If we took yesterday's hitter projections with the proverbial grain of salt, we'll have to take the pitcher projections with a heaping spoonful of same because pitcher projections are simply spottier than hitter projections. Pitchers tend to be a more volatile breed than hitters for a couple of big reasons I can think of. First, even the most workhorse-like of starting pitchers play far less than regular position players (by a factor of around five). This means that a crummy day for a pitcher is a lot more harmful to his overall season performance than a bad day for a hitter. It also means that if something isn't working right, a pitcher has to wait four days to give it another go in a real game. If a hitter's swing is off he can get right out there the next day and try to swing his way out of it.
Two of these starting pitchers are at least even money to be playing elsewhere in 2009, and any or all of the relievers could be gone, too. That's not to say that the entire relief corps will be replaced, just that there isn't a single name on this list that I'd be surprised to find pitching for someone other than the Mets next season.
- Take a long hard look at Luis Ayala's projection, because most of the other relievers are pretty similar. High-threes ERA, WHIP in the 1.25 range. Ayala's strikeout rate is not encouraging, though he's probably effective enough to pitch in the middle innings. He's not a closer, and he's not even really an eighth-inning guy.
- Pedro Feliciano is a LOOGY, so that ERA could be quite a bit lower than 3.90 if he is used fairly strictly against lefties.
- If Nelson Figueroa is on this team in April then Omar Minaya did another crappy job of bullpen assembly.
- I still like Aaron Heilman, even if nobody else does. He could very well have been injured this year, and if he can get the walks down he'll be very successful again. Trading him at his low water mark in value would be a huge mistake.
- I'll take those numbers from John Maine. Why is everyone clamoring for him to be a closer?
- Biggest surprise here: Pedro Martinez's arguably overoptimistic projection for 2009. 3.36 ERA and a 4:1 K:BB ratio? Even for just 120 innings I'll take those numbers.
- Mike Pelfrey's strikeouts seem high, here, as does the ERA. There'll be plenty of pressure on him this year because now we know he's actually a good pitcher. He flew under the radar a bit in the past because we only *thought* he was good.
- Oliver Perez can take those 109 walks to Milwaukee or St. Louis.
- Duaner Sanchez had some control issues this year and I think he ran out of gas a bit towards the end of the season. Given some time off this winter and the post-surgery season under his belt, he could definitely contribute to this bullpen next year.
- Johan Santana. There are no words. Except those. And those. And these.
- Scott Schoeneweis is still useful as a LOOGY, but the Mets already have one of those. No need to carry both of them again, is there?
- Joe Smith needs to keep the walks down and he'll be fine.
- BJH is not optimistic about Brian Stokes. I'll take the under on this one. I liked what I saw out of him this year and I think he can definitely be part of the solution in 2009.