The man on everyone's last nerve, Mike Pelfrey, is the Mets infamous underachiever. Once a well though of prospect with ace level potential, Pelfrey has never been able to to figure himself out for any extended length of time. I say himself because he has the stuff to be a very good pitcher in this league. In fact, at one point Pelfrey may have had the stuff necessary to be an ace, but that ship has since sailed due to an inability to remain mentally tough. Instead, Pelfrey enters 2012 simply pitching for his future.
You see, Mike made his way onto the 2012 starting staff not because of his performance. It was his stamina and ability to avoid the dreaded disabled list that finds him back in Flushing. However, he remains the likely choice to be odd man out this summer when the Matt Harvey's and Jeursys Familia's of the world begin making their way to the big leagues. On a team looking to take the next step forward, Pelfrey finds himself surrounded by a hall of fame ace, an ageless knuckleballer and two younger, more promising versions of his former self.
Yes, Mike Pelfrey enters the 2012 season with quite a mountain to climb. He needn't only outperform his competition, he must do so with a level of effectiveness and more importantly, consistency, if he is to make everyone forget seasons past. It will be those demons, many of which lie inside Mike's mind, which he will need to exercise in 2012 to have a future here.
Mike isn't a bad guy. In fact by all accounts he is one of the more stand up guys you'll find at this level. Unfortunately nice guys do in fact often finish last. Mike needs to focus like never before. He must hone his skill set and become the pitcher we briefly saw in 2010 before reverting back into a world of yips, yelps and licks last season. Most importantly, he must do so with a level of consistency that doesn't force team brass to hold their collective breath every time he takes the mound.
This is a big year for Mike. A fact that is not lost on him, after a stern talking to by manager, Terry Collins, and the chorus of boos that rained down on him on opening day. He must earn back the trust of both the fan base and the franchise this season, or he will be headed elsewhere sooner than later. That plight starts tonight when he takes to ball for the first time this season. He will do so with the added pressure of sustaining the Mets early winning ways and he will do so knowing that for him, its now or never.
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