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Michael Pineda vs. Matt Cain and what it means for Pineda's velocity

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  • Michael Pineda vs. Matt Cain and what it means for Pineda's velocity

    For the record, I think this whole Pineda velocity thing is getting way too much attenttion and is overblown. If I'm the Yankees, I'd be more concerned with Ivan Nova's total lack of command. Anyway...

    Back in January, I loved this trade. Months later, I still stand by this trade. That said, I definitely don't love the whole deal of Pineda's velocity. Recently over at TYA, I read an articel about whether or not Pineda could be effective at a lower velocity. (Link). This got me thinking; Are there any pitchers who are similar to Pineda in terms of pitches who have had sucessful big league careers at a lower velocity. I was still pondering this when Matt Cain's name came up in Fantasy Baseball talks (Him and Dan Haren are popular pitchers in my circle of friends). The more I thought about it, the more it made sense. So, I did a comparison

    For reference, I used both pitchers first 28 starts in their rookie seasons for all the info. The K and BB totals were calculated using K/9 and B/9, so they aren't the exact amount (For Cain anyway). Note that Cain wasn't restrained by the Giants down the stretch while Pineda was (He made 32 starts his rookie year, versus Pineda's 28). So, here are the numbers:

    Matt Cain, 2006, SF Giants
    28 starts
    164 Innings
    3.95 ERA
    153 K (8.1 K/9)
    76 BB (4.1 BB/9)
    135 Hits
    15 HR
    108 ERA+

    Michael Pineda, 2011, Seattle Mariners
    28 Starts
    171 Innings
    3.74 ERA
    173 K (9.1 K/9)
    55 BB (2.9 BB/9)
    133 Hits
    18 HR
    103 ERA+


    No it's not exact, but it's also quite close in many regards. Cain has always sat in the lower 90s velocity wise and has been a fly ball pitch who keeps the ball in the park. Pineda isn't far from that pitcher, except for the fact he strikes out way more batters and walks less(Cain's career rates are about 7 K/9 and 3 BB/9). Additionally, both played for teams who don't really score and pitch half the time in Pitcher friendly parks. Even if he regresses a bit from the AL East and a lack in velocity, His Peripherals could still be better then Cain's. One could even make the argument that the pressure of NY and actual run support could actually make Pineda pitch better. I won't argue that this is a flawless agrument. There are definitely holes here. But Cain is set to become a free agent next year and command probably 15+ million. Many fans said we should trade for Cain this offseason. Many of those same fans are now angry about Pineda's velocity. If Pineda basically becomes a similar pitch to Matt Cain, I'd be okay with that. Yes, we dealt our top porspect to get him, but it's not like we emptied our pockets for Felix Hernandez and all of a sudden he lost some velocity. Keep in mind Pineda's still very young and just underwent his first full ML season. He may be a little worn out. Give it time, I feel his velocity will come back. But if it doesn't, don't be crying to sign Matt Cain next year if he's a free agent. Jst sayin'..

    A bit of a rant, but I really found this very interesting.

  • #2
    Or you could compare to Hughes.

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