Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Meet A Prospect : Michael Pineda

Michael Francisco Paulino Pineda was born on January 18th, 1989 in Yaguate, San Cristobal in the Dominican Republic. Pineda has a big and intimidating frame standing at 6'7" and weighing in at 265 lbs and used every bit of that frame to blow Major Leaguers away since the 2011 season with a fastball that averages 94.7 mph. He has yet to appear in a game for the Yankees so it seems almost fitting to re-introduce everybody to the guy that cost us Jesus Montero, Mr. Michael Pineda.

Michael Pineda signed as a International Free Agent with the Seattle Mariners at age 16 in December of 2005 out of the Dominican Republic. Michael would spend the next five seasons in the Mariners system with mixed results. In 2006 and 2007 Michael Pineda dominated the Dominican Summer League with a combined 8-2 record with a sub two point ERA as a starter. In 2008 Pineda made the jump to A Ball and was named the Mariners Minor League Pitcher of the Year while leading the organizations farm system in ERA strike outs, and opposing batting average. Pineda was slowed down in 2009 because of an elbow strain that kept him out a big chunk of that season only allowing him to pitch 47.1 innings that season. Back healthy for the 2012 season Pineda split time between the Mariners AA and AAA affiliates and once again won the organizations Pitcher of the Year award while being a finalist for  the USA Today Minor League Player of the Year award before being shut down after 140 IP as a precaution.

The 2011 season would see Michael Pineda make his debut for the big league club Seattle Mariners after five seasons in their minor league system. Pineda would make the All Star Game as a replacement for Justin Verlander in his rookie season and pitched a perfect inning including striking out the National League's Scott Rolen and Rickie Weeks in his frame. Pineda would finish the 2011 season with an unimpressive 9-10 record but with a very impressive 3.74 ERA for a rookie even though he did not record a win in any of his final seven starts of the final two months of the season. Pineda would finish fifth in the Rookie of the Year voting after striking out 173 batters in 171 innings pitched. In January of 2012 the Mariners traded Michael to the New York Yankees along with Jose Campos for catcher and uber-prospect Jesus Montero and Hector Noesi.

Pineda's tenure as a Yankee would not start out on the foot that he probably expected after a less then stellar Spring Training and an extreme loss of velocity and control. The Yankees would eventually put him on the 15 day disabled list with a tendinitis in his right throwing shoulder. This would eventually cost Michael the entire 2012 season after a anterior labral tear caused him to require surgery while he hurt himself in a rehab assignment. Add a DUI arrest for Pineda in August of 2012 and the Yankees not expecting to see him back on a Major League mound before June or July of 2013 and you can understand why some Yankees fans are upset with Michael Pineda. The best thing though is Pineda is still young and will still be under team control for three more seasons after 2013 and has plenty of time to make all the haters forget the beginning of his career and see what he has done lately.

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Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)