Joel Pineiro particularly intriguing

According to Adam Rubin, the Mets are “particularly intrigued” by Joel Pineiro.

It makes sense, because Joel Pineiro is particularly intriguing. Not necessarily as an answer in the Mets’ rotation, but just in general.

Looking at Pineiro’s counting stats, I’d immediately dismiss him as a potential free-agent fit. After all, he’s 31 and coming off his only decent year since 2003. Plus he doesn’t really strike anybody out.

But Fangraphs paints a more interesting picture, as it often does. Turns out Pineiro pretty decidedly changed his approach in 2009, confirming various reports. He threw way more fastballs (sinking ones, no less) than he ever did before — which probably contributed to his miniscule walk totals — and so, predictably, induced more contact.

His groundball rate went from hovering in the mid-to-high 40s to an outstanding 60.5 percent, dropping his line-drive and flyball rates accordingly. He cut his home runs per flyball rate in half.

There’s probably some luck and randomness in there, but Pineiro pretty clearly figured out a way to pitch to bad contact more effectively than he ever had before. Simply put, batters just didn’t hit him hard.

Whether that’s sustainable is something else entirely. Pineiro succeeded under Cardinals pitching guru Dave Duncan, and, like I said before, doesn’t have much of a track record to fall back on.

Essentially I just wanted to throw out the idea that Pineiro could be more than a one-year wonder. I’d expect him to regress toward his mean, but, assuming he can maintain his adjusted approach, be a pretty decent pitcher in the next couple of seasons.

The Mets could do a whole lot worse, in other words.

Also, for what it’s worth, I had a video game once in which Pineiro always ended up a Hall of Famer when you played in franchise mode. So there’s that.

9 thoughts on “Joel Pineiro particularly intriguing

  1. Piñeiro is nice but the Mets are still on the hook to acquire 2 big ticket free agents. One to replace Delgado and one to make up for the disasterous ’09 season. Management told people that money would not be an object even though it clearly is. I’m curious how the Wilpons weasel their way out of this one.

  2. Given the dimensions at Citi, shouldn’t the Mets be looking at flyball pitchers, rather than groundball ones like Pineiro?

  3. His splits aren’t as impressive as you’d want your big-ticket FA signing to be., To wit, in August and September he pitched like, well, Joel Pineiro. That said, I think the Mets should sign him just so the Cards get the compensatory picks.

  4. My question is this, does the ballpark matter? It seems when it comes to getting a slugger, fans quickly jump all over the fact that the Mets hit more HRs on the road, and that the opposition had no trouble hitting in Citi Field. But as soon as the talk switches to pitching, the dimensions of Citi Field suddenly become cavernous, with the ability to make average pitchers great.

    Everyone needs to make up thier minds, can’t have it both ways.

  5. My favorite saber-savy pitching target this offseason might be Aaron Harang.

    http://www.fangraphs.com/pitchfxo.aspx?playerid=1451&position=P&pitch=FA

    You can actually see on the pitcFX velocity graph above, the day in 2008 Dusty Baker threw him out there for a 63 pitch relief outing on 2 days rest between starts (it’s pretty much touching the adjoining start), the immediate dropoff after that, the stint on the DL…and then the gradual recovery of his stuff in 2009 (with one rough patch in July).

    Even if he doesn’t bounce back, he’s probably a solid #3. But I think there’s a fair chance this guy could come into Citifield and surprise everyone with a 3.60 ERA next year.

    And of course, no long term commitment. If it isn’t working you have a buyout for 2011.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s