Michael Pineda's AAA Debut: a 1-hit Shutout (1)

... six innings, that is.  One hit, three BB, five strikeouts.  Here is the play-by-play.  Pineda had a perfect game going until the ump :- ) walked somebody with two outs in the 4th ... and the only hit on the night was "a soft fly ball" to the right fielder.

Yes, you can assume with Dr. D's blessing that PCL umping is the cause of the pedestrian K/BB tonight. :- )  I don't think I've ever seen a PCL game where there weren't 10 or 20 howlers on ball-strike calls....

Was quite perturbed that Swamp-Thing debut'ed on a Wednesday night when I was working.  Like with Meryl Streep in Defending Your Life, we weren't interested in a review for any purpose other than enjoyment...


=== Dance With Who Brung Ya, Lou ===

Swamp-Thing's PCL tour has been a formality for quite some time, so the intriguing question is whether Zduriencik wants to hoard Pineda's service time, or whether he wants to hit his '010 club with a lightning bolt of electricity.  SSI has an inkling for allowing Pineda to detonate AL batters from the bullpen, in Neftali Perez fashion.


Discussion seems to revolve around Pineda's secondary stuff.  SSI firmly insists that we can't pound a square, Super-Talent peg into a round, Three-Pitch Craftsman hole.

Can't think of any starter in baseball who can bring plus-plus heat with such a compact delivery, and certainly no other pitcher who can command 95 as if he were Doug Fister throwing 88.  Pineda will definitely not need two good pitches, much less three.  But then again, the attempt to sharpen his deuce and trey is certainly not going to hurt anything.


=== Fastball-Only Pitchers ===

We've had this discussion many times before, but here are a few of the ML pitchers whose fastballs are so good, that they pitch well despite having nothing to go along with the fastballs.

Aaron Cook throws his fastball 80 to 85 percent of the time, and his slider, curve and change are all terrible pitches.  Check the career run values on his "secondary stuff":  every single non-fastball tool in his box has a run value worse than -1.00 -- lifetime.

I'll guarantee you that when Cook was coming up, they were saying that he needed work on his secondary stuff...


Rick Porcello throws almost 80% fastballs, and here are his career run values for all his other joke pitches:

  • Slider:  -2.69
  • Curve:  -2.50
  • Change:  -0.86


Wade Davis:  7.5 of every 10 pitches are fastballs; 1 in 10 pitches he throws a very mediocre slider and 1 in 10 times he throws a AAA-level curve.  (The run values are up to "mediocre" because he puts all the pressure on his fastball.)

Other guys in the majors who work hugely off their FB's include Fausto Carmona, Clayton Kershaw (has a power slider he doesn't throw much), Joel Pineiro, Derek Lowe, and of course Doug Fister has razed the American League with an almost exclusive diet of 88-mph fastballs poured into teacups.


The point is, you don't have to be afraid to let a pitcher work off his fastball if it is good enough -- a great fastball will carry dubious curves and changes.  That is assuming that Pineda's stuff really needs the extra polish that baseball men say it does; in my glimpses it has looked good to me.  FWIW, not much, since haven't seen him much.


Part 2


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