Back before the season began, one of the biggest questions on Geoff Baker Live! was what a reasonable expectation was for rookie pitcher Michael Pineda.
I believe my answer was something like it would be nice to see him hit 10 wins with an ERA in the low-to-mid-4.00s and roughly 150 innings pitched.
Well, Pineda finished the season 9-10 with an ERA of 3.74 over 171 innings. He also made the all-star team in the first half, so, yes, I’d say he reached expectations and even exceeded them to a point.
Clearly, the second half was not as successful for Pineda, who went from a 3.03 ERA before his all-star appearance to a 5.17 ERA after it.
But the downturn was not as dramatic as those numbers make it appear. He went from a .198 opponents batting average against to a .228 in the second half. Still a very good number down the stretch. Let’s not forget, he threw fewer innings by design and was pulled from games early when going longer might have taken his ERA down.
He also had a team behind him that did not play as well in the final two-plus months as it did the first three-plus.
Here are Pineda’s monthly Fielding Independant Pitching (FIP) stats to show how he pitched outside of the defense behind him.
April — 2.25
May — 3.14
June — 3.90
July — 3.17
August — 4.13
September — 3.41
As you can see, his numbers were fairly consistent throughout, as were his strikeouts versus his walks.
Pineda ran about a 3-to-1 K/BB ratio for a most of the months he pitched, with one brief surge in May. You’ll live with any rookie striking out three guys for every walk he issues. Live with it and smile.
So, a successful first season. We’ll see next year how that changeup progresses and whether he can also find more variations of his fastball to make him a three-or-four-pitch threat. But we know his first two pitches — the four-seam fastball and slider — are already big weapons for him in the majors.