Let's just take the player's word for it

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Wellemeyer loses about 5 mph on fastball
is the headline to article penned by Joe Strauss in today’s St. Louis
Post-Dispatch. The headline is culled entirely from the following quote
by Wellemeyer:

“Last year I was throwing 94-96 (mph), this year I’m topping out at
90-91,” he said. “I don’t know what it is but there’s definitely a
difference. It makes things more of a challenge, that’s for sure.”

With maybe five minutes of extra work, Strauss could have done
something to back or contradict Wellemeyer’s claim, but there’s
nothing. He does, at least, go to pitching coach Dave Duncan for an
additional comment, but whatever he got there wasn’t quote-worthy.

According to the article:

Pitching coach Dave Duncan suggests Wellemeyer is trying to be too
precise with his pitches, an observation Wellemeyer doesn’t dispute.
But Wellemeyer says the reason is his diminished velocity, which makes
his mistake pitches more vulnerable.

So, let’s go to the numbers. According to Baseball Info Solutions numbers presented at Fangraphs.com, Wellemeyer’s average fastball has slipped a bit, dropping from 92.3 mph to 91.5. PitchFx data had him at 92.2 in 2007, 92.7 last year and 91.4 this season.

Obviously, that’s not five mph. Five mph is huge. If his fastball was
down that much, he would have been demoted to the bullpen or place on
the disabled list a month ago.

Instead, Wellemeyer’s fastball is down about one mph, though not entirely consistently. As this chart shows, he’s been hanging around in the 92.0-92.5 range at times and dropping off to 90.5-91.0 in the others.

The drop likely is a problem. However, the bigger issue is that he’s
thinking about that drop. Duncan would surely prefer that he forget
about the radar gun readings and just go out and pitch. If Wellemeyer
can’t do that, he likely will find himself bounced from the rotation
soon.

Sandy Alderson thinks Tim Tebow will play in the major leagues

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Based on his track record so far I don’t think Tim Tebow deserves to play in the major leagues on the merits. Not even close. But then again, I’m not the general manager of the New York Mets, so I don’t get a say in that.

Sandy Alderson is the general manager, so his say carries a lot of weight. To that end, here’s what he said yesterday:

Noting the Tebow experiment has “evolved” into something greater, general manger Sandy Alderson on Sunday said, “I think he will play in the major leagues.”

To be fair, Alderson is pretty up front about the merits of Tebow’s presumed advancement to the bigs at some point. He didn’t say that it’s because Tebow has played his way up. He said this:

“He is great for the team, he is great for baseball, he was phenomenal for minor league baseball last year. The notion that he should have been excluded from the game because he is not coming through the traditional sources, I think is crazy. This is entertainment, too. And he quietly entertains us . . . He benefits the Mets because of how he conducts himself. He’s a tremendous representative of the organization.”

I take issue with Alderson’s comment about people thinking he shouldn’t be in the game because of his background. Most people who have been critical of the Tebow experiment have been critical because there is no evidence that he’s a good enough baseball player to be given the opportunities he’s been given. I mean, he advanced to high-A last year despite struggling at low-A and he’s going to start at Double-A this year in all likelihood despite struggling in high-A. If he does make the bigs, it will likewise come despite struggles in Double-A and maybe Triple-A too.

That said: I don’t mind if they promote Tebow all the way up as long as they’re being honest about why they’re doing it and aren’t trying to get everyone on board with some cockamamie idea that Tebow belongs on the baseball merits. If they do put him in the majors it’ll be because he’s a draw and a good promotion and because people generally like him and he’s not hurting anyone and I can’t take issue with that.

That’s basically what Alderson is saying here and if that’s the case, great. I mean, not great, because Tebow in the bigs will likely also mean that the Mets aren’t playing meaningful games, but great in the sense of “fine.” Baseball is entertainment too. No sense in pretending it isn’t.