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
Martinez Getting His Work In At ExtendedTAMPA, FL -- Nolan Martinez, the Yankees’ third round draft pick last year, dealt with a lat strain that kept him sidelined and off the mound for most of his debut season in the…
Pinstripes PlusThursday at 8:54 PM
Abreu Making Severino-Like SplashTAMPA, FL -- On consecutive nights in two different cities and very much at two different levels the Yankees fans saw what is and what could be. Luis Severino dominated a Red Sox…
Pinstripes PlusWednesday at 8:56 PM
Yankees Prospect Power RankingsHere are the top 20 performances by the Yankees' prospects in the long-season leagues. This is our second installment of the Power Rankings for the 2017 season.
Pinstripes PlusMonday at 8:56 PM
Five Needing Breakout SeasonsEvery prospect heads into a new season each year hoping for one but five Yankee prospects in particular really need to have a breakout season in 2017.
Pinstripes PlusSunday at 8:56 PM