Michael Pineda: So Far, So Good for Seattle Mariners Starter

Adam BernacchioAnalyst IIIApril 13, 2011

SEATTLE - APRIL 12:  Starting pitcher Michael Pineda #36 of the Seattle Mariners pitches against the Toronto Blue Jays at Safeco Field on April 12, 2011 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

Before the season, Seattle Mariners GM Jack Zduriencik was faced with a tough decision. Does he leave pitcher Michael Pineda in the minors or does he have him start the season with the big club and lose a season of team control?


After an impressive spring, Zduriencik felt Pineda earned a spot in the rotation and had him start the year with the Mariners. So far, that decision looks like the right one.

Pineda has gotten off to an impressive start and last night. He overpowered a very good Toronto Blue Jays’ lineup.

Pineda allowed just five hits and one earned run while striking out seven over 7.1 innings of work. He threw 102 pitches and threw first-pitch strikes to 23 out of the 29 batters he faced. That’s impressive.

Perhaps the most impressive part of Pineda’s evening was his fastball. It was routinely clocked in the mid-90s and out of the 73 four-seam fastballs he threw, he got the Blue Jays to swing and miss 14 times. Trust me when I tell you, it wasn’t a John Tudor fastball he was throwing up there.

The Mariners already have one ace at the top of the rotation with Felix Hernandez. If Pineda continues to develop the way everyone thinks he will, they will have two aces in their rotation.

Here are some other things you need to know about Michael Pineda:

Age: 22

Throws: Right

College: None

Drafted: Signed as an amateur free agent by the Mariners in 2005 out of the Dominican Republic

Minor League Stats:

Year Lev ERA GS IP ER SO WHIP H/9 HR/9 BB/9 SO/9
5 Seasons 2.4971404.11123961.0837.
FRk (2 seasons)FRk1.821579.116621.2869.
A (1 season)A1.9521138.1301281.0417.
AA (1 season)AA2.221377.019781.0917.
Rk (1 season)Rk0.0023.0040.6676.
AAA (1 season)AAA4.761262.133761.1397.81.32.511.0
A+ (1 season)A+2.84844.114480.7895.
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 4/14/2011.

Keith Law Ranking and Analysis:

Ranking: No. 21 out of 100 best prospects in baseball in 2011

Analysis: “Pineda missed a huge chunk of 2009 with an elbow injury (not the kind that requires Tommy John surgery), but had a full, healthy season in 2010 and saw his velocity and offspeed stuff improve substantially. Pineda was skinny to the point of scrawny before the 2009 injury, but has grown a little and added 20-25 pounds while seeing his fastball jump to the mid-to-upper 90s, touching 100 at times.

He can locate the fastball extremely well, and it sets up the mid-80s split-change, with the slider becoming tighter as the 2010 season went on, until the Mariners shut him down for precautionary reasons. On the right night you could grade either offspeed pitch as above-average to plus, and if one of those becomes more consistent — and he stays healthy — he could be No. 1a to King Felix’s No. 1 in Seattle’s rotation.”

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