When the New York Mets brought Pedro Martinez to town, things were about to be different. After a couple of down years, the Mets were ready to win again. The Martinez signing signaled one of many major changes for the franchise. And while he battled injuries throughout his four seasons with the Mets, his first year in Queens has actually aged pretty well.
Pedro Martinez was everything the Mets could have hoped for in 2005
The 2005 season was by far the best year Martinez had with the Mets. That doesn’t say much, though. His 217 innings for the team trumped anything else he would do over the next three years.
At age 33 and coming off of a 16-9, 3.90 ERA season with the Boston Red Sox, there was certainly reason to doubt how much longevity he had left in his arm. A five-time winner of the ERA title and recipient of three Cy Young Awards was approaching his mid-30s. Calamity would eventually arrive at his doorstep.
This wasn’t the case in 2005. Martinez began the year with a six inning no-decision in Cincinnati that included 12 strikeouts. He would go on to toss a one-run complete game in his second start to officially get the ball rolling on what would become a successful year one in orange and blue.
Although far less dominant than he was in his early days, Martinez hung tough throughout the year. He would finish with four double-digit strikeout performances. His final came on September 16 at Shea Stadium against the Atlanta Braves. Martinez fanned 10 Braves and didn’t allow a single run in his nine innings.
When the season concluded, Martinez was 15-8 with a 2.82 ERA. He struck out 208 batters and managed to complete four games—the most he had since the year 2000.
All things considered, this might not stand out as one of the best pitched years in Mets history. Given past performances of Tom Seaver and future ones from Jacob deGrom, it may not strike any of us as one of the best ever completed by a Mets pitcher. One statistic suggests otherwise.
WAR is good for showcasing how good Pedro Martinez was in 2005
With an even 7 WAR in 2005, Martinez’s season ranks tenth all-time in club history for pitchers. Behind four Seaver seasons, two deGrom, a Jon Matlack, a Johan Santana, and the untouchable 1985 campaign from Dwight Gooden, this new-age statistic tells a far greater tale of Martinez.
We did know back then that Martinez was having a good year based on the numbers. He was also an All-Star. Yet even with such good numbers, he didn’t receive an ounce of Cy Young consideration.
That year’s voting was all about the Houston Astros. They had three guys on the list of six players to even receive a nod for the award. Chris Carpenter of the St. Louis Cardinals would actually win it with the Florida Marlins’ Dontrelle Willis coming in second.
Martinez didn’t lead the league in categories like wins, ERA, or strikeouts. He did have the best WHIP and strikeout/walk ratio. But alas, this wasn’t nearly enough to compete with the 22 wins from Willis or the 1.87 ERA Roger Clemens posted. And even if we do take a look at WAR, which nobody would have back in 2005, Martinez was already behind those two. Clemens led the league at 7.8 and Willis finished at 7.3.
This doesn’t steal away from the fact that Martinez had a statistically successful season. And in the annals of history, in at least one statistic, it’s a top-tenner.