Minnesota Twins: The potential impact of Michael Pineda

 

Stop me if you’ve heard this before but the Minnesota Twins need pitching. However, Puckett’s Pond is here to give you some good news, sort of.

Minnesota Twins starting pitcher Michael Pineda has started throwing. The Twins signed Pineda to a two-year deal earlier this offseason hoping he will be there to help in 2019.

Pineda is early in his rehab after Tommy John surgery in July but every positive step matters. This is a long and grueling recovery process. However, if everything goes well and there are no setbacks, Pineda could help the rotation earlier than expected.

What the future holds for Pineda

Pineda still has a chance to pitch late in the 2018 season. However, it will take him time to get back into form. If Pineda can come back to start a handful of games this season, it will help him greatly moving forward.

This is the second time Pineda has suffered an injury to his pitching arm. He missed the 2012 and 2013 seasons after having shoulder surgery. The Minnesota Twins are banking on Pineda not only getting healthy, but also to finally reach his potential.

Pineda is an imposing figure on the mound at 6’7″ and 260 pounds. This flamethrower has the “stuff” to get the job done. However, it has yet to translate consistently in the Majors. In 2014 Pineda returned to the mound for the New York Yankees, following his first shoulder surgery, and he was stellar. He had 59 strikeouts and only seven walks with a spectacular 1.85 ERA In 76 1/3 innings pitched. Unfortunately, that’s where he peaked.

His last few seasons in New York have wielded a much different output. Before going on the disabled list in July, Pineda was an average starting pitcher at best. Pineda is throwing his fastball less every season and needs to get back up to the 55% range like he was throwing it in ’14. However, if he continues throwing it less than 50% of his pitches, as he did in 2017, he will continue to struggle.

When Pineda is healthy, he has the potential to be a stud at the top of the rotation for any team in MLB. The Minnesota Twins have Ervin Santana and Jose Berrios at the moment, so the pressure won’t be on Pineda’s shoulders.

Leaving the bright lights of New York City for comfy cozy Minnesota can only help Pineda. Hopefully playing with the Minnesota Twins is where he puts it together. He could pay huge dividends for this team at some point.