How often do teams' Opening Day starters live up to their top billing?
“He deserves it. He earned it. He should have made the All-Star team last year. Right now, I think Mike Pelfrey should be the No. 1 guy on this staff.”—Terry Collins
The quote above is a variation on a theme repeated exactly thirty times per preseason. At some point before 25-man rosters are finalized and the games start to mean something, each manager makes a show of anointing his team’s Opening Day starter. The names change—in most cases, they’re more impressive than Pelfrey’s—but the platitudes stay the same.
Obvious Good News: Getting O'Flaherty back from the DL provides Bobby Cox with a second lefty he's come to trust, now and into October-if the Braves get there-although it's worth noting that Dunn has been effective in a low-leverage role, if as wild and frightening as Kimbrel was in his previous stints. Speaking of Kimbrel, he's been exceptional since his return, striking out 12 of 16 batters faced, allowing a lone hit-and going walk-free.
The Mets are rolling with the help of many different contributors, along with other notes from around the major leagues.
On the day of the first exhibition game of spring training, David Wright pronounced it time for the Mets to finally forget a disastrous 2009. As the third baseman stood at his locker in the clubhouse at the Mets' complex in Port St. Lucie, Florida, he also predicted better days in 2010.
A number of young hurlers are making strong comebacks in 2010.
Last week in this space, I took a look at hitters who had already exceeded their 2009 VORP in the early stages of 2010 and tried to determine whether those players were likely to build on their exceptional starts. This week, I’ll be doing the same for pitchers. I’ve selected the five starters and five relievers who have achieved the greatest VORP bouncebacks so far this year, compared to last year’s VORP tally or, for players that put up negative VORP performances last year, a replacement-level zero VORP. To make the starter list, a pitcher must have thrown at least 90 innings last season, while the cutoff for relievers is 40 innings. Those performance benchmarks are designed to ensure the players selected pitched significantly, if poorly, last season, and are off to a good start, rather than off to a mediocre start that’s much better than their disastrous 2009 numbers.
Hurts strike down two of the Yankees' "Core Four" in Posada and Rivera, along with other medical news from the majors.
Jorge Posada (strained calf, ERD TBD) If you read what I told you about—or actually, passed on from Ben Wolf—on Friday, then the calf strain for Jorge Posada shouldn't come as much of a surprise. Posada's injury to the back of his right knee was in a bad spot and this kind of cascade is very predictable. The bigger cascade worry would be a knee injury, but a calf strain would be a close second. Wolf's insight doesn't help the Yankees, who now have to go with Francisco Cervelli in the meantime while hoping that Posada can heal up. The Yankees are anticipating that Posada will be ready by the end of the week, but a Grade I strain might not heal up enough for catching. They'll wait until the end of the week to make a decision on the DL, since they'll get the off-day on Thursday, but I get the sense that they don't want to go into the Boston series short-handed.
The Mets right-hander's 0.69 ERA leads the majors and is built partially on having good luck in tough situations.
Mike Pelfrey's performance on Sunday night was far from a masterpiece.
The Mets right-hander allowed eight of the 23 batters he faced to reach base, five on walks and three on hits, as he struggled to throw strikes and get ahead of hitters. Yet on a night when he failed to retire two-thirds of the Braves' hitters, Pelfrey showed why he is one of the biggest early-season surprises in the major leagues and kept Atlanta off the board. However, a closer look at his performance shows that Mets' fans should temper their expectations a little bit.
With Opening Day a little more than a week away, here is a look at the projected rosters for each of the 16 National League clubs following conversations with club executives and media members. Keep in mind these are projected rosters and subject to change. American League lineups are here. You can also look at the fantasy depth charts at any time to see our latest updated projections.
Remember when Mark Prior was on his way to Cooperstown? Or when Edwin Jackson was a bust? Every year, it seems like some young hurler is defying our expectations, yet we are constantly forgetting just how unpredictable young pitchers can be, ready to anoint every phenom the next Mark Fidrych. This season is no different. And we've convened a roundtable to discuss some of the more enigmatic young arms in the game.