Monday, February 6, 2012

Prospect for Prospect

By Corey R. Cunningham

Catcher Jesus Montero was traded to the Mariners in exchange for RHP Michael Pineda. At first glance, with Pineda's performance in 2011, the winner was the NY Yankees, however, analyzing the trade, it seems as if it is a 50/50 split.

RHP Michael Pineda was limited to 171 inning of work in 2011, something common for most rookie pitchers and for pitchers coming off previous surgery or shoulder injuries. Pineda missed most of the 2009 season due to elbow strain. In 2010 he battled back and pitching 139 innings in a combination of AA and AAA. In that particular season he went 8-1 with a 2.22 ERA in Class AA West Tenn. Diamond, he had 78/K and just 17/BB in 77IP. In AAA with the Tacoma Rainers he went 3-3 with a 4.76 ERA, 76/K and 17BB in 62 innings of work. Baseball America named Pineda the Mariners' Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2010.

In 2011 during my minor league draft, I had two first round minor league picks(2nd and 8th overall) in my dynasty league. Keep in mind, this is a 20 man minor roster, and we draft every year, although we can keep as many as 20 if we so choose. In this particular year, I drafted 1B Giants prospect Brandon Belt with the 2nd overall selection, and with the 8th overall selection I nabbed RHP Pineda. I was eying Pineda all year in the draft, and luckily he slid all the way to the 8th overall pick. I was very pleased with his production in 2011, and he was promoted to my MLB roster sometime in May. Although, I am a huge NY hater, I will still continue to root for Pineda just as long as he doesn't beat my REDSOX!!!

Pineda shelled out what I thought was an incredible 2011 season for the Seattle Mariners; 9-10 with a 3.74 ERA. Seattle held him to 171 innings worked, as he dealt just a hair over a strikeout an inning with a total of 173, and with just 55/BB. Most fantasy owners will hesitate to draft Pineda early due to pitching in the big city, and dealing with the AL East. He is capable of a 15 win season with the Yankees, although his ERA will more than likely rise. Again, I will continue to follow Pinedas' success in NY, not only because he is now a known enemy (RedSox fan), but because he is worth the price of Jesus Montero.

The Yankees have two catching prospects in the minor leagues in Gary Sanchez and Austin Romine. I doubt Romine gets a starting gig in NY anytime soon, due to Russell Martin and Francisco Cervelli sharing the C role, however, they were able to move offensive talent in Montero for a nice young arm in Pineda. Perhaps the A.J. Burnett deal made the Yankees a bit smarter in looking for cheaper arms with the same upgrade, possibly more. That is not saying much, as they are currently trying to trade Burnett and eat some if not most of his remaining contract. Just like the RedSox, NY is also trying to stay under the Luxury Tax as they can earn as much as Millions back in the next couple of years.

I use to be a fan of big name players for big $$$$. Now I have changed sides and I am hoping one day MLB and Bud Selig will realize this game needs a salary cap. Only 3 out of the top 10 highest payroll MLB teams made the playoffs in 2011(NY Yankees, Phillies, and Tigers). I am hoping for a salary cap, and realizing what a waste of money these contracts are bringing, not only fan wise and attitude, but production wise.

My prediction for Pineda in 2012 is 15-10, 4.10 ERA 165/K and 65/BB. I feel the AL East will make his numbers rise, although just for a rookie season in the East, not at all bad production for a guy who will win more games by his offense than he did in a weaken offense in Seattle. Montero information to come next post.

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