Wednesday, September 28, 2005

September 28th, 1970

Mike DeJean Born

Today we discuss one of the great novels in the English canon, Mike DeJean's A Tale of Two Seasons. Ok, so that's an old joke, and not an especially good one even when it was new. But for DeJean, it was certainly true. DeJean started the 2004 season with the Orioles and pitched, in a word, awfully. DeJean appeared in thirty-seven game s for the O's, pitching a total of thirty-nine and two-thirds innings. In those thirty-nine and two-thirds DeJean allowed an impressive forty-nine hits and twenty-eight walks for a total of 1.94 runners allowed per inning. All those runs turned into forty-three earned runs for an ugly 6.13 ERA, good for twenty-two percent worse than league average.

Incredibly, despite all that, the Mets decided to take a chance on DeJean, exchanging him for "Who Is" Karim Garcia. Even more incredible however, was DeJean's performance in
New York. DeJean appeared in seventeen games for the Mets, totaling twenty-one and a third innings. DeJean gave up twenty one hits in those innings, or just over one an inning, better but not significantly so than his time in Baltimore. However, what was better was DeJean's walks. While in Baltimore he was walking 6.3 men per nine innings. In New York, DeJean walked just five men, good for a sparkling 1.1 walks per nine innings. Combined with an increased strikeout rate, DeJean put up an equally sparkling 1.69 ERA, good for one hundred fifty-three percent better than league average.

So what separated DeJean's seasons? Advice from Mets' pitching coach Rick Peterson? Luck? I guess I'd lean towards the latter, given DeJean managed a 6.31 ERA with the Mets at the beginning of the season--although, to his credit, he has pitched better with the Rockies in the second half of the season. Maybe that's just Mike's time.

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