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We all have things we know aren't good for us, yet go back to them all the time. It happens often in relationships. We have had that ex-girlfriend or boyfriend who always sucks us right back. We have friends, who as soon as they break up with each other, we know they will be back together at some point. There might be a temporary amount of enjoyment, but in the end, it always ends in disappointment. Every single time. You know it yet can't stop going back. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. This phenomenon also occurs in Fantasy Baseball and the epitome of this cyclical sequence is New York Yankees SP Michael Pineda.
All the underlying numbers scream that Pineda should be an elite pitcher. The problem is he's not. Pineda isn't being drafted early, but he's going to provide those dominant starts that get your hopes high and then crush your dreams when he gets hammered.
Don't get sucked in by Pineda. He made 32 starts last season and went 6-12 with a 4.82 ERA and 1.35 WHIP. However, when you look deeper, there are some numbers that shine through the surface. He had a 10.61 K/9, 2.72 BB/9, 32.6 percent fly ball rate and a 14.1 percent swinging strike rate. He throws hard with an average fastball of 94 miles per hour and has an excellent slider.
Home runs have been an issue for him and pitching at Yankee Stadium doesn't help. Pineda had a HR/9 of 1.18 in 2015 and 1.38 last season. Twenty of the 27 home runs he allowed last season came at home. Yankee Stadium isn't the only problem, though. Pineda had a 4.72 ERA at home and 4.91 on the road.
Pineda doesn't issue many walks partly because he's always in the strike zone, but with poor command. Hitters aren't going to take walks if they can hit pitches and make hard contact, which happens far too often with Pineda.
It's easy to say the peripherals are great and he will eventually produce better numbers as the 3.34 FIP in 2015 and 3.80 FIP in 2016 suggest. But unless he makes an adjustment, it's difficult to see it changing.
Just by looking at monthly production, you can see the dominance and the times he gets hammered. Last year, Pineda’s monthly ERAs were: 6.33, 7.52, 2.75, 4.80, 5.08 and 3.21. A lot of the talk is that Pineda tends to lose focus, especially with two outs. He allowed 53 percent of his runs last season with two outs. There's a mental part of pitching and Pineda doesn't seem to have it nailed down.
He has always had good stuff and generated a lot of swings and misses and it has never translated into good stats for Fantasy purposes. One issue is he throws mainly two pitches. If he falls behind in the count, hitters often sit on the fastball and hit it hard. Pineda had a 4.37 ERA and 1.23 WHIP in 2015. He has a 3.99 career ERA, including 4.10 as a Yankee.
Pineda is cheap in drafts and if he can add an effective changeup, it could help him finally live up to the skills, but he's had excellent peripherals a few times and failed to meet expectations. Unless that changeup works, I think he underperforms again.