Thursday, May 19, 2016


If one were to look up the word "enigma" in a proverbial fantasy baseball dictionary, the name and face of New York Yankees veteran pitcher Michael Pineda would be staring back at you.  Lauded as a top pitching prospect coming out of the Seattle Mariners organizations, Pineda was a rookie All-Star whose power stuff pointed to him being a future ace.  Then disaster struck in a series of very serious shoulder injuries that took Pineda out of baseball for two years and didn't allow him to start off his Yankees career (after being dealt for catching prospect Jesus Montero) to get off to a good start.  Be that as it may, Pineda made his way back a bit in 2014 and then as an everyday member of the rotation in 2015.  Often getting off to very good starts that showed his old power arsenal, Pineda seemed back on track toward stardom.  Then more injuries and a strong tendency to fade as the season went along conspired to knock Pineda down a peg or two and continue his maddening pattern of inconcistency. 

That brings us to the 2016 season and needless to say, pretty much NOTHING has gone right for Pineda outside of him staying healthy.  With the damage Pineda has done to his owners' ERA, it would be better if he were hurt as his latest shelling Wednesday night left him with a cumulative 6.60 ERA and 1-5 record for the Yanks.  There is disaster everywhere you look with Pineda, with his HR rate soaring from 2015's 1.18 to this year's 2.06, and his control going down the toilet with his 2.89 BB/9 rate being by far a career-high.  With hits dropping in everywhere as well, Pineda is getting ripped almost every time out as his name is now beginning to appear on multiple free agent wires.

So what is really going on here?  We already touched on how Pineda's control has gone haywire which is a first for him.  One of Pineda's strengths has always been his control and a BB/9 over 2.00 is like 4.00 for someone else. Then there is that home run rate which no doubt can be blamed on some velocity inconsistency from Pineda.  Any loss in velocity almost always results in more home runs and that is what we clearly are seeing out of Pineda thus far this season.  

Now with the bad out of the way, let's get to the good of which there is a decent amount believe it or not.  For one thing, Pineda is missing bats at a 10.31 K/9 Rate which would be a career-high if the season ended today.  That tells you Pineda's stuff is still quite potent as he is racking up K's even through the shellings.  The knee-jerk reaction then would be to look at the BABIP issue and there is where some optimism lies as well.  Pineda is suffering from some bad luck there as his BABIP is at a very unlucky .384.  In fact that is a sky-high BABIP in unlucky range since neutral is .300 and as a result, Pineda's FIP is 4.94 and XFIP and even better 3.59.  Once all teh cheap hits stop falling in, Pineda should start yeilding some better results.  Of course Pineda has shown that he struggles badly around mid-July so the window from here to there is closing quick. 

Overall when it comes to Michael Pineda, there is a ton of volatilty there which is a career trend.  I would say based on the BABIP bad luck and high K rate that Pineda is a BUY LOW but the second half struggles and always shaky health has me saying avoid.  The arm is still good but there is simply too much for us to look past. 


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