Yankees Editorial: Michael Pineda A Leader In 2015?
The New York Yankees are looking for all assurances they can get this Spring with so many question mark heading into the 2015 season. Through all of the injuries and lack work they have dealt with the last couple of seasons, the Yanks want those question marks to turn into exclamations. There have been good signs so far, and the most important might be Michael Pineda.
Though he has only 5.0 IP so far, he has allowed only one hit and a walk. His three innings Saturday were near flawless. The one base runner he allowed was picked off, and 3.0 IP would end his day. While the stats are looking ideal, the new improved Michael Pineda is showing his growth in all areas you want a (hopefully) future ace to show.
Pineda has been focusing on his pitch arsenal this spring, he’s always had an effective fastball and slider, but is now improving the changeup to add to those. His four Ks on Saturday came on two sliders, and two fastballs. The fastball was at a constant rate of 95-96 MPH, slider was at 85-87 MPH. With now being able to keep his fastball at a high speed constantly, it gives him more to work with throughout at-bats.
So what else is different from this Pineda, compared to last year? Besides his pitch selection, it’s simply knowing himself and taking the next step to know how to reach the next level (which the Yankees know he can). This also adds to the improvements he has been making off the field.
Pineda mentioned his role helping Latin players in the clubhouse giving him a bigger role than just the team’s future young star. “I like to help the younger players. Especially the Latin players. They ask me a lot of questions. My heart feels good when I help them”. Pineda giving that kind of help is something a Masahiro Tanaka or CC Sabathia can’t do.
For Pineda to over come all the injuries and set backs he has endured it’s astounding for him to still be able to show maturity this early. At 26 years old, he is starting to show leadership the Yankees are looking for in this fairly young rotation. It’s a very real possibility of him having to show promise to take the #1 pitching role this season, with the unfortunate issues of CC’s knee, and a question mark of Tanaka’s elbow.
No matter what happens Michael Pineda is showing the team and fans exactly what they want to see, with not only his pitching, but an emergence as one of the leaders in the clubhouse. He’s one of many bright spots to look at heading into the season.
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