Mike Pelfrey Doesn't Need Your Hyperbole

Eight wins and a 2.39 ERA all the evidence you need of Pelfrey's emergence

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    Big Mike

    After Mike Pelfrey beat the Padres on Tuesday night, Jerry Manuel took to the microphone and sang the praises of his young right hander.

    "He's coming into his own," Manuel said. "I think you can now start to talk about him in the same breath as those other young pitchers -- the [Josh] Johnsons , the [Ubaldo] Jimenezes and those types of guys -- because I think he belongs in that class."

    Heck, Jerry was so impressed that he pulled Mr. Big Stuff simply because it was a save situation! Kid's a good pitcher but the Mets have a genuine closer out there ladies and gentlemen.

    It's understandable that Manuel would reach for the stars when talking about Pelfrey's ability because the kid has been spectacular this season.

    Eight wins, a 2.93 ERA, a career best strikeout rate and the second-best wins above replacement value in the National League are quantitative proof of Pelfrey's success this season.

    Heck, it's even understandable that some people are already handicapping his chances at the NL Cy Young Award even though a vote for anyone other than Jimenez is criminal at this point in the season.  

    Thing is, Pelfrey isn't there yet. If you're in the business of ranking pitchers, track record has to matter and Pelfrey doesn't have the track record of either Johnson or Jimenez. Both of them are in their third years as elite starters while Pelfrey is 12 starts into his first year laying claim to that kind of status.

    It's something that many have predicted of him and he looks to be well on his way, but he's a lot closer to fellow breakouts Jaime Garcia and Yovani Gallardo. Not that any of it matters anyway.  

    All that matters is that Pelfrey is giving the Mets a second pitcher who makes them think they can win no matter the opposition every time through the rotation. They were desperate to have that kind of reliability behind Johan Santana this season and Pelfrey's ability to provide it has been the bright, shining center of all the madness that's swirled around the team since April.

    There's no need to reach for hyperbolic comparisons when talking about Pelfrey when you can accomplish everything you want by talking about the man himself. He was drafted ninth overall because the Mets thought he could pitch like that, they kept him in the rotation all through a rough 2009 because they thought he could pitch like that and it's more than enough to simply express excitement and happiness that he's finally pitching the way they hoped he could all along.

    If nothing else comes out of this season, Pelfrey's ascension will still mean that the Mets accomplished something significant even without earning a ring. 

    So let's just keep things about Pelfrey from here on out. As a couple of other Mets proved, even literary metaphors are a bit of a problem for them when it comes to the lanky starter. 

    "He's Lennie from Of Mice and Men," Bay said, referring to John Steinbeck's simple-minded but powerful character. "He doesn't even know his own strength."

    Overhearing that comparison from across the room, Stanford-educated Chris Carter shook his head and dismissed it.

    "Why?" Bay asked.

    "Because he's smart," Carter quipped.

    Pelfrey is, however, obsessed with rabbits, but that's another story for another time.  

    Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City and is a contributor to FanHouse.com and ProFootballTalk.com in addition to his duties for NBCNewYork.com. You can follow him on Twitter.