After pitching six quality innings in which he gave up just five hits and two walks while limiting the Marlins to one run in a no-decision, it certainly appears that Hefner is here to stay in the Mets’ rotation.
The criminally underrated Hefner is a pitcher who gets by on grit and determination. While not blessed with the greatest stuff, Hefner is your classic bulldog who battles and competes til the bitter end. Most people look at Hefner’s numbers along with the perception of him not being a highly-touted prospect and dismiss him as nothing more than a back-end of the rotation journeyman who holds little value to the club. Sure, his debut season in 2012 on the surface was not all that impressive, as Hefner did go 4-7 while posting a 5.09 ERA and 1.37 WHIP, but Hefner did have eight quality starts of the 13 he made in 2012.
After being shuttled between the bullpen and the rotation, Hefner never really found his groove last season. However, with injuries to Johan Santana and Shaun Marcum, it appears that Hefner is going to be a permanent part of the rotation going forward. If given a fair chance, Hefner has the gumption and resourcefulness to make a positive impact in the rotation this year.
Hefner may not have to worry about the impending arrival of Zack Wheeler either, as that is not likely to occur for another a couple of months. And by that time, who knows how healthy Marcum will look by then. In fact, some argue that Hefner has better stuff than Dillon Gee. That could be debated until we are blue in the faces, but it’s at least nice to know that Gee and Hefner have not been the reason for why the Mets have now dropped their last two games-that falls on the offense.
Hopefully Hefner realizes the chance he has in front of him and puts up more quality outings and runs away with the job as a member of the staff. If now only the Mets could supply him with some more runs, as he truly deserves to be on the left side of the ledger with more wins.
The moral of the story here is don’t judge a book by its cover. While his win-loss record may indicate he’s an underachiever, Hefner may in fact turn out to be a real overachiever in due time.