After a 2013 season filled with ups and downs, Branden Pinder is trying to stand out in a talented, Scranton bullpen after his promotion in early May.
Walks proved to be his biggest hurdle last season at the higher levels, walking 16 batters in 24.1 innings for Double-A Trenton last season, and Pinder acknowledges that limiting his free passes is vital to his effectiveness.
"I've been trying to get better at limiting my walks after last year," Pinder said, "trying to get ahead with a fastball or even offspeed now and then just going from there and really just trying to always stay ahead in the count."
And staying ahead in the count is what Pinder has done to this point of 2014. In 24.2 innings, Pinder has only allowed four walks which is a huge improvement after struggling to command the strike zone in 2013.
Pinder has been pleased with his season to this point and is encouraged by the way his slider has improved.
"My fastball command has been working well so far and my secondary pitches have been coming along as well," he said. "I've been doing better at getting ahead of hitters and trying not to walk as many people."
Francisco Arcia has caught the majority of Pinder's innings for the Railriders so far and said there was a noticeable effort on Pinder's part to limit his walks.
"For him to cut down on walks is really good because that gives him the chance to come into a tie game or winning game and be effective," Arcia noted.
In order for him to control the strike zone, Pinder relies on a fastball, slider, and changeup to go after hitters.
"I am mainly relying on my fastball and slider right now," Pinder admitted. "The slider has been working well for me, I really worked on that in Spring Training and then my changeup is still developing and I'm just trying to throw that pitch as much as I can."
"His best pitches are his fastball and slider," Arcia agreed. "He is continuing to work on all of his pitches and he doing really good with that. He is at his best when he is consistent and locating his pitches which will always help him."
While his walk count continues to stay low, Pinder will be the first one to admit that there is always room for improvement. After getting roughed up a bit in two innings of work on May 25, Pinder's 2014 line between Trenton and Scranton stands at: 24.2 IP, with a 1.62 ERA and four walks going along with 22 strikeouts.
"My biggest things to work on are my secondary pitches and being able to throw those for strikes when I am behind in the count," Pinder stated.
The one pitch that has always been there for the 6-foot-3 righty has been his fastball and he noted that his best pitch was important for him to use to his advantage.
"My fastball command is always something that I look to get better at, I am working on just trying to keep the ball down on hitters."
Arcia seemed to be very encouraged by what he has seen from the 25-year old thus far.
"Pinder is really getting better every day," Arcia said. "He is always working on things and you can see him getting better when he goes out on the mound."
Pinder On The Attack More This Season
Pinstripes Plus Top Stories
Chance Deserves A ChanceSCRANTON, PA -- Twenty-two-year old top pitching prospect Chance Adams has once again been dominant in 2017, this time for the Triple-A Scranton RailRiders, and he may soon see…
Pinstripes PlusThursday at 8:57 PM
Gomez Taking ControlTRENTON, NJ - Former starter and current relief pitcher, Anyelo Gomez, is 24-years old and has moved up three levels in the Yankees system this year. Now at the Double-A level,…
Pinstripes PlusWednesday at 8:45 PM
Tate Building Up His ConfidenceTAMPA, FL -- Although he hasn’t had too many outings on the mound yet this season, Tampa Yankees starter Dillon Tate, who sports a perfect 4-0 mark in his first five starts, has…
Pinstripes PlusTuesday at 6:49 AM
Amundaray Looking To Turn A CornerTAMPA, FL -- Jonathan Amunduray signed with the Yankees three years ago while only 16 years old. Since then the Venezuelan outfielder, who has always had the physical tools to be a…
Pinstripes PlusSunday at 4:05 AM
Polo Stepping UpTRENTON, NJ -- The Yankees made a slew of trades last year to bring in a number of high-end prospects but perhaps the one trade that flew under the radar was the Ivan Nova trade…