A Baseball Weblog

Friday, May 27, 2011

Pineda PITCHf/x

Michael Pineda is undoubtedly the best rookie pitcher in the league.  The way he's looked recently, he's probably in the discussion for the best pitcher in the league overall.  Consider some overall numbers and his rank among American Leaguers:

MetricPerformance Rank
Fangraphs' WAR1.97

Keep in mind that he's only 21.  Both Baseball Info Solutions and PITCHf/x agree that Pineda throws the hardest fastball in the majors this year, averaging just under 96 mph, so he's certainly got good stuff.  In addition to his hard four-seam fastball, he throws a slider that he'll vary from the low to high 80s and a changeup that's usually around 89 mph (click the links for photos of Pineda's pitch grips).  There might be some sinkers in there as well, but his fastball is pretty much going to be of the four-seam variety.  I've included the spin deflection chart of his pitches below, even though Safeco calibration can get messy at times.  I'm guessing there's not as much spread on his fastball movement as the graph might have you believe.  

NOTE: The sinkers I classified (exactly three of them) are lumped in with the four-seamers on this chart, and I noticed that there are a small handful of changeups that still have a fastball distinction (Gameday's algorithm had a world of trouble with that); my apologies. 

As you would suspect, Pineda does a good job at getting batters to swing and miss at his pitches.  In fact, his fastball has the fifth best whiff rate (minimum 150 swings) in the majors so far this year (well, it did as of earlier this week).  Whiff numbers, along with some others that I like to use, are in the table below.  

mph#Swing RateWhiff RateZone RateBall RateCalled RateGB Rate


Pineda is an extreme fly-ball pitcher, but he's got the spacious Safeco Field on his side to help with home run prevention.  As you can see, he doesn't throw a ton of changeups, and it's by far his worst pitch.  It's "still in development," you might say.  These minor quibbles aside, we've got a young ace on our hands here.  I definitely look forward to seeing him go to work tonight.


  1. Do you think he is putting unusual strain on his arm? These young pitchers with amazing stuff seem to end up on the DL sooner rather than later.

  2. Not likely; his mechanics are fine. He mostly has amazing stuff because he's huge.

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