Michael Pineda, entering his age-27 season, has never reached the 200 inning plateau.
In fact, Pineda topped out at 171 innings dating all the way back to 2011, his rookie season. After being traded to the New York Yankees for Jesus Montero following the 2011 season, Pineda missed the 2012 and 2013 seasons, entirely, before making his Yankees debut in an injury-shortened 2014 season, which saw him throw just 76 1/3 innings en route to a 1.89 ERA.
According to Dan Martin of the New York Post, Pineda has set the goal of 200 innings, the same goal he had in 2015:
"Every year I’m getting older and I need to work harder and harder. I’m a young guy, but every year I’m getting older."
Pineda, who built a gym in his home recently, began the season 5-0 with a 2.72 ERA, including a 16 strikeout performance over seven innings against the Baltimore Orioles, and shutting out the dominant Toronto Blue Jays for eight innings. Pineda was unable to maintain his success, finishing the season by going 7-10 over his last 20 starts with a 5.04 ERA.
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Pineda also added that he is excited for the addition of Aroldis Chapman to the Yankees bullpen, stating:
"I’m happy with this guy in the bullpen. You pitch six or seven innings, you have a good chance to win games. It’s awesome."
Taking everything into account, including the addition of Chapman, is it possible for Pineda to finally reach 200 innings in 2016? I believe that the Yankees bullpen will play a huge role in keeping the starters healthy and rested. The ability to pitch six innings and come away with a victory takes a lot of stress and pressure off the arms of many starters.
Assuming he isn’t traded before the end of Spring Training, Ivan Nova should also play a huge role in keeping the Yankees rotation fresh. While it is likely that Nova will open the season in the bullpen, I strongly believe that he should get several starts over the course of the season to protect the Yankees rotation, that could be shaky, but, if healthy, has the potential to be one of the better rotations in the American League.
It is hard to bet on Pineda reaching 200 innings, but I do believe he can remain healthy. I just don’t know if I can see him making more than 30 starts when factoring in starts that Nova makes, and a bullpen that could lead to an early hook on some nights.
What do you think Yankees fans? Can Pineda reach his goal of 200 innings? Let us know in the comments below.