Predicting Yankees Michael Pineda
Remember Michael Pineda? The former Seattle Mariners pitcher took Major League Baseball by storm in 2011 by striking out 173 in 171 innings. Even more impressive, the right-hander allowed just 133 hits fueling a 3.42 FIP. During the off-season, Pineda was dealt to the New York Yankees for uber prospect Jesus Montero in a swap of young talent rarely seen. Each player was expected to be a pillar of his new franchise for years to come. It didn’t quite work out as planned.
Two full seasons later and Michael Pineda has yet to throw a pitch for the New York Yankees after labrum surgery. Between labrum and Tommy John surgery, labrum tears are more serious. When Pineda’s injury was in the news, I spoke to a contact on the way to Asheville to scout the debut of Orioles Dylan Bundy. At the time, he discussed seeing a “different” Pineda late in the season. In his report, the scout recommended to check Pineda’s medicals for possible shoulder issues.
Fast forward to 2013 and Michael Pineda returned to pitch in the minor leagues. After 40 2/3 innings, he was shut down in Triple-A and never made it back to New York. This winter, information on Pineda has been scarce other than the Yankees stating he’s fine and will be ready to compete for a rotation spot in spring training. Should we trust them?
Admittedly, the Masahiro Tanaka signing set the free agent market back a couple of months as we are still waiting for Ubaldo Jimenez and Ervin Santana to find homes. But as of today, the Yankees have yet to sign a fifth starter and appear content to enter spring training with Adam Warren, David Phelps and Michael Pineda duking it out.
For now, this is great news for Pineda owners.
Fantasy owners can’t pick up the phone and call the Yankees front office to ask about their plans for Pineda (If you can, email me and come write for ROTOscouting). In regards to the Yankees rotation, we have to trust their actions speak louder than whatever comments have or have not been made in the media. Maybe it’s just time to trust Pineda is healthy and will receive a legitimate shot to crack the Yankees rotation.
After all, the fifth spot in the rotation would be perfect for Pineda since he’ll be on an innings limit. Skip his spot in the rotation five to eight times during the year and he’ll only throw 150-175 innings. It’s an ideal scenario in theory.
What’s Michael Pineda’s Fantasy Baseball Value?
In the Ottoneu Experts League, I wound up keeping Pineda for $3 having stashed him for all of 2013. My initial plan was to cut him, but decided to hold on for one more season given Pineda’s age (25) and the value of cheap pitching in the format. Worst case scenario, I cut bait at a penalty of $2. Best case, I add a starter worth keeping for a number of seasons. The downside is minimal.
If Pineda is available in your league, I’d recommend adding him on the cheap if possible. With so little information available, a conspiracy theorist might think this is a sign the Yankees are hiding something and add him as a throw in. Other owners might want the roster spot reserved for Pineda back. Patience is one thing, but waiting two full seasons for a player pushes the limits of any fantasy owner.
Just know the trade window on Michael Pineda is likely to close once spring training games begin. A player with his initial success and subsequent injury issues is something every news outlet will want to follow — especially since he plays for the Yankees. That attention will bring helium whether his spring ERA is one or 100.
11 Feb 2014 / Mike Newman /
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