While the overall numbers aren't sparkling, their pitching as of late(the last month or so) has been as good as anyone's in MLB. They don't strike-out that many. They don't complete games(they have 2 and one was a loss). They never pitch into 9th. However, they are getting quality starts virtually every night. If not for the pen, they could have 5 or so more wins at least. They've kept this team near .500 despite all the injuries and the 5-13 start. Kudos to them and Dan Warthen.
Let's break down each guy...
Dillon Gee has been incredible. He's 7-0 with a 3.05 ERA. Every night, he throws well. He's not fast, but he can strikeout hitters. Last year he led the IL in K'S. Collins compared him to Rick Reed whom he managed in AAA. I think that's spot on. Gee is the 2011 version of Dickey, minus all the previous mediocrity. Gee is only 25 and could be a staple in the rotation for years. This kid knows how to pitch.The latter is too often overshadowed by style, so that's why he was overlooked. I look at numbers, not just potential and "stuff." Gee's production speaks volumes, while other hyped players struggle, get hurt, or just never develop. He won't go undefeated, but he could win 13-15 games a year. That to me is solid and if he's a backend starter, you have a good rotation.
Jon Niese has been unreal of late. Last night he outpitched Jurrjens and if not for Reyes' error a few starts back, would also have 7 wins. He's rebounded from another ugly start and now is 6-5 with a very solid 3.46 ERA. He's making other teams' notice and his name has come up in trade talks. The Mets want no part of dealing him and they shouldn't. This kid has a great curve ball, shows poise and is developing as a pitcher. He's now .500 life-time and he could be a solid #3 starter for years to come. He's also a lefty, so that makes him even more valuable. He's only 24 and won't turn 25 until late October. He's another keeper.
Mike Pelfrey has been the biggest disappointment by far on this staff. He's 3-5 with a 5.11 ERA. Those are ugly numbers, though of late, he's been better. However, he's far too inconsistent and too often his ball is up in the zone. For him to be effective he must have that sinker going. When he does, he can dominate, especially @ home. The latter is his saving grace. That may keep him @ Citifield in 2012. Honestly, I see him as no more than a #3 and very possibly could be moved in the off-season if Sandy becomes frustrated with his lack of development and growth. In so many ways, Pelf is his worst enemy.
RA Dickey has pitched better than his numbers, 3-7 with a 3.98 ERA, but hasn't looked like the pitcher of 2010. To his credit, he didn't miss a start after his injury and he always guts it out. RA also never makes excuses. He's a great competitor and on a good staff is the perfect #4 or #5 guy. Dickey has pitched better of late and hopefully, will rebound to get to .500 or better by year's end.
Chris Capuano has pitched great over his last 4 starts. He has a 2.52 ERA over those starts and has 2 wins. He's also getting arm strength back. Overall, he's 5-6 with a 4.40 ERA. Again, that's not bad for a #5 starter. Chris isn't a guy with a future here, but could be a nice pitcher for this year and possibly next year, while the Mets wait for Santana to return and Matt Harvey to arrive @ Citifield(2013). I could see him even being dealt at the deadline to some team desperate for pitching. What I love about Chris is his intelligence and the fact he's in incredible shape. I swear he has no body fat. You can't say that about too many pitchers. Both of those factors could help as the season wears on.
Overall, the above are 24-23 with a 4.02 ERA. If someone were to look at those numbers, they'd say this is a pedestrian staff. They'd be right overall. However, when you look at how they've pitched over the last month(best ERA in MLB as a rotation since then) and the fact that 3 of the 5 are 27 or under, you have to feel pretty good. Remember their ace may not return until August, if all all this year. Taking that into account, you have to feel really good they could not only survive the year without him, but thrive. The Mets have a true potential ace @ in A ball(Matt Harvey) who should be in Double A soon and projects to a 2013 Mets debut. After him, there are no real frontline guys, with Cohoon and Familia as possible starters in 2012 or 2013 if needed. Having the 3 under 30 guys and Dickey is comforting, if they pitch like they have been. This has been a very pleasant surprise in 2011, a year everyone wrote off as a losing one.