Back in January of 2012, my favorite baseball team, the New York Yankees, traded Jesus Montero and Hector Noesi to the Seattle Mariners for pitchers Michael Pineda and Jose Campos. For the Yankees, the biggest part of the deal was getting Pineda, who as a rookie in 2011 was an all-star.
Michael Pineda showed great promise in his rookie year in 2011 pitching for the Seattle Mariners. He's shown signs he will be a decent pitcher in the major leagues, but can he become an ace pitcher for the New York Yankees?
Michael Pineda's Stats
Last season, in his rookie year, Michael Pineda went 9-10 with a 3.74 ERA for the Mariners. He struck out 173 batters in 171 innings, and walked 55 batters. So he struck out 9.1 batters per nine innings pitched, while walking 2.9 batters per nine innings. So he had a strikeout to walk ratio of three to one. Anything above two to one is good, so Pineda can clearly pitch in the major leagues.
Pineda though pitched the majority of his games in 2011 in spacious Safeco Park in Seattle. His ERA at home in Safeco Park was 2.92, while his ERA on the road was 4.40. That is a little worrisome, especially considering that Yankee Stadium's dimensions are favorable for left-handed hitters, and Michael Pineda is a right handed pitcher.
On the positive side though, Pineda held lefty hitters to a .237 batting average, and actually gave up more home runs, 10 vs eight, to right-handed hitters than lefties. That is despite the fact that left-handed batters had more at-bats on the season than right-handed batters vs Pineda (325 left vs 304 right).
Can Michael Pineda Be An Ace Pitcher for the Yankees?
Anytime a pitcher can strike out more than a batter per inning, he can become an ace in the major leagues. Starting pitchers with that kind of stuff are not common in the majors. As a Yankees fan, I'm thrilled to get a pitcher with the kind of stuff Michael Pineda has. And he only turned 23 years old in January.
Due to the fact that Yankee Stadium is favorable for lefty hitters, I'm hesitant to say for sure that Michael Pineda will become an ace pitcher for the New York Yankees. Especially since his home and road splits in 2011 were so great.
Overall though, I'd be surprised if Michael Pineda does not become a number two or three starter for the Yankees. And I'd say there is a decent chance he can become an ace. Lefty batters can only hit the ball into the Yankee Stadium right field stands if they can hit the ball. Michael Pineda's high strikeout rate should help him prevent that from happening too much.
As a Yankees fan, I'm really looking forward to watching Michael Pineda pitch for us in the 2012 season.