Injuries to Mike Pelfrey(above) and Miguel Batista have opened the door for Jeremy Hefner to show what he has got.
After a season ending injury to Mike Pelfrey and some early bullpen woes, the Mets reached down to AAA and recalled Jeremy Hefner. Hefner was placed on waivers twice this offseason, and was eventually picked up by the Mets.
Hefner was brought in to be insurance for the starting rotation, and he has done everything asked of him thus far. Hefner’s first outing was against the Giants where he pitched 3 shutout innings in relief. Yesterday after Miguel Batista left the game with a back injury, Hefner gave up 2 runs in 5 innings. Despite pitching well, Hefner earned the loss on Saturday.
If Miguel Batista has to go on the disabled list, Hefner will get a shot to pitch in the starting rotation. Hefner has 2.72 ERA through 46 innings in AAA as a starter this year. Hefner has never been a high level prospect, but his on field results have been fairly decent. While his minor league numbers are good, I see Hefner as nothing more than a stopgap until prospects like Matt Harvey and Jeurys Famila are ready to pitch at the MLB level.
Hefner has been known to mix in four solid offerings, but his fastball velocity is average to below average coming from the right side. Hefner pitched to an ERA of 4.98 last year at AAA Tuscon. He is not a strikeout pitcher, and he has shown decent control in his Minor League career.
After watching video, several live starts, and his outings with the Mets, I believe that Hefner’s lack of velocity will eventually catch up to him and Major League hitters will adjust to him. He sort reminds me of Dillon Gee, who survived on merely smoke and mirrors for a while. Eventually Gee was caught on to and adjusted to as we are seeing this year.
Overall Hefner isn’t a terrible option at the moment to replace Miguel Batista as of right now. Who knows what lies in the future for him. Eventually I think he will join the likes of Pat Misch and Chris Schwinden, AAA players who struggle to find there niche in the Majors.
Players like Misch, Schwinden and Hefner find success at the AAA level because the hitters they face are generally not used to facing pitchers who throw as many different pitches as those mentioned above. Unlike their minor league counter parts, Major League hitters adjust to pitchers like this rapidly.
I am rooting for Hefner to find success with the Mets, but I think it is unlikely that he is a contributor beyond this season. As always I’d like to hear your thoughts and ideas. You can leave a comment or send me a tweet, @tysim19.