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Article: Mike Pelfrey's Stuggles: Small Sample or Larger Concerns?

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#1 iTwins

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Posted 01 May 2014 - 06:59 AM

You can view the page at http://twinsdaily.co...Larger-Concerns

#2 Shane Wahl

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Posted 01 May 2014 - 07:32 AM

I didn't realize that 2013 and most of his career constitutes a small sample.

#3 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 01 May 2014 - 07:37 AM

I didn't realize that 2013 and most of his career constitutes a small sample.


His career ERA+ is 89 with a 5.2 K/9.

His 2014 ERA+ is 53 with a 3.2 K/9.

Oddly enough, his stats in April of 2014 closely mirror his stats from April of 2013.

I've never liked Mike Pelfrey much but he's been worse than even his critics expected.

#4 Kirby_waved_at_me

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Posted 01 May 2014 - 07:41 AM

I think the ceiling for a guy like Pelfrey would be a season like a poor-man's Carl Pavano, Kenny Rogers, or Rick Reed - lots of innings, with an ERA at or slightly above league average.
The fear is that what you get is more like Sidney Ponson, Livan Hernandez, etc. etc. you know the guys I mean.
Hope he gets on track today.

#5 stringer bell

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Posted 01 May 2014 - 07:44 AM

Yes, the lower velocity and lack of command are a concern. However, numbers are skewed this early in the season. If relievers can get an out that when the starters leave with a couple runners on base, the ERA looks much better. Gibson yesterday being a very good example. I won't say the Pelfrey has been luckless--he's allowed far too many baserunners and hard hit balls--but things usually even out.

#6 mike wants wins

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Posted 01 May 2014 - 07:49 AM

1. Very nice writeup, thanks for doing the work!
2. Not a fan, never was, never will be. I just hope that if he stays this bad, they pull the plug quickly.
3. He has, somehow, been even worse than I feared, to Brock's point.
Lighten up Francis....

#7 Winston Smith

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Posted 01 May 2014 - 08:02 AM

2010 would be the last time you could really say he was good. Not sure how you can get a small sample size out of 4 years. Only 2 years in his career has he been "good" 2008 & 2010 a long way in the past at this point. Maybe if he gets back in the NL he could get back to mediocre and I think that's a long shot.

#8 Dman

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Posted 01 May 2014 - 08:17 AM

Unfortunately I was a believer in the Pelfrey signing. I really believed that after TJ surgery and the recovery time that he would approach his career averages or better. I was Rah, Rah about him despite evidence to the contrary. Given how he has pitched in recent years I shouldn't be surprised by his performance, but I just had a feeling he was going to be better than this. I really am struggling to understand how he could be this bad. Even worse than last year?

I am jumping on the Deduno bandwagon as I think he gives the team a better chance right now and into the future. Sorry big P but I am losing faith.

#9 Willihammer

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Posted 01 May 2014 - 08:27 AM

In the 2nd half last year I saw a guy with a borderline overpowering fastball. I thought he was healed, and 2014 would start as 2013 ended, but instead his fastball has been slow and lifeless. That is not good when you throw 81% fastballs.

Right now I would take Deduno, Meyer, or even May over Pelfrey.

Edited by Willihammer, 01 May 2014 - 08:30 AM.


#10 tobi0040

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Posted 01 May 2014 - 09:05 AM

I think the ceiling for a guy like Pelfrey would be a season like a poor-man's Carl Pavano, Kenny Rogers, or Rick Reed - lots of innings, with an ERA at or slightly above league average.
The fear is that what you get is more like Sidney Ponson, Livan Hernandez, etc. etc. you know the guys I mean.
Hope he gets on track today.


I really don't think his ceiling is even slightly above league average. His ERA has been good-ish in 2 of 8 years (2008 and 2010). In 2008 he stranded 74.3% of his runners and in 2010 he stranded 73.7% versus his career 70.2%. His xFIP in those "good years" were 4.45 and 4.31 versus a career 4.55. BABIP was slightly better than average in both years as well. It was luck more than anything else, awful k rates of 4.93 and 4.99 per 9.

He is frankly not a good pitcher. Ceiling maybe a bad #4 starter. Reality is he is a #5 starter at best. I agree he can be better than a 7.00 ERA guy and he will likely get better.

But it is time to move on. He is not one of our 5 best starters. His contract should not have happened but it is a sunk cost. Nick Blackburn got 161 innings with a 5.42 ERA in 2010 and a staggering 98 IP at a 7.39 ERA in 2012. Can we skip this exercise please?

Edited by tobi0040, 01 May 2014 - 09:10 AM.


#11 jokin

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Posted 01 May 2014 - 09:11 AM

I really don't think his ceiling is an above average pitcher. His ERA has been good-ish in 2 of 8 years (2008 and 2010). In 2008 he stranded 74.3% of his runners and in 2010 he stranded 73.7% versus his career 70.2%. His xFIP in those "good years" were 4.45 and 4.31 versus a career 4.55. BABIP was slightly better than average in both years as well. It was luck more than anything else, awful k rates of 4.93 and 4.99 per 9.

He is frankly not a good pitcher. Ceiling maybe a bad #4 starter. Reality is he is a #5 starter at best. I agree he can be better than a 7.00 ERA guy and he will likely get better.

But it is time to move on. He is not one of our 5 best starters. His contract should not have happened but it is a sunk cost. Nick Blackburn got 161 innings with a 5.42 ERA in 2010 and a staggering 98 IP at a 7.39 ERA in 2012. Can we skip this exercise please?


I appreciate your sentiments, but the Twins FO and manager are too financially, calendarically and emotionally invested in Pelfrey, on the mound and in the clubhouse.

Hopefully, both sides can agree to a face-saving "exercise" and get Pelfrey moved to Florida on a long-term rehab assignment.

#12 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 01 May 2014 - 09:12 AM

Hopefully, both sides can agree to a face-saving exercise and get Pelfrey moved to Florida on a long-term rehab assignment.


If he continues to throw 91mph no-movement fastballs at hitters, this is the best option for everyone.

And that's really the crux of this. If Pelfrey is throwing 93mph, you can find a place for that guy. If not in the rotation, then in the bullpen where he can maybe even approach 95mph in short stints with two pitches.

But he's essentially useless as a player at 91mph.

#13 tobi0040

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Posted 01 May 2014 - 09:21 AM

[quote name='jokin']I appreciate your sentiments, but the Twins FO and manager are too financially, calendarically and emotionally invested in Pelfrey, on the mound and in the clubhouse. QUOTE]


I love the clubhouse reference. I know you don't think we should keep him for that (the Twins suggest it at times). I have heard the Twins use this one before. If you need a good speech, hire a motivational speaker. Don't keep a guy that is going to get 20% of your starts around because people like him. Or he "gets after it" or "goes about it the right way" or whatever else Gardy likes to say. Alex Meyer would be more useful to this team, even if he didn't say a word all year.

The team reference in baseball is in my opinion, one of the biggest mis-conceptions in sports. 95% of this game is batter versus pitcher. If you are in left field, the ball is hit at you. It is up to you to make the play. Sure you get some teamwork in double plays and you need to say "I got it" every once in awhile, but compare it to other sports, coaches, the X's and O's, etc. Baseball is a quasi individual sport. I know this is a tangent, but I cringe when I hear about how good a guy is in the club house. It is usually code for we really like this guy and we don't want to cut him. Or we really need to overpay this veteran.

Edited by tobi0040, 01 May 2014 - 09:23 AM.


#14 Kirby_waved_at_me

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Posted 01 May 2014 - 09:34 AM

I really don't think his ceiling is even slightly above league average. His ERA has been good-ish in 2 of 8 years (2008 and 2010). In 2008 he stranded 74.3% of his runners and in 2010 he stranded 73.7% versus his career 70.2%. His xFIP in those "good years" were 4.45 and 4.31 versus a career 4.55. BABIP was slightly better than average in both years as well. It was luck more than anything else, awful k rates of 4.93 and 4.99 per 9.

He is frankly not a good pitcher. Ceiling maybe a bad #4 starter. Reality is he is a #5 starter at best. I agree he can be better than a 7.00 ERA guy and he will likely get better.

But it is time to move on. He is not one of our 5 best starters. His contract should not have happened but it is a sunk cost. Nick Blackburn got 161 innings with a 5.42 ERA in 2010 and a staggering 98 IP at a 7.39 ERA in 2012. Can we skip this exercise please?


Right - Pelfrey is not the guy the fans or the Twins wanted him to be - the point I was getting at is that kind of production (roughly 200 innings of league average pitching) is the reason the Twins offered that contract - their gamble was that Pelfrey could reach that level of production after Tommy John and the encouraging starts at the end of last year, but this month at least it doesn't seem to be the case.

Someone else mentioned that he had a slow April last year as well - is that a career long trend, or just last year? If he gets better as the season goes on, does it change anything?

#15 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 01 May 2014 - 09:37 AM

Someone else mentioned that he had a slow April last year as well - is that a career long trend, or just last year? If he gets better as the season goes on, does it change anything?


April looks to be his worst month by a considerable margin. Fewer Ks, higher ERA, more walks, more homers, less innings.

April is his worst month in pretty much every statistical category.

#16 jokin

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Posted 01 May 2014 - 09:39 AM

Right - Pelfrey is not the guy the fans or the Twins wanted him to be - the point I was getting at is that kind of production (roughly 200 innings of league average pitching) is the reason the Twins offered that contract - their gamble was that Pelfrey could reach that level of production after Tommy John and the encouraging starts at the end of last year, but this month at least it doesn't seem to be the case.

Someone else mentioned that he had a slow April last year as well - is that a career long trend, or just last year? If he gets better as the season goes on, does it change anything?


The slow April last year was TJ-related. Even Pelfrey has admitted that he came back too soon. The ironic thing is, is that he was a pretty effective pitcher in the final 3 months, sub 4.00 ERA/FIP. The irony lies in a pretty good theory that has been propounded on TD that Pelfrey might have done something to his shoulder by overcompensating for his weak elbow to start the season. (It never made sense to me that doctors signed off on Pelfrey returning to pitching just 9 months after his TJ surgery).

#17 mike wants wins

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Posted 01 May 2014 - 09:49 AM

Unfortunately, April counts, every single year......
Lighten up Francis....

#18 cmathewson

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Posted 01 May 2014 - 11:08 AM

He doesn't look like the same pitcher this year. He's not throwing as hard, nor does his stuff have as much sink to it. If I were a pitching coach, I would say he's not finishing his pitches, which is why they're slower, straighter and higher than they were late last year. Is it s physical issue preventing him from having good mechanics? That's my suspicion.

#19 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 01 May 2014 - 11:25 AM

Unfortunately, April counts, every single year......


Absolutely. And a pitcher of Pelfrey's calibre simply cannot afford to punt on an entire month every season.

#20 troyhobbs

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Posted 01 May 2014 - 11:37 AM

Loved the Pelfrey signing last year...hated it this year. After a bad investment it's best to cut your losses and move on, not double down.

#21 Shane Wahl

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Posted 01 May 2014 - 12:14 PM

At least he was good in 2008 and 2010. Getting excited about some handful of starts last season when looking at the career "sample size" indicating a below-average pitcher is an interesting view.

#22 tobi0040

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Posted 01 May 2014 - 12:16 PM

23 IP, 21 ER. Let's throw him out there one more inning and even this out.

#23 mike wants wins

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Posted 01 May 2014 - 12:17 PM

DFA him. He serves no purpose, present of future. Whichever scout said sign him, and whichever FO person agreed, well, that person probably also signed a bunch of stiffs in previous years. DFA them too.
Lighten up Francis....

#24 tobi0040

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Posted 01 May 2014 - 12:19 PM

At least he was good in 2008 and 2010. Getting excited about some handful of starts last season when looking at the career "sample size" indicating a below-average pitcher is an interesting view.


His 2008 and 2010 was based on luck. His runners stranded were about 74% and he is a career 70%. BABIP was a bit lower. His K rate was still under 5 per 9 IP. xFIP was 4.45 and 4.31 versus a career 4.55.

#25 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 01 May 2014 - 12:21 PM

DL him. His fastball is sitting at 89-90 today. Something is wrong.

If you can't DL him, I don't care what you do with him, just keep him out of the rotation.

#26 tobi0040

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Posted 01 May 2014 - 12:22 PM

DFA him. He serves no purpose, present of future. Whichever scout said sign him, and whichever FO person agreed, well, that person probably also signed a bunch of stiffs in previous years. DFA them too.


I disagree. He is a good clubhouse guy. You throw him out there for 3 IP like today. He may give up 5 ER and have a WHIP over 3. But when he gets back to the club house he will give a Herb Brooks like speech. We will rally and win this game.

#27 mike wants wins

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Posted 01 May 2014 - 12:22 PM

And out of AAA, if he'd go. He's just clogging up the bases at this point....
Lighten up Francis....

#28 iTwins

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Posted 01 May 2014 - 12:22 PM

DL him. His fastball is sitting at 89-90 today. Something is wrong.

If you can't DL him, I don't care what you do with him, just keep him out of the rotation.


Agreed. His velocity has to be of alarm for the coaching staff - something is clearly bothering him.

#29 mike wants wins

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Posted 01 May 2014 - 12:23 PM

I disagree. He is a good clubhouse guy. You throw him out there for 3 IP like today. He may give up 5 ER and have a WHIP over 3. But when he gets back to the club house he will give a Herb Brooks like speech. We will rally and win this game.


Sarcasm is one of my favorite art forms, frankly.
Lighten up Francis....

#30 tobi0040

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Posted 01 May 2014 - 12:30 PM

The funny thing is you have two different blogs, this and the live game blog. Pretty similar theme though. Everyone wants Terry to give him another two year extension.