Astacio Looks To Shrug Off 02' Second Half

If 2003 is going to be better than 2002 for the New York Mets, Pedro Astacio needs to be the pitcher that he was in the first half of the season for the entire year. Astacio will most likely be the third starter in the rotation behind veteran lefties Tom Glavine and Al Lieter.

Notes: 31 starts, second most on team. 12-11 record, only pitcher to start double digit games and have winning record. 191.2 innings second most on team. 152 K's, second on team. 4.79 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, 192 hits, 106 runs (most on team), 32 HR (most on team). .262 Batting Average Allowed. 8-3, 3.17 ERA pre-all star game. 4-8, 7.00 ERA post all-star game. 4-6, 4.80 ERA at home, 8-5, 4.78 ERA on road. August and September, 2-8, 9.47 ERA. Lost last 3 decisions and 7 of last 8. After August 6 start, Pedro was 11-4 with a 2.95 ERA.



























In 2002, Pedro Astacio showed that he is a workhorse by starting 31 games and pitching 191.2 innings, both second on the team behind Al Lieter (33, 204.1). Astacio was the only starter on the Mets with 10 or more starts and a winning record. He struck out 152 batters, again second only to Lieter (172). At the All-Star break, Astacio was 8-3 with a 3.17 ERA. After winning on August 6, Astacio improved to 11-4 with a 2.95 ERA. His road record was an impressive 8-5.

Seemed to really struggle down the stretch. Pedro Astacio was 4-8 with an ERA of 7.00 after the All-Star break. In August and September, Astacio was 2-8 with a 9.47 ERA. He lost his last three decisions and 7 of his last 8. His record at Shea Stadium was 4-6 with an ERA of 4.80. He averaged just over one hit per inning pitched. He gave up 106 runs and 32 home runs, both the highest on the staff. Opponents batted .262 against Astaco.

2003 Outlook:
Three Main Concerns:
1. Which Pedro Astacio will be pitching for the Mets in 2003? If Astacio can pitch like he did for the first half, the Mets will be in very good shape. If the Astacio from the end of 2002 shows up, the Mets are in trouble.
2. Will Astacio's high ERA catch up with him? He had an ERA of 4.79. Opponents hit .262 against him. Yet he still had a winning record on a losing team.
3. Can he cut down on the home runs? Astacio gave up better than a HR per start.

Rotation Spot:
Pedro Astacio will most likely be pitching out of the third spot in the rotation. With Glavine and Lieter pitching ahead of him, Astacio will not need to be the stopper. But he will probably be in the position to keep a winning streak alive. Having Steve Trachsel pitching behind him will also keep the pressure off. Astacio should be able to go out and just pitch from the third spot.

What must be changed in 2003?
For Astacio to improve on his 2002 season, a few thing must happen.

1. He must give up fewer hits.
2. He must give up fewer runs.
3. He must put together a complete season.
4. He needs to pitch better at Shea.

What is expected?
Other than his last season in Colorado, Astacio has been near or above .500 every year. He has a career record of 115-107 with a career ERA of 4.53. This is a pitcher with a winning record as a member of the Colorado Rockies (53-48). He can be penciled into the rotation with 12 wins. If things break the right way, he may get back to the 17 win mark he put up in 1999 (17-11, 5.04). He will also probably have double digit losses.

In Perspective…
Figuring Astacio to be somewhere between 10-15 wins and 10-15 losses puts him as a decent third starter. However, at $9 million, he should be putting up better numbers. If Astacio has the type of season that is expected of him, he will not hurt the Mets chances at a post season run. If things can go his way, he can be a major piece of the puzzle.

Cerrone's Certain Facts
-- Pedro Astacio had an 11-4 record and 2.95 ERA to begin the 2002 season, but struggled going 1-7 with a 10.80 ERA between Aug. 11 and the end of the season.

-- In games pitched while not a member of the Colorado Rockies, Astacio's career ERA is 3.03.

- In 2002, while pitching from the wind up Astacio allowed batters to hit only .237, from the stretch opponents hit .307.

-- Mostly due to his quick delivery to the plate, only 16 runners attempted to steal a base against Astacio in 2002, while 32 attempted against Trachsel, and 35 against Leiter.

Matthew M. Cerrone is a MLB research coordinator for

This column is part of a continuing series previewing the 2003 Mets season. Monday will feature Steve Trachsel.

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