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We all know about the pressure of pitching in New York. The bright lights and over 100,000 eyes looking at you in Yankee Stadium alone can make a good pitcher shrink.
Add in the high expectations to win every game and the high amount of scrutiny and it is a wonder anybody can pitch there.
Ivan Nova was a huge bright spot in for the Yankees in 2011. He pitched very well in New York, especially at the end of the season where he went 8-0 with a 3.08 ERA after July 1st.
What does Ivan Nova have to do with Michael Pineda? They are very similar people. Both were born in San Cristobal in the Dominican Republic only two years and six days apart. They also both signed before the age of 17 and were both rookies in 2011.
They had different routes once they got to America, as Pineda was a highly-touted prospect while Nova actually was returned to the Yankees after the Rule V Draft by the Padres.
I have little doubt Michael Pineda can handle the pressure of New York, but what about Yankee Stadium? It is not what you would call a pitcher's park like Safeco Field.
In 2011 Pineda posted a 36 percent ground-ball rate and 0.95 HR/9. Neither of those numbers bodes well for the hitter's heaven we call Yankee Stadium.
You can also look at his home/away splits:
Home: 77 IP, 2.92 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, .182 BAA, 1.05 HR/9
Away: 94 IP, 4.40 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, .234 BAA, 0.86 HR/9
My first question is why does he give up significantly less home runs on the road when Safeco Field is supposed to be the pitcher's stadium? I have no answer to that, maybe because it was just too small a sample size.
His ERA looks downright awful, but that is a product of his low ground-ball rate. If he can work on inducing more ground balls, even if it means lowering his strikeout totals, he will be a more effective pitcher.
Pineda turns 23 years old in a week. He has been able to get by with pure stuff his whole life, an offseason with Larry Rothschild will do wonders.
That .234 BAA and 1.17 WHIP are both better than CC Sabathia's .275 BAA and 1.38 WHIP on the road.
I am obviously not saying he is better than Sabathia, I'm just saying to calm down with his splits, because those peripherals look pretty good to me.