By Eno Sarris //
The biggest positive surprise in a season full of mostly negative revelations for the New York Metropolitans has been R.A. Dickey. Dickey, the subject of a recent – and fun – poster contest, has leveraged his multi-velocity knuckleball
to a 2.92 ERA and 11 wins so far. Dickey’s 5.36 K/9 IP rate raise red
flags about his future. But he’s also walking just over 2 batters per 9
IP this season, with a very high 55% groundball rate. If he’s truly harnessed his knuckleball, Dickey could become a trickier, more successful version of Joel Pineiro or Jake Westbrook. In other words, someone well worth rostering next season, even as he enters his late 30s.
On the other side of the coin would have to be Johan Santana‘s
season. Maybe we should have seen it coming – he’s now had
season-ending surgeries two years running, and his strikeout and walk
rates have been in a nose-dive since he left Minnesota. But the
declining lefty put up a below-average strikeout rate this year, and
has a recovery period that might push late into 2011.
2011 Keeper Alert
makes for a paragraph all by himself. K-Rod reversed the decline in his
strikeout rates and showed the best control of his career. He generally
seemed to be a resurgent, elite closer for much of the year. But then
he punched his girlfriend’s father and now makes for a fascinating and
risky keeper selection going into 2011. It’s usually a bad idea to keep
a closer anyway because of the turnover at the position. See if you can
grab him cheap at the draft table instead.
If Santana, Rodriguez, Dickey and even Dillon Gee have their risks, there are no obvious keepers on this pitching staff. Mike Pelfrey
had a playable season, but he also showed the worst groundball rate of
his career and is a bit of a risk for regression with a poor strikeout
rate. Jon Niese might actually make the best keeper on the staff, but isn’t worth the effort in shallow mixed leagues.
Avoid Mets pitchers when picking keepers for 2011. Instead,
see if you can snag a couple late in your draft next season (Niese?
Dickey?), especially given their favorable home park.