Mike Pelfrey is out for the season following Tommy John surgery and the Mets’ various options to replace him in the rotation aren’t very appealing, but general manager Sandy Alderson made it very clear that the team isn’t going to call up any of its top pitching prospects for a short-term fix.
Zack Wheeler, who was acquired from the Giants in the Carlos Beltran trade, is 21 years old at Double-A and currently sidelined by a finger injury.
Matt Harvey, who was the Mets’ first-round pick in 2010, is 23 years old at Triple-A and currently sporting a 4.80 ERA through six starts.
And his Triple-A rotation-mate, 22-year-old Jeurys Familia, has a 5.06 ERA with 25 walks in 27 innings.
In other words, even if Alderson had a different stance on the rotation situation and wanted to call one of them up they aren’t ready to thrive in the majors right now anyway. And realistic Mets fans should be happy that Alderson is taking the long-term view after the previous regime so often needlessly rushed prospects with predictably poor results.
You hear a lot about pitchers tipping pitches. It’s often offered up post-facto as an excuse for poor performance by the pitcher himself or his own team. It’s sort of like the “best shape of my life” thing being offered in the offseason to talk about why the player got injured or played badly the previous year. “Smitty’s stuff is still great, he was just tipping his pitches,” said a source close to the player whose stuff is not really great anymore.
Which isn’t to say that pitchers don’t tip pitches. Of course they do. Opposing teams look for it, pick up on it and take advantage of it whenever they can. It’s just that (a) the opposing team has an interest in not talking about it, lest the pitcher STOP tipping its pitches; and (b) the guy actually tipping his pitches doesn’t want to talk specifically about it lest he starts doing it again.
Which is what makes this article at Sports Illustrated so interesting. In it Tom Verducci talks to an anonymous Houston Astros player who explains how Dodgers starter Yu Darvish was tipping his pitches during the World Series, leading to him getting absolutely shellacked in Games 3 and 7. The upshot: the Astros knew when a slider or a cutter was coming, they waited for it and they teed off.
Darvish is a free agent now. I’m guessing, whoever signs him, knows exactly what they’ll gave him work on the first day of spring training.