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2011 Stats: 171 IP, 9-10, 3.74 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 173 K, 55 BB
Projected 2012 Stats: 200 IP, 17-7, 3.28 ERA, 1.08 WHIP, 205 K, 62 BB
Brian Cashman and the New York Yankees made a big risk when they traded Jesus Montero for Michael Pineda.
The Yankees' rotation was very weak but right now it looks very good...on paper. I already wrote an article on Pineda that goes into a little more detail but I will summarize those thoughts here.
Most people are worried about Pineda's move from Safeco Field to Yankee Stadium and his ERA spiking after the All-Star break. But I am not as worried about that as most people.
Luck may not seem like a good reason for a player to improve but it is. Pitchers can only control a few things. Stats like BABIP, HR/FB rate and runners stranded are not in the pitcher's control.
He was extremely unlucky on the road because his BABIP is .066 higher away from Safeco. He also has a 10.5 percent HR/FB at home and a lower 7.8 percent HR/FB on the road even though Safeco Field is supposed turn home runs into routine fly balls.
He also only stranded 64.4 percent of runners on the road in 2011 even though the league average is 75 percent.
Pineda was a very unlucky pitcher on the road in 2011.
His FIP on the road is 3.26 but his FIP at home is 3.62. Neither of those are bad at all and he is actually better on the road away from Safeco Field.
Pineda actually improved as the season went on, despite what his sudden spike in ERA will tell you.
His ground ball rate was from 31.3 percent from March to June and then from September to October it was 45.3 percent. That is a huge improvement. His strikeout and walk rates also remained fairly constant throughout the year.
After the All-Star break he had a 5.14 ERA, right? Sounds awful. He also had a 3.22 xFIP during that time, which is actually pretty good.
If Pineda can improve like any 23-year-old pitcher should, he can become a very good No. 2 pitcher behind C.C. Sabathia.