It has been over two years since the Yankees and Mariners made a trade that would shock the baseball world. Jesus Montero was coming off an impressive September showcasing his opposite field power in Yankee Stadium. The Mariners’ Michael Pineda was coming off a season which he posted a respectable 3.74 ERA along with 173 strikeouts. Both were expected to be the futures of their club until news broke that the Yankees sent a package of Hector Noesi and Montero for Jose Campos and Pineda.
Pineda has yet to throw a regular season pitch for the Yankees. As for the former Yankees catching prospect, he has been awful in Seattle and that’s an understatement. On top of that, Montero made things worse reporting to spring training 40 pounds overweight.
The pitcher took a huge step in the right direction. After rave reviews from Joe Girardi in almost every bullpen session, Pineda took the mound Friday night. He was brilliant.
“Very impressed,” one veteran scout said. “The Yankees should be pumped.”
He consistently hit his spots. He reached 91-93 mph with his fastball and his slider was devastating. The right-hander struck out four in just two innings of work. One of those four being Miguel Cabrera.
“I think there’s a lot of confidence in there and I think he feels good,” Girardi said after the game. “We like what we saw. I don’t want to make too much of it, but I’ve said all along, he looks different this spring compared to what we saw a couple springs ago.”
The 25-year-old is battling for the 5th spot in the Yankees starting rotation and it’s safe to say he has a leg up. Impressing Girardi multiple times already this spring and again tonight, Pineda feels great about the direction things are heading in.
“I’m feeling 100 percent right now,” he said. “My body is in the perfect shape. I’m ready to go.”
Michael Pineda is someone you may want to put on your watch list. If he comes close to being the guy he was in 2011 for the Mariners, the Yankees will be in fantastic shape. Although Pineda has not been much to write home about so far, fans should be very excited for things to come.