Fantasy Baseball Free Agent Pitchers: Time to Grab Michael Pineda


He’s in a different uniform, but Michael Pineda looks very similar to the guy we saw in 2011. Photo Credit: Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

Ladies, gentleman, fantasy owners everywhere: the time has officially come. You can officially go out and sign Michael Pineda without worrying.

In a vacuum, Pineda should have been snagged up long ago, probably in your drafts. After all, he put up some strong numbers in his most recent MLB season, which triggered his trade to the New York Yankees.

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Of course, we don’t live in a vacuum. Outside of that vacuum, we know that those numbers came not in 2013 or even 2012, but 2011– the same year that Jeff Francoeur was not only fantasy relevant, but was a plus category in every standard offensive category. A long time ago, indeed.

But Pineda’s still only 25 and when you look at what he has done since 2011, it’s pretty apparent that he’s back to that 2011 form.

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Yes, the sample size is small, but this is certainly more than just overreacting to two good starts. The fact of the matter is that Pineda has been posting elite numbers all the way back to his days in the minors.

Plenty of pitchers are hard to hit and strike out a lot of guys. Plenty of pitchers don’t walk anyone. Not many pitchers combine both skills. Essentially none of the pitchers that do are free agents in the majority of fantasy baseball leagues. When you see one who is, you want to grab him as soon as possible.

Going back to his minor league career and going all the way through his most recent start against the Red Sox, nobody’s ever really doubted Pineda’s stuff and he’s always had the numbers to back it up. Seeing that from someone who’s still only 25 is awfully encouraging.

Now, Michael Pineda isn’t exactly Tom Seaver. Not yet, anyway. If he was, he wouldn’t be available in so many fantasy leagues. So, what should fantasy owners worry about.

Well, as we detailed earlier, the main concern around Pineda is a bit of an injury history. But is that really a terrible drawback? Consider some of the kinds of pitchers that are available on waiver wires right now.

  1. A guy with a lot of potential who may end up getting hurt. (Pineda)
  2. A guy with a lot of potential who’s never put a great statistical season together. (Garrett Richards)
  3. A guy with a lot of potential coming off of a bad season or two. (Ian Kennedy/Tim Lincecum)
  4. A solid pitcher who won’t kill you, but doesn’t have the potential to dominate. (Bruce Chen)

Of those four possibilities, No. 1 is far and away what I’d prefer. The other guys all run more of a risk producing bad numbers and hurting my fantasy team. If I’m not worried about Pineda’s numbers, then he can only do good things for my fantasy team. If he does get hurt, I simply put him on the DL or drop him and I’m right back where I started, hopefully with the benefit of some good starts in between.

Michael Pineda has been a good pitcher ever since becoming a pro when he was a teenager. He had a great rookie season, did miss some time, but has put up the same type of numbers since.

Much like real baseball, you can never have too much good pitching on your fantasy team. So, even if you already have a strong rotation, go out and add Pineda as soon as you can. There are really no reasons not to.