2011 Rookie Of The Year?
Micheal Pineda was a surge of excitement for dreary Mariners fans surviving the 101 losses of 2010. There are lots of things being said about the Mariners #5 starter, but consider these five words in describing his first year:
Diabolical. (Courtesy of the late Dave Niehaus)
At 6’7” and 230 lbs Pineda was an intimidating presence on the mound. The movement on his slider and the heat of his fastball was surprisingly “wicked” to batters. The weakness was his dependence on his heat. He will not be able to throw that hard every season without “wicked” injuries to follow. It would be good to see him develop a couple more pitches and vary his speeds more for next season.
The Dominican Republic native has shown his capability to be a competitor in the big leagues as he was named rookie of the month in April and selection on the 2011 AL All-Star team. However like all sensational acts, there is danger of being a one-hit wonder.
While the Mariners would love to have the 2011 Rookie Of The Year, they would rather have a 5 time CY young award winner in 2020.
Pineda has shown that he has the capacity to develop into something into the future. The question is if that “something” is good or disappointing. When he was new in the league he was surprising, and made great achievements. As the opposition scouted him out more, hitters knew what to expect and his weaknesses began to show more and more until he fell apart in the last start at the end of the season. The hope is that he moves past potential into incredible
As a pitcher, Pineda’s approach to the game was both his greatest strength and greatest weakness. When he was calm and collected his intensity was a weapon as he scared the living snot out the 5’ 10” guy at the other end of his 98MPH fastball. However, if the game turned foul, he didn’t get run support, or the team struggled his intense personality worked against him. He became scared of himself, lost confidence and tried to compensate by throwing harder instead of throwing smarter.
There can be a lot of speculation about Pineda’s strengths and weaknesses but it must be remembered is that this was his ROOKIE season. This was a year to learn so that in following years he can dominate. What Pineda looks like next spring will be more of an indicator for the rest of his career will look like. There is no doubt of his physical talent, but he needs to develop his mental game. Hopefully he takes the off season to learn from his first big league experience and show up as a in spring training a veteran instead of a second year rookie.
Michael Pineda is an investment. Like any investment there are risks of failures and liabilities, but if the risks are avoided the returns are awesome.