Tag Archives: Michael Pineda

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From 1996-2009, the New York Yankees were at the top of the mountain in Major League Baseball. The Yankees won five World Series Championships which was more than any other club over that stretch. And when it was all said and done, the Yankees had 27 World Series Titles which is more than any other MLB club. But since then the Yankees have a taken a step back which includes missing the playoffs in three of the last four years. However in the early stage of the 2017 MLB season, the Yanks are showing that they are once again a force to be reckoned with.

Gary Sanchez, Aaron Judge

The Yankees record of 21-11 is good enough to lead most divisions in Major League Baseball, but not the American League East as they are 1.5-games behind the Baltimore Orioles for the top spot and they have the second best winning percentage in baseball. After beginning the season with a record of 1-4, New York has gone on to win seven of their last nine series which included sweeps of the Tampa Bay Rays, St. Louis Cardinals, Boston Red Sox, and Chicago Cubs. The sweep of the Cubs put the rest of MLB on notice in regards to the Yankees as the Cubbies are the defending World Series Champions, and this occurred at their home ballpark of Wrigley Field. And although that it is only May, the folks in New York City are beginning to envision seeing this team make it to October.

Brian Cashman

At the request of Yankees owners Hank and Hal Steinbrenner, team general manager Brian Cashman has not been as active in free agency over the past few winters as New York has begun to focus on trading veteran players for prospects, while developing them in their system along with the ones whom they drafted.

We’ve begun to see these youngsters take flight for the Yankees and it began late last season with the emergence of catcher Gary Sanchez. Last year in just 53 games, Sanchez batted .299 with 20 home runs and 42 runs batted in to finish second in the American League Rookie of the Year voting. This season injuries have limited Sanchez to just 11 games, but he is expected to once again be a force to be reckoned with. Outfielder Aaron Judge made his Major League Baseball debut last year as he was only able to bat .179 in 27 games. However this season Judge has also been the jury and execution for New York as his 13 home runs lead the American League and he is a solid candidate to be named A.L. MVP.

The Yankees also have a surplus of talent in their minor league system that could soon be ready to help the big club. Pitcher Ben Heller outfielder Clint Frazier were a part of the Yankees compensation that they received for sending relief pitcher Andrew Miller to the Cleveland Indians last year. And like Sanchez and Judge, Frazier and Heller have the potential to be future building blocks for the Yankees. But aside from the youngsters, the Yankees are getting solid contributions from the veterans in their lineup.

Jacoby Ellsbury

After the Yankees signed outfielder Jacoby Ellsbury from the rival Red Sox, they have not gotten their money’s worth. Ellsbury helped Boston win the World Series in 2013, and he cashed in when he joined the Yanks to the tune of $153 million over seven years immediately following that. Ellsbury was supposed to be a table setter for the Yankees, but his first three years in New York saw him have a batting average of only .265, with an on-base percentage of .328. And this was on the heels of Ellsbury swiping 52 bases in 2013 which led the American League.

However this season Ellsbury is batting .280 to go along with an on-base percentage of .368 which is his best while wearing Yankee pinstripes and he has been a spark for them in their lineup.

Last year the Yankees acquired second baseman Starlin Castro from the Cubs. Castro enjoyed a solid first season with the Yankees as he batted .270 with 21 homers and 70 runs batted in. But here in 2017, Castro is off to a blazing start as his .351 batting average is second in the American League and his presence at the plate has given New York more depth.

Overall the offense of the Yankees is fierce as they are leading the American League in home runs (52), runs (182), and on-base percentage (.356). Cashman has put together a solid offense together, and even though that he wasn’t very active in free agency, he did make a key signing in picking up veteran outfielder Matt Holliday.

Holliday has always been a solid player which has seen him be a seven-time All-Star, while also helping the St. Louis Cardinals win the World Series in 2011. Holliday is 37-years of age, but he is off to a solid start at the plate as he is batting .286 with 6 home runs and 19 runs batted in. I expect Yankees manager Joe Girardi to give Holliday some time at designated hitter throughout the season in order to keep him fresh as having a veteran like him in the lineup as much as possible will be very beneficial to the club.

Coming into the 2017 Major League Baseball season I expected the Yankees pitching to be either feast of famine, and so far they have feasted. The Yankees team earned run average of 3.56 is third in the American League as they are receiving solid starting pitching.

Starting pitcher Michael Pineda has been the ultimate wild card for the Yankees throughout his career with them. But with Pineda scheduled to become a free agent at the end of this season, he has been dialed in on the mound. Pineda is 3-2 this season with an earned run average of 3.27, while striking out 50 batters. The same can be said for starting pitcher Luis Severino who is 2-2 this season with an earned run average of 3.40. This past Sunday, Severino got a no-decision against the Cubs, but he was still able to limit their potent lineup to just a single run over seven innings, while striking out nine batters.

At 36-yeas of age, veteran starting pitcher CC Sabathia might not be in the running to win the American League’s Cy Young Award like he was earlier in his career, but he knows how to pitch. Sabathia is 2-2 this season with an earned run average of 5.77. And whatever that Sabathia can’t do when he takes the mound every fifth day for the Yanks, he can pass on his knowledge of the game to the youngsters.

Arm issues along with Major League Baseball hitters getting adjusted to starting pitcher Masahiro Tanaka have meant that he has had to change his approach on the mound. Tanaka does have 5 victories so far this season, be he has benefited from the strong Yankees lineup as he is sporting an earned run average of 4.31.

Prior to trading relief pitchers Miller and Aroldis Chapman last year, the Yankees had the best bullpen in baseball. But after the trade that sent Miller to the Indians, along with the deal which sent Chapman to the Cubs, New York’s bullpen struggled as relief pitcher Dellin Betances was unable to shoulder the load. However with the Yankees bringing Chapman back in free agency, he is once again locking down the ninth inning as Betances is setting things up for him in the eighth. Chapman already has 7 saves this season, while Betances has 6 holds, and this combo will be vital in order for the Yankees to keep doing damage this season.

The Yankees are going to continue to hit this season as they have one of the best lineups in baseball. However it will come down to pitching in order for the Yankees to get back to the postseason. During the off-season Cashman avoided the temptation of giving up prospects to obtain the services of starting pitcher Chris Sale from the Chicago White Sox as he eventually was traded to the Red Sox. But regardless of whether or not that the Yankees current starting rotation which has had issues in recent years as far as staying healthy and pitching deep into games will be able to hold up, New York is going to need another frontline starter in order to be legitimate contenders for the World Series.

The American League East will once again be fierce as the Yankees are currently battling for the top spot in the division with the Orioles, while the Red Sox are laying in the weeds. The Rays might not have a playoff caliber team on paper, but they always play their divisional foes tough. And although that the Toronto Blue Jays have gotten off to a slow start, they are not out of the mix, while they can also play spoiler.

Coming into this Major League Baseball season, all of the talk in the Big Apple was focused on the New York Mets who have the sizzle, but through nearly six weeks it has been the Yankees who’ve been taking care of business. And although that the youngsters such as Judge and Sanchez are still wet behind the ears, it hasn’t prevented them from becoming household names in New York City as 2017 is setting up to be a very promising year for them and their teammates with the Yankees.

Source: Baseball-reference.com

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What Could Have Been For The Mariners

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With roughly 40 games left in the 2015 Major League Baseball season, the Seattle Mariners find themselves in an all too familiar situation. The Mariners have a record of 56-65 which is good for fourth place in the American League West as they are 9.5 games behind the first place Houston Astros in the division and they are 7 games behind the Los Angeles Angels for the AL’s final wild card spot. The M’s are well on their way to their fifth losing campaign in the past six years as they’ve failed to live up to the expectations that were thrust upon them when this MLB season began. And to make matters worse, the Mariners have to now sit back and watch a pair of their former prospects flourish on the East Coast.

Outfielder Adam Jones and starting pitcher Michael Pineda took different routes in their baseball lives. Jones was the 37th overall pick of the 2003 MLB Draft by the Mariners while Pineda was signed by Seattle in 2005 out of his native Dominican Republic.

Adam Jones

After three years in the minors, Jones made his debut with the M’s in 2006. And in that season with the Mariners, Jones hit a home run while driving in eight runs as he appeared in 32 games. Jones showed flashes in Seattle, but after going 88-74 in 2007, former Mariners general manager Bill Bavasi felt like he needed to make a move in order to get the team over the hump. In 2008, Jones was a part of a trade that saw the Mariners send five players to the Baltimore Orioles in exchange for starting pitcher Erik Bedard.

The Orioles were in the midst of rebuilding and thus they had no problem in allowing Jones to develop while the M’s felt that they were ready to contend for a playoff berth. The Mariners thought that they were getting a frontline starter in Bedard as he finished third in the American League in strikeouts for 2007 with 221 as a member of the Orioles, but he was far from dominant in the Pacific Northwest.

Erik Bedard

Shoulder issues limited Bedard to just 46 starts over three-plus seasons in Seattle. And Bedard would go on to miss the entire 2010 Major League Baseball season as he recovered from shoulder surgery. The Mariners finally gave up on Bedard in 2011 when they traded him to the Boston Red Sox. Aside from Bedard’s time with the Red Sox, he would spend time with the Pittsburgh Pirates, Houston Astros, and Tampa Bay Rays. And after failing to make the Los Angeles Dodgers team this year out of spring training, Bedard decided to retire. For Bedard, once he was traded to the Mariners, he never had another year in which he finished with a winning record.

Jones on the other hand has morphed into one of the best five-tool players in MLB. Jones is a five-time AL All-Star, four-time Gold Glove winner and he has become the face of the Orioles franchise. For his career, Jones has averaged a .280 batting average to go along with 25 home runs and 85 runs batted in. Jones has helped the Orioles make the postseason in two of the last three years and this week he is giving the Mariners another glimpse of what they gave up on.

The O’s were in Seattle to take on the Mariners last week and in that series, Jones went yard twice. And while the postseason appears to be an aberration for the Mariners at this point in 2015, the O’s find themselves in the midst of another playoff push as they are just a 1/2 game behind the Angels for the final wild card spot in the American League.

Michael Pineda

For Pineda, he made his Major League Baseball debut with the Mariners in 2011 as he compiled a record of 9-10 with a 3.74 earned run average. Pineda also struck out 173 batters in 2011 as he earned an All-Star Game appearance. In 2012, Pineda was a part of a deal that saw the Mariners and New York Yankees exchange top prospects. In exchange for Pineda, the Yankees would send catcher Jesus Montero to Seattle.

In parts of four years with the M’s, Montero is batting .254 with 21 home runs and 82 runs batted in which is a far cry from a player that the Yankees and the New York media were hyping up as the next big thing that would wear pinstripes. Shoulder issues would see Pineda miss the 2012 and 2013 Major League Baseball seasons, but he would start 13 games in 2014 as he compiled a record of 5-5 with a 1.89 earned run average. This season Pineda has a record of 9-7 with a 3.97 earned run average and he’s shown flashes of becoming a future ace in the Yankees starting rotation. On May 10, in a Yankees 6-2 victory over the Orioles, Pineda struck out 16 batters as his fastball can be tough for batters to catch up with at times. The flipside on Pineda is that he cannot stay healthy as he is currently on the disabled list with a forearm strain, but he is more than worth the risk for the Yankees.

All season long the Mariners have been searching for depth in their starting rotation behind starting pitcher Felix Hernandez who has been his typical “King Felix” self which is a void that Pineda could have filled if he were still in Seattle. Last year Mariners general manager Jack Zdurienceck went out and gave second baseman Robinson Cano $240 million over 10 years to leave the Yankees and sign with the M’s. And in 2015, Cano is in the midst of his worst statistical season at the plate as he is batting just .272 with 13 homers and 54 runs batted in. Mariners designated hitter Nelson Cruz is on pace for the best season of his 11-year Major League Baseball career-as he is batting .320 with 36 homers, 75 runs batted in, and an on-base percentage of .387 as the combination of Cruz, Jones , and Cano would more than likely have the Mariners currently in playoff contention.

But all of that is currently for the Mariners and their fan base is a pipe dream as they have one of the worst teams in baseball this year. In Baltimore, Jones has established himself has established as one of the best five-tool players in MLB while he has also became a leader in the Orioles clubhouse and the face of their franchise. And for Pineda, he still hasn’t figured out how good that he can truly be on the mound, but when he does, look out as we’ll never know how good that he and Jones could have been for the Mariners.

Source: Baseball-reference.com

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