Minnesota Twins: Michael Pineda getting closer to return

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FT. MYERS, FL - FEBRUARY 21: Michael Pineda #35 of the Minnesota Twins poses for a portrait on February 21, 2018 at Hammond Field in Ft. Myers, Florida. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)
FT. MYERS, FL - FEBRUARY 21: Michael Pineda #35 of the Minnesota Twins poses for a portrait on February 21, 2018 at Hammond Field in Ft. Myers, Florida. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images) /
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The Minnesota Twins made a curious signing during the offseason with an eye toward the future.

Michael Pineda signed a two-year $10 million contract with the Minnesota Twins over the Winter. Although Pineda was recovering from Tommy John surgery at the time of the signing, he has a chance to be a game changer when healthy.

Pineda has yet to fulfill his potential during his MLB career. However, he is just 29-years-old and still has time to put things together. Garvin Alston has done a solid job during his first season as the Twins pitching coach. Kyle Gibson is becoming a legit middle of the rotation pitcher and José Berríos has leaped forward claiming his place as the ace of this.

The Twins hope Pineda enjoys similar success pitching in the Twin Cities. He was a highly regarded prospect while coming up in the Seattle Mariners system but struggled to stay on the field while playing with the Yankees.

Looking at his numbers

Pineda is 40-41 with a 4.05 ERA across 117 career starts. His best season came while pitching in the Big Apple during the 2014 season. Although he made only 13 starts, Pineda was solid with a 1.89 ERA across 76 1/3 innings pitched.

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He also amassed 59 strikeouts with only seven walks. Pineda also had a stellar 0.8 walks per nine innings as well as a sterling .825 WHIP during that season. Unfortunately, that’s where he peaked and he hasn’t come close to replicating those numbers again.

He has a 4.56 ERA in 76 starts since the beginning of the 2015 season. Pineda has struggled to stay on the mound consistently and that has severely hampered his development. Now, Pineda is working his way back and could join the Minnesota Twins rotation during September.

Pineda is set to make his 2018 debut, albeit in the Minors, in early August. So far, Pineda has had limited setbacks and is on pace to join the Twins rotation at some point during September. By the time he makes his Twins debut, this team could look completely different than it does today.

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His first few Minor League starts will be crucial in determining what type of impact Pineda will have down the stretch this season. The Twins need to know what they have in Pineda as they move toward building a contending team for the future and Pineda needs to prove he can stay healthy.

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