Mike Pelfrey is the defacto ace of the Mets staff. And, while he’s not elite or anything, he showed in 2010 that he can be a dependable starter. Which is nuts considering that, as the Daily News reports, he pitched most of the 2010 season with a messed up shoulder:
“I had a strained rotator cuff and a strained posterior capsule almost the whole season,” Pelfrey told the Daily News Thursday, a day before making his first Opening Day start Friday night against Florida. The 27-year-old righty is ready to be the Mets’ ace, a leadership role that he relished even as the No. 2 guy last year, when he decided to pitch through pain.
Based on the article it doesn’t seem as though Pelfrey or the team was risking anything health-wise by letting him pitch through it, but he certainly was in pain. Notable, though, is that his season splits aren’t dramatic. His first half was better, but the second half was still pretty good. His strikeout rate went down, but he became a bit more stingy with the walks. Even his second half was an improvement over anything he did in 2009.
The Mets biggest weakness this year is the rotation. If they’re going to have any shot to make a go of it in 2011, they’ll need Pelfrey to anchor the staff. That’s no given, but assuming he’s feeling better this year than he did last year, it’s not a long shot either.