Michael Pineda's Dead-Arm Phase? - Comps

Q.  Is Pineda a star at 92-95 mph?

A.  Well, today he took another step down in velo ... and had one of his two or three best starts.  

7 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 9 K ... he had 17 swings and misses ...  let's break Pineda down into three pitchers, at three velocities.


Q.  At 94-98 mph, Pineda reminds you of who?

A.  Of no pitcher I ever saw, at any time.  He reminds me of Clemens or Colon or Schilling, add a Kerry Wood slider.

Kerry Wood 1997, maybe?  No, Wood didn't have the command.  Even Randy Johnson had the two pitches, but not the command.  Pineda at 94-98 has the best stuff of any pitcher I've seen, except Pedro.

No pitcher in baseball has Pineda's intersection of supreme velocity, tiny BB rate and superb command.


Q.  At 92-96 mph, Pineda is like who?

A.  He reminds me of the young Roy Oswalt, except for the Momma I Grew The Kids part.  F/X backs up this impression:  the 2003-04 Oswalt had these attributes:

  • 93-94 mph
  • 2.50 walk rate
  • Had one (1) breaking pitch to go with the heater
  • Spectacular ERA's and W/L records

But at 92-96, Pineda throws harder than that Oswalt did, and his slider beats Oswalt's change-curve.

Don't you worry about the -2mph Pineda.  That guy still has a top-5 fastball, superb command, and a wipeout slider.  That's a Cy Young candidate, absolutely.


Note well that the young Roy Oswalt had a half season of arm problems, bouncing back through them with no long-term worries.  He missed some time in his second or third season, and then fired a long string of 220-IP innings. 

People forget, but when Roger Clemens came up, he missed a good amount of time with shoulder pain.  He retired at 44 with 4,900 innings.

Don't panic at the first sign of arm problems, is all we say.  Pitchers' arms hurt, kiddies.  

All the career IP leaders fanned a lot of hitters.  And a lot of them had DL time in their early 20's.  Walter Johnson's motion (and repertoire!) was quite a bit like Pineda's.


Guys like Josh Beckett, A.J. Burnett, and Justin Verlander reside in this general territory. 


Q.  At 91-94 mph, Pineda is like who?

A.  The young Jered Weaver was like this, kinda:

  • 89-90 mph ... sidearm ... into a teacup
  • Mainly two pitches (his F/X incorrectly splits out his curve and slider; check the identical movement)
  • 2 walks

The Pineda that we saw destroy the Nationals, reminds me of a Jered Weaver plus a couple feet on his fastball.  92 located, that's still a rough ride, padna.  I always hated seeing Jered Weaver's precision 90 mph fastball.

And Pineda's slider is becoming more and more sickening, despite the velo drop:  Thursday he threw 28 and got 7 garbage swings.  He was throwing it just off the corner for Beltre swings, he was backdooring it, he was coming down the middle like a changeup.

Jeremy Bonderman in 2006-07 was right in here.


Drop down another coupla mph .... fastballs with location, pitching off just a slider, preferably sidearm... Colby Lewis, in 2010-11, threw like this:  89-90 mph, great command, two pitches, FB and slider.   He was 8k and 2.5bb that way ... that's what Pineda would be if he lost another notch of command.

Derek Lowe is similar.  


Q.  So at the velocity he showed vs. the Nationals, he's still a Cy Young candidate going forward?

A.  He is, yes.

What he isn't, is an inhuman freak.  At 91-93, now you are talking about some LHB splits to deal with.  At 91-93, Pineda becomes an ordinary All-Star, like the #10 starter in the league.

I think I can speak without fear of contradiction when I say that all of us would prefer to see the Sidd Finch version.  But don't sweat Pineda's effectiveness.  He's a great pitcher, velocity aside.


Q.  Was it ever reasonable for the Mariners to ask a 22-year-old to pitch a full season?

A.  At Michael Pineda's age, Felix had logged three seasons for the Mariners, and was halfway to his free agency.  The idea that 22 is too young to pitch in the majors is silly.

But Michael Pineda is amp'ed up and throwing max effort, he's excited out there, and he could use a little reining in.

SSI is gingerly predicting that, if the M's will give him a breather or two this season, that he'll be smokin' for October.



Dr D



Seems like this has been a reoccuring theme -- I have heard via radio Drayer etc that Pineda has been intentionally dropping velocity in the first innings and ramping it up as the game continues on.. Wedge etc quoted as acknowledging this

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