The Yankees officially announced their starting rotation today, naming Michael Pineda as their fifth starter to start the season. Pineda beat out teammates David Phelps, Adam Warren and Vidal Nuno for the final spot in the Yankees rotation. It is likely that some combination of Phelps, Warren and Nuno will make the big league roster as members of the bullpen.
The 25 year old right hander, Pineda, has appeared in four games this spring for the Bronx Bombers, throwing 15 innings he struck out 16 batters, allowed only 14 hits, 1 walk and 2 earned runs, giving himself a spring training ERA of 1.20 and a spring WHIP of 1.000.
In his only full season as a big leaguer, Pineda posted a 9-10 record with a 3.74 ERA and a 1.099 WHIP in 28 starts as a member of the Seattle Mariners. He was so impressive in the early part of the 2011 season that he garnered an All-Star selection and was fifth in American League Rookie of the Year voting.
Pineda has not pitched in the Major Leagues the past two seasons after pitching 171 innings for the Mariners in 2011 due to shoulder issues that began in the Spring of 2012, issues that the Yankees believe are behind the 6’7″ pitcher now.
There will be a lot of attention given to the back end of the Yank rotation this season with Pineda and prized Japanese free agent Masahiro Tanaka occupying the 4th and 5th spots to start the year. Both are intriguing because of their youth and potential, and if things work out as the Yankees management hopes they could provide incredible production from their respective spots in the rotation.
Pineda has yet to throw a single pitch as a member of the New York Yankees after being traded to New York from the Mariners for highly touted catching prospect Jesus Montero in January 2012. At the time Montero was an extremely valuable prospect for the Yankees, but has since been disappointing for Seattle. If Pineda can return to his 2011 form the trade will seem like an absolute steal for the Yanks.