Monday, August 25, 2008

Pelfrey Keeps Rolling Along

Is there anything more exciting than a Mike Pelfrey start these days? The big right-hander is 11-6 with a 3.38 ERA and a 1.246 WHIP in the 21 starts since this column appeared. There's a reason why I don't get paid for what I do.

Pelfrey's emergence into a frontline starter has been the most exciting development of the 2008 season and one that bodes very well for the Mets' future. With John Maine on the shelf, possibly for the rest of the season, the Mets will be need Pelfrey to continue these dominating performances if they have any hopes of winning the National League East. (More on the Maine injury in the Roster Move post I'll be making tomorrow.)

Pelfrey is up to 163 innings now, after having thrown 152 2/3 innings across three different levels in 2007. There is a school of thought today that young starting pitchers should avoid adding more than 30 innings to their innings pitched total from the previous season, or else their risk for an arm injury increases. As far as I can tell, there is only anecdotal evidence that this practice actually reduces a starter's injury risk (has anyone seen a study that shows a statistical correlation?). However, Pelfrey's two straight complete games certainly suggests that the Mets are skeptical that this theory holds water.


brian said...

Isn't it 30% more innings?

And from what I hear, it is a frightfully accurate indicator of pitcher durability.

tim said...

Forget all that, just give me credit for driving the Pelfrey bandwagon when everyone wanted to throw him in the bullpen or worse out of town.

Pitchers get arm injuries because their bodies are predisposed to them. How do do think Cy Young even approached 400 wins let alone 512. Nolan Ryan never had an serious arm trouble. Some guys are built for it. Pelfrey is a 6'7' brick shithouse, why does everyone think he's going to break down?

Judge Roughneck said...

I've always read it as 30 more innings. Now, if it's 30 percent more innings, then you might have something.

I really wish someone better than me would take the time to do a scientific study relating pitch counts to injury risk, innings pitched to injury risk and innings pitched increases to injury risk. It seems that everything is still in the theoretical stage, but is nevertheless being accepted as gospel truth.

Deb said...

I think Pelfrey is a big strong kid with the perfect physical makeup for pitching, or more accurately, for starting pitching. The only thing I think was ever in question was his maturity and mental makeup, and I think that this year has gone a long way towards putting those issues to rest.

Perhaps even more than the acquisition of Johan Santana, the emergence of Big Pelf as a front of the rotation starter has helped the Mets to the top of the division.