Mets fans shouldn't care about Pedro

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As much as SportsNet New York tried to stoke emotion by airing Pedro
Martinez’s presser with the Phillies on Wednesday, he might as well of
been Steve Trachsel up there. Okay, maybe that’s a little harsh, but
hear me out.

Martinez has this almost mythic quality among Mets fans for “turning
the franchise around,” but how can he get credit for something that
never actually happened? He ended up as a four-year window-dressing for
a poorly constructed franchise. Sure, Pedro had his moments with the
club, from the 12 strikeouts against the Reds in his first start as a
Met to the time the sprinklers went off at Shea Stadium (that was cool,
huh?) to the 2.82 ERA and 0.95 WHIP in 2005. His starts were an event
in 2005 and the early part of 2006. But that’s where it ends. One good
year and three clunkers. All for the bargain price of $53 million.

It was fun. It was nice. He’s a future Hall of Famer after all, but
Petey never threw a pitch in the 2006 playoffs. And as the Mets were
choking away another division title in 2008, Martinez had a 7.77 ERA
and 1.95 WHIP in four September starts. Not what the Mets paid for.

So I look at Martinez for what he is. A guy who put up a -2.2 VORP
in 2008. 76 National League starters with at least 80 innings pitched
ranked higher than him. And this included the likes of Tim Redding,
Saul Rivera and Shawn Chacon. You know, real difference-makers.

Was Martinez putting on the jersey of the rival-Phillies supposed to
hurt? Knowing that he has a 7.85 ERA in four career starts at Citizens
Bank Park made it a lot easier to swallow.

Mike Trout has yet to strike out this spring

Rob Tringali/Getty Images

Everyone is well aware of how good Angels outfielder Mike Trout is at the game of baseball. The 26-year-old is already an all-time great, having won two MVP awards — and arguably deserving of two others — and the 2012 Rookie of the Year Award. He has accrued 54.2 WAR, per Baseball Reference, which is right around the threshold for a Hall of Fame career. Trout does it all: he draws walks, he hits for average, he hits for power, he steals bases, he plays good defense.

But here’s an achievement that is amazing even for a player like Trout: he has yet to strike out this spring. In 41 Cactus League plate appearances, he has 10 hits (including a triple and two homers) and six walks with zero strikeouts. Across his career, Trout has a 21.5 percent strikeout rate, right around the league average. He isn’t usually such a stickler for avoiding the punch-out, but this spring he is.

To put this in perspective, 134 players this spring have struck out at least 10 times, according to 938 players have struck out at least once. The only other players to have taken at least 10 at-bats without striking out this spring are Humberto Arteaga (Royals, 23 AB), Tony Cruz (Reds, 18 AB), Oscar Hernandez (Red Sox, 10 AB), and Jacob Stallings (Pirates, 18 AB).

According to Angels assistant hitting coach Paul Sorrento, the lack of strikeouts hasn’t been a conscious effort from Trout, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports. Ho hum. The best player in baseball is apparently getting even better.