on the kid, but it would just be nice to see some of his minor league dominance translate into at least major league mediocrity.

=> The Bullpen

Billy Wagner A His Trevor Hoffman circa 2006 All-Star Game impression in this year's All-Star Game notwithstanding, Wagner has been absolutely dominant this season, even more so than he was last year. He is striking out almost twelve batters every nine innings and walking just over two. Bottom line: the trepidation I felt on occasion last season when he was brought into a tight game is no more.
Aaron Heilman C- His strikeout rate has regressed precipitously the past two years, dropping from 8.83 in 2005 to 7.55 in 2006 to just 6.59 this year. His walk rate (1.91) is actually a career low, and is phenomenal, but his homerun rate (1.28) is his worst mark as a reliever by far (it was 0.50 and 0.52 the last two years). Looking for a culprit to explain the inflated homerun rate? His groundball ratio is just 0.84, and I'll bet dollars to donuts that his at-times-lifeless changeup is to blame. If he can get the longballs under control he'll be a top flight reliever again. If not, he's just another erratic bullpen arm.
Pedro Feliciano A- His walk rate is a little high for my liking, and that's the only thing keeping his grade from being an A. He has been very strong against righties this year (.217/.313/.333) but stifling against lefties (.106/.267/.170). Dude was in Japan two years ago and now he's pitching unbelievably well for the Mets. Also, just one homerun allowed in 32.1 innings.
Joe Smith B+ Like Felicano, Smith walks a few more batters than I'd like to see. His strikeout rate has been fab, and his homerun rate miniscule (just two in 36 innings). He has struggled a bit against lefties, allowing a .297/.417/.378 to odd-handed batters. That .417 OBP is way too high, but it is fairly common for sidearmers to have dramatic platoon splits. Maybe if he can throw that wicked slider more for strikes he would be more effective against the southpaws.
Scott Schoeneweis D+ How not to be an effective reliever: allow more walks than strikeouts. Case in point: Schoeneweis has walked 23 batters to just 20 strikeouts in 34.1 innings. He has actually been very effective against lefties (.222/.338/.259), but has been cartoonishly awful against righties, as they have plowed him to the tune of .333/.415/.641. The problem may just be that Willie Randolph continues to insist that Schoeneweis is capable of pitching effectively against batters of either hand when that clearly isn't the case. Used in a strict left/right platoon, perhaps with Joe Smith, Schoeneweis could be reasonably effective. Not like this. Not ever.
Aaron Sele C Not great, not terrible. He gets bonus points for pitching well in the seventeen-inning marathon in Houston last week, but otherwise he has been just a run-of-the-mill mop-up arm.
Guillermo Mota D- It's not an easy thing to do, but Mota has managed to make a Schoeneweis appearance look like a good thing. Mota seriously needs to consider going back on the juice if this is what he insists on pitching like when he's clean. Seriously, what's the problem? He's still throwing gas, and the changeup still sits a solid 10 MPH behind the old #1. Someone figure it out and give me, or better yet Rick Peterson, a call.