Bad news for the Jays? Yanks go from a rotation-on-the-rocks to possibly one of the best rotations in the AL with the addition of Pineda and Kuroda.
But – as with any young pitcher – there are questions about Pineda. Granted, he has only pitched 28 games, so the sample size is small. But it is interesting that …
His “away” ERA is 1.5 runs higher than his “home” ERA
Pineda’s 3.74 overall ERA in 2011 was excellent. But it is interesting that it is composed of a 2.92 at home in Safeco and a 4.40 on the road. Safeco was, of course, the 4th best pitchers park in baseball in 2011. As a reference, the MLB AL average ERA in 2011 was 4.08.
He struggled in AL East ballparks
He pitched well in Tampa, with an ERA of 3.00. But his ERA was 4.50 in Baltimore, 7.11 in Toronto, and 14.54 in Boston. He has never pitched in NY.
Good hitting teams hit him … good
Top 5 teams in the AL last year in runs scored were Boston, Yankees, Texas, Detroit, Toronto. Their average SLG was .442. In 10 games against those teams, of which 4 were in pitcher-friendly Safeco, Pineda held them to a SLG of .. .448.
He regressed in the second half
Pineda’s ERA in the first half was a stellar 3.03. In the second half, it was 5.12.
Could have been him tiring – he did pitch 171 innings in 2011. But of those 171 innings, 113 were in the first half … and in the minors in 2010, he pitched 139 innings. So SEA pretty much stayed within the "previous year + 30 innings" rule.
The alternate explanation could be that teams found him easier to hit the second time around.
His BABIP indicates some good luck
Pineda’s BABIP in the first half was .247. In the second half, it was .286. Conventional wisdom is that most pitchers’ BABIP will trend, long term, to the league average – which was .297 in 2011. It is true that better pitchers sometimes have a lower BABIP but that is rare – for example, Roy Halladay’s career BABIP over 10,000+ PAs is .295.
So – in BABIP terms – it appears that Pineda’s second half is a more probable indicator of his future performance than his first half.
** ** ** **
I am not suggesting that Pineda will be a flop, or that I would not have liked to see him on the Jays. But I think that there are still some questions to be answered. It will be interesting to see how he Pineda does in Pinstripes!