2014 may be the year where fantasy owners and baseball fans will finally see Michael Pineda in a New York Yankees uniform. After missing the last two seasons while recovering from shoulder surgery, the 25-year-old pitcher has been on the fast track to take a spot in the starting rotation.
Pineda impressed Seattle Mariners coaches in Spring Training and earned the No. 2 spot in the rotation. In his first year, Pineda went 9-10 with a 3.74 ERA in 28 starts. After the first couple of months, Pineda’s struggled piled up. Over his last 17 starts, he went 3-8 and an ERA of 4.74. At the end of the season, he had 173 strikeouts in 171.0 innings.
Many experts believed Pineda was close to being ready for a late-season debut in 2013. Pineda pitched well in his time down in the minors. Throughout Class A+, AA and AAA, Pineda finished with a 2-1 record, 3.23 ERA, 1.11 WHIP and 41 strikeouts in 40 innings.
Pineda has been taking huge strides, getting ready for the 2014 season. He threw a bullpen session last Monday, impressing manager Joe Girardi. “He just looked like it came out free and easy to me. I’m anxious to see him obviously get in some games in the next 12 days or so,” he said.
With two years away from the majors, there are some concerns about how much Pineda will struggle in the first couple of months. Rotochamp.com has Pineda listed as the No. 6 starter, behind David Phelps. If Pineda can continue his progress and build the arm strength, there should be no reason he isn’t the No. 5 starter.
Pineda is still very young with a lot of upside. If he does get a spot in the rotation, expect a .500 record with a low ERA and WHIP while posting a K/9 close to 9.0. Pineda will make a great No. 4 option for fantasy owners in the later rounds.