Thursday, May 11, 2006

Getting it off my chest

Jeremi Gonzalez has been pitching well in Triple-A. He's struck out 30, walked nine, and only surrendered one home run in 35.2 innings, with an ERA of 3.03. That's the good news.

The bad news is this isn't a prospect we're talking about. Gonzalez is a 31 year-old journeyman with a career ERA of 4.84 over 516 innings, most recently with the Red Sox but before that the Devil Rays and, in a former life ('97-'98), the Cubs.

Are there raw skills there that he never managed to harness in his twenties? The career 5.4 K/9 doesn't suggest as much.

Maybe there's more hope to be found in his minor league record. And what a record it is. Since making his professional debut in 1992, Gonzalez has logged no fewer than 818 innings in the minor leagues. Feel free to peruse the results over at the Cube (you may have to scroll depending on your screen resolution).

As you can see, his cumulative minor league ERA is 4.06. Though the highlights are few and far between, he was very good in 69 innings at Pawtucket last year. As for his 56 innings with the Sox? Not so much.

With all due respect to Mr. Gonzalez, who clearly loves the game and makes a good living at it: this is what the very bottom of the barrel looks like. Wondering whether he or Lima is the No. 4 starter is just no fun at all.

I don't mean to sound alarmist, and I'm not abandoning hope for the season or anything like that. We have a great offense, two of the top 10 starters and the best bullpen in baseball.

That bullpen also happens to include an excellent pitcher who had been a starter for pretty much his whole career. But Willie doesn't want to risk turning a strength into a weakness by giving Heilman the damn ball. Nor does he want to bring his closer into a tie game on the road, but I've already been over that (it still drives me nuts though, especially after his postgame comments confirmed my worst fears about his "philosophy.")

Anyway I think the writing is on the wall for a sooner-than-planned Mike Pelfrey callup, and that's something that I'm pretty excited about. It's not like he's 18 or anything, he's 22. As a matter of fact, he's a few weeks older than Scott Kazmir, just to pick a successful young pitcher at random.

... In other news, the Mets crushed Cory Lidle and the Phillies last night. Glavine turned in his first workmanlike (as opposed to spectacular) performance in a while, which was more than enough for the offense. As a rule, when just about everyone has two hits and Reyes goes deep, the odds of a W are high.

Straight Flushing fave Health Bell finally got a big league appearance, giving up a run on three hits. He did get two strikeouts however, on what looked like pretty effective breaking stuff.

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