LA Angels: Don't Underrate Joel Pineiro's Injury
Yesterday, I managed to get the day off from and thought I would treat myself to a little afternoon baseball. Luckily, my beloved Red Sox were taking on the Angels and one of my fantasy starters (Joel Pineiro) was slated to take the mound.
But no, Pineiro strained his oblique muscle during warm-ups and is now on the shelf for 6-8 weeks, basically ruining what was turning into a pretty good follow up to his breakout 2009 season.
There was a lot of skepticism when Pineiro moved to the American League because he isn’t an overpowering pitcher (5.58 K/9 in 1458 1/3 IP). Facing a designated hitter instead of an opposing pitcher should spell disaster for someone like that. Add in the fact that he was no longer with pitching coach Dave Duncan and there were plenty of reasons to doubt him.
I wrote an article in the preseason about drafting pitchers and mentioned that if you could handle the paltry strikeout numbers, Pineiro was a bargain at the end of drafts. If you look at his numbers so far this season (4.18 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, 83:32 K:BB in 131 1/3 IP) you would sit there unimpressed, but the truth is he has been very valuable, especially in head-to-head leagues.
Pineiro still induces groundballs at a 55.4 percent rate, which is down from his 60.5 mark last season but still seventh in the majors. In 20 starts, Pineiro has allowed fewer than three earned runs in 14 of them.
If we split his season up in the good and the ugly you will see how useful Pineiro has been when he’s been on his game:
Pineiro has been absolute lights out in his 14 quality starts, and there’s a good chance you would have started him in most of them because 10 of them were at home where Pineiro has posted a 7-2 record with a 2.37 ERA and 1.11 WHIP this season. In fact, the only start at home where he allowed more than three earned runs was against the New York Yankees on April 24.
Pineiro isn’t on the level of No. 1 or even No. 2 starters, but he has been more useful than most realize. So before you quickly dismiss Pineiro’s injury, take a second to realize the type of season Pineiro was having.
I told you to target him before the season and he more than backed me up so don't make the same mistake in 2011.
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