Mid-Season Report Card: Michael Pineda
The definition of inconsistency, Michael Pineda was hoping to silence his former critics and put it together before his first chance at free agency. Big Mike did not have to fight for his spot in the starting rotation like some of his teammates had to and actually looked like he was going to have his best season yet out of the gate, but after his recent stretch of struggles, he is currently one of the Yankees most unreliable starters.
Michael Pineda started the season hot and looked as if he had finally put it all together. He was pitching like an All-Star and had an ERA of 3.32 as the calendar flipped to June. Like most of the Yankees’ team, June brought Pineda struggles, and he pitched poorly during that span allowing opponents to hit .312 against him. He allowed almost as many hits in June as he did in April and May combined, and had an ERA of 5.35 for the month. All in all, Pineda’s inconsistency has him at an 8-4 record with a mediocre 4.39 ERA. His strikeout to walk ratio remains solid, but he is allowing a ton of hits and home runs, which is the source of his recent struggles.
During the Yankees’ summer slide, their pitching has been the team's biggest weakness, and Pineda will need to step up, if the Yankees want to contend. At this point, Pineda would likely be the odd man out of a playoff rotation, and he hasn’t showed any signs of improving in July. Pineda will need to work on his fastball location and off-speed sharpness in the second-half of the season. When his slider is flat and his fastball is left up in the strike zone, he is prone to the home run, and it is one of his Achilles heels on the mound. If Pineda can fix this, he can once again be extremely effective, however with improvement, there is, historically, a hard falling back down to Earth for Pineda.
Inconsistency has been the definition of Pineda’s career in pinstripes, and 2017 has been the same story. He is an extremely unpredictable pitcher, so it is very difficult to accurately project how the rest of his season will fare. There is the possibility that he puts together an extremely impressive stretch in July or August, but with that comes the chance that he pitches poorly for four or five consecutive starts. When Pineda is on, he is easily one of the better pitchers in the league, and he has a large amount to prove to not only the Yankees, but the rest of Major League Baseball in the second-half of 2017.
Article by: Ryan Thoms