No need to apologize. Far too many newsworthy items and transactions (signings, arb settlements, etc.) have been lumped into megathreads this winter. So thanks for starting a new thread with this.
No way to mince words here: The guy's been a freaking mess in terms of both health and production. In 2010 he made 9 starts with the Mets, averaging just 4.4 IP per outing and prompting this Fangraphs writeup ("Slow fastball, quick hook
"). It was posted after his final outing of the season on May 20
where he faced only leadoff batter Nyjer Morgan, throwing nothing but fastballs with none of the five eclipsing 85 mph:
Warthen said, “John’s a habitual liar in a lot of ways as far as his own health. He’s a competitor and a warrior and he wants to go out there and pitch. But you have to be smart enough to realize this guy isn’t right.” Maine, meanwhile, was peeved: “Look, I’ve felt pain for two years, but I’m over that…I don’t care about that. I’m well enough to pitch. I wanted to pitch. That’s the bottom line.”
The 29-year-old right-hander has dealt with a series of injury problems over the past three seasons. He was placed on the DL in August of 2008 with a right rotator cuff strain, returned to make three starts and was then shut down. In late September of ’08, he underwent surgery to remove a large bone spur from his right shoulder. Last year, he spent three months on the DL with right shoulder weakness. This year, Maine has battled left elbow soreness.
Maine, who’s scheduled to examined by doctors today, says he’s healthy enough to pitch. But whatever is ailing him, it’s clear that his performance is suffering.
This year, Maine (throwing his fastball three-quarters of the time) is sitting just 88.6 MPH. During his big league career, he has a +0.26 run value per 100 pitches with the fastball. In 2010, however, it has been hammered for -0.85 runs per 100 thrown. Of course, that’s actually better than his changeup (-2.17) and slider (-3.89).
While his 77.9 percent contact rate bests the 80.9 percent MLB average and he’s getting swings on pitches outside of the strike zone 28.1 percent (27.5 percent MLB average), Maine hasn’t been able to throw strikes consistently. Just 45.7 percent of his pitches have been within the zone, which is two percentage points below the big league average. All three of his pitches have below-average strike rates: 61.4 for the fastball (64.4 MLB average), 57.4 for the changeup (60.7) and 55.3 for the slider (63.4).
It’s no surprise that a starter, lobbing high-80′s fastballs with spotty control and a sky-high fly ball rate, is getting throttled. Hopefully, Maine and the Mets can find the root cause of his struggles.
Last season he pitched for the Rockies' AAA club and it was more of the same: 11 starts, averaging 4.18 IP/GS, with 58 H, 37 BB and 35 Ks in 46 innings for a 2.1 WHIP and 7.43 ERA. By June he was done with more shoulder problems.Rotoworld
says he's going to try his hand as a reliever, but if his FB velocity isn't improved I don't think a lighter workload will make any difference. While he won't need as versatile a repertoire, the guy still needs an out pitch -- and he needs to be healthy.