I begged. I pleaded. I implored Ned Yost not to waste a rotation spot on Luis Mendoza. I argued his strikeout and walk rates were a recipe for failure and that he’d be a disaster as a starting pitcher. This was, of course, a year ago and my rock solid argument fell on deaf ears as Mendoza opened the 2012 season in the rotation.
My oh my, what a difference a year makes. I’m begging and pleading again, but this time, I want Mendoza in the rotation.
I wasn’t entirely wrong about him last year, the predictable did happen; he walked too many, struck out too few and was just all around horrible. He was demoted to the bullpen in May but received a second chance when Felipe Paulino went down in early June. He responded to his second chance by being a pitcher he’d never been in his career before. Look at the difference in his numbers between his first 10 appearances and his last 20, which were all starts.
|4/9 – 6/6||5.36||10||5||43.2||5.1||3.9||0.76|
|6/12 – 10/3||3.83||20||20||122.1||2.5||6.2||2.50|
That’s a fairly impressive run for a guy who struck out just 4.8 hitters every 9 innings in the minors (1111 IP). He finished the season with a 97 ERA+, a mark Luke Hochevar has never come close to accomplishing. Based on that 20 start stretch I think Mendoza has earned another look in the rotation. I don’t think it will happen though. Yost has already made comments that Mendoza would be a good fit at long relief, and I suspect Hochevar will get the fifth spot, even without actually earning it. Regardless of how I viewed Mendoza last year he did have a solid spring. This year I don’t think it will matter, especially now that he’s off on a WBC quest for Mexican glory.
I can’t imagine Hochevar suddenly getting it this year so I think at some point Mendoza will get a shot. If Yost needs a couple more months to completely rid the inconsistent right-hander from his system then I suppose I can live with that. I just won’t like it.