Though I am told that the s/t guns are differently shaped than the regular guns and therefore don’t give as accurate of a reading. That won’t stop me from being concerned, he has a bit of an inverted W and young fireballers get injured and lose velocity all the time. Oh I remember the Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes chronicles.
Law and Rosenthal’s Yankee-related comments always have to be taken with a grain of salt. The Yankees inspire controversy whenever they are mentioned, and as such, some, if not most, reporters have difficulty being objective when discussing them. Law and Rosenthal, impressive through their resumes are, definitely fall into this category.
I wasn’t concerned before, but I am now. Coming into camp out of shape and taking a while for your velocity to peak is pretty normal. But intentionally pitching through starts of real games with reduced velocity because you don’t feel comfortable throwing hard for 6-8 innings? That’s a legit concern. Could explain his crappy 2nd half(I know the periphs say he was unlucky) and the mariners willingness to deal him.
Comment by TheOneWhoKnocks — March 6, 2012 @ 12:14 pm
So is the August 21 start the only game where he started slow? If not, it would be really great to see some (small sample) analysis of how he did when starting slow.
Comment by Barkey Walker — March 6, 2012 @ 12:17 pm
Pineda also wasn’t a very good pitcher when he switched to dialing it back early though. The Yankees have to be hoping they see first-half Pineda.
I know this will concern a lot of Yankee fans, many of whom do not trust Cashman’s baseball acumen one bit, but Dave’s analysis is spot on. Now is not the time to panic and declare the trade a bust for the Yaks. Not even close.
I wouldn’t be concerned at all. You are talking about the first game of Spring Training… Like Dave says. If you still see this during the regular season… ya know… when it actually matters. Then be concerned.
It’s called selective reporting. Some scouts were raving about Pineda’s change-up. Others were stating concerns about his velocity. The pro-Yankee analysts emphasized the change-up, the anti-Yankee analysts emphasized the velocity. This is classic subjective reporting-emphasize the “objective facts” that best support your position.
What Verlander does isn’t so much soft-toss early in the game or with the bases empty, it’s that he leans on a nasty curve early in the game and stops throwing it when he starts to tire. His fastball doesn’t really become an out pitch like the curve, but he does try to substitute with heat.
Sounds like there may be some C.C. Sabathia influence at work here. I remember reading that he deliberately dialed back the speed on his path to becoming a pitcher rather than thrower. If Pineda is getting an earlier start I’d consider that a good sign. It will depend on how his change develops.
Did anyone read the article at all? If you did you’d know the real concern is not with his 2 IP yesterday but an intentional adjustment he made in the 2nd half last last season (or that physical ailment forced him into) that has resulted in reduced velocity and reduced performance. Yesterday? Just continuing the ongoing trend.
Comment by TheOneWhoKnocks — March 6, 2012 @ 12:47 pm
Keith Law grew up loving the Yankees and Buster Olney wrote a bestselling book about them … but don’t let the facts get in the way of your own need to see bias in others’ attempts at objectivity.
Wow a lot of anger on this site. Usually, this is a good forum for rational baseball discussion. Guess I need to stay out of Yankee threads henceforth. Yankee fans and haters alike cannot keep their emotions out of comments related to the team. I was not trying to stir up the pot here, but I guess you can’t mention the Yankees without making somebody angry. I’ve learned my lesson.
Perhaps this is a strategy thing with him? Start with more modest speeds the first pass or two thru the lineup, then as they see you a 3rd time, pump 95 mph heat past them?
Maybe he does this so get a feel for his pitches (like an extended warm up) and improve location in the early goings. Once he has the feel for the arm slot grip and release, he can rear back and fire. Many pitchers say their body acts differently every start, and that might be his way of figuring out how to utilize what his body is giving him.
Or maybe he’s more out of shape than last year. I wouldn’t worry unless he’s still doing this in April.
Comment by Woodrum's UZR Article — March 6, 2012 @ 1:22 pm
Do we know if he was throwing exclusively the 4-seam FB though?
Pineda’s GB rate actually improved after the All-Star break last season. Just wondering if he began throwing some 2-seamers? PitchFx doesn’t always do justice to guys who mix 2-seamers and who also throw the hard 4-seamers.
“He didn’t crack 94, and the average velocity was just over 91. The results were still fine, as he retired the side in order in the first inning, including getting two strikeouts, but the velocity wasn’t what he had shown earlier in the year.”
I can’t believe Dave used this sample size. So ok, he started a game with decreased velocity against the Rays one game last year and had a good inning. How is that predictive? I read the article in full, and realize he did this in more than just that one Rays game, but why even cite the results from one inning? Seems to fly in the face of the type of analysis this site is about. If Pineda really needs a few innings to get his velocity up moving forward, that is a concern, regardless of how he faired against the Rays that one inning that one time.
Comment by EarlSweatshirt — March 6, 2012 @ 1:52 pm
Thing is, he’s not averaging 91. He’s averaging 89, and barely topping 91. That’s not a good sign, even if it’s the first game of ST.
Doesn’t mean anyone should jump to conclusions, but should you be worried, at least a little? Hell yes. There’s a billion reasons it happened, but the fact is it happened. And until he’s hitting 95-96 again anyone who’s a Pineda fan should be worried.
This is exactly what Ben said up above, except he named two of the second guessers (while suggesting they were part of a much greater whole). Interesting that that’s enough to take you from ‘+8’ to ‘-12’.
I don’t see any anger Ben. I think it’s all in your interpretation. Take a deep breath and read again. All of the comments seem really even keel.
Comment by Johnny Come Lately — March 6, 2012 @ 2:16 pm
I much liked the article, till I saw this comment (and the similar one up above).
I’d suggest it’s just a poorly-written part of a still-good article. Had Dave just first mentioned the overall evidence, then cited that game clearly as an illustration of it, then I think the article is still very good.
Lighthearted comments about overreactions in general seem better-received than targeted comments about specific reporters that question their objectivity (even when their reporting in this case didn’t lack any).
Saw him on 3/7/11. 93-96. “@Jbeck73: @keithlaw Pineda’s velocity yesterday is meaningless unless we know what it was at this time last yr”w’s quote?
WHERE does he say he was throwing harder last year at this time? Sadly Dave this is typical of you M’s and Yankees articles… you slant things, then play the objective piece, while continuing to slant things.
Please show where how you came to the conclusion that Keith Law said he was throwing harder last year at this time….. remember that piece on confirmation bias? You didn’t even get the facts right on this one,
I wouldn’t overrate it, but I’d bet a whole bunch of people just dropped him a little in the drafts. Every pitcher that ever went on the DL started off rubbing his elbow a little or trying to stretch his shoulder slightly.
As a RS fan, if Buchholz or Bailey show reduced velocity, I won’t be jumping off the Tobin, but I will certainly be concerned.
Did you read Law? He clearly says he was throwing much harder (93-96) when he scouted him almost one year to the day. Try being accurate before making silly accusations against someone with a good reputation.
That is a fine testament to how stupid people are in general. I don’t mean they’re stupid because they did not get Omar’s joke. Rather, it was perfectly reasonable of them, given what we see on the Internet every day, to assume he was being serious.
Comment by Justin Bailey — March 6, 2012 @ 3:57 pm
Are you European? 3/7/11 is almost exactly this time last year. Keith Law saw him pitch on March 7th in 2011 and he was 93-96.
I think Verlander has stated in interviews that he eases off his velocity early in games. He frequently sat at 92 in the early innings and once he got into the 8th or 9th inning and knew he had no reason to save anything (or got into a jam), he would unleash some 99s.
He also does use a lot of offspeed stuff late in the game. Watch some of the MLB.com highlight videos of his starts.
You need to look at HR/FB ratio, what parks he was pitching, opponents. HR/9 can also be BABIP driven (as that can drive IP)…. When you are looking at 1 month sample sizes, the secondary effects that are assumed to even out may actually be important on a smaller sample size.
Also how about looking at xFIP?
When you are looking at 1 month samples, it’s never going to be completely stable…..especially the last few months where Pineda was pitching fewer innings and having starts pushed out.
He didn’t give up a HR in April… shockingly the FIP kind of looks pretty good when that happens He had a 19% HR/FB ratio in August… kind of hammers the FIP. Are these solely reflective of his performance dropping off? (or does opponent, weather, park, random variation come into play)
Also the fact that he’s worked with Sabathia, for what… 3 weeks at most? Unless they worked together before Spring Training (which may have happened – I’m pretty ig’nant about the Yankees’ hot stove minutiae)
Hilariously predictable. First there was no reduced performance. Now there was a reduced performance, but it was just a fluke and let me tell you why. Why not just acknowledge the numbers in the first place? Why creep around with this “essentially stable” stuff? Just call the numbers what they are, then you can get into what they mean.
His performance was not stable. It wasn’t. The degree to which his second-half was attributable to velocity change is an interesting question that you are starting to get into with your reply. But that’s what you’re doing: analyzing the change, not denying it.
If there’s one thing this site is all about, it’s using FIP without regard for fluctuations in home run rate, and opponents’ batting average. What an absurd series of statements. K/BB and GB% improved, xFIP improved. The apparent decline was just a flukishly low HR rate regressing, and flukishly low LOB rate in the second half. It’s amazing that a fangraphs reader would fail to appreciate that.
That’s a snappy one-liner about the word “essentially,” unfortunately it’s nonsense.
Took a lot of huffing and puffing (and one guy even dropped K/BB like it was a useful thing), but we’ve now moved up to “apparent decline”. Progress!
His second half was worse than his first. There in fact was “a reduced performance according to this site’s metrics”. This is now being conceded in the same oh yeah? tone in which it was originally denied three times in a row.
Not all of us are as confident as you sages that his second-half decline was completely unrelated to his velocity drop.
Comment by Tate Hutchinson — March 6, 2012 @ 6:12 pm
That’s silly. More than one scout confirmed the reading, so unless your point is Keith Law has the only working gun in Florida, or his readings are overstated (which I think would have been made evident), your point is still irrelevant. Based on what Law tweeted, Pineda is throwing well below the velocity he had at this point last year. That’s an objective fact.
I’m not doubting the readings yesterday, but is it possible that KLaw’s readings last year were off?
Haven’t seen the multiple confirmation of KLaw’s #’s last March.
The problem is… based on what KLaw tweeted… without a 2nd reference point (of his), i’t not an objective fact it’s an inference as you are comparing his ONE set readings last year with a different set of readings this year. Given variation in guns and how the release is measured, there is some variaton…. probably not 4mph, but if he’s 2 mph (which is quite possible) is this even a story?
I think @Ben stepped over the line by insinuating that Law and Rosenthal were biased with their reporting. However, there does seem to be a common trend on fangraphs to rate as “negative” any comment that accuses anyone in the baseball community of bias.
I would argue everybody has natural, inherent bias that cannot be removed from commentary and that everyone should be on guard of it to some degree.
Also there is a tendency to get “negative” ratings when you make claims without supportive research. I am lazy and do not intend on going through article commentary to back up my claim. I throw myself upon the mercy of the fangraphs commentators on that one. Though I maintain if I did do that research the subsequent post ‘deserves’ to be at -50 for lameness within the hour.
Have to side with JG here, the stats and the miscellaneous evidence both support that JV intentionally throws softer and will dial it up later in games/in high leverage situations. I have not seen anything to suggest he uses his curveball less often as the game goes on.
Comment by Sensual Sharting — March 6, 2012 @ 6:41 pm
Yes NS, an “apparent” decline. It appears to you that his overall performance declined, when in fact it did not. You couldn’t possibly be as dense as you’re pretending to be. The idea that his performance declined according to this site’s preferred metrics can be predicated only on a gross misunderstanding of how this site looks at pitching. Hell, there have been several articles written on this site devoted in whole or in part to debunking his “decline.” This concession you speak of is completely imagined.
The previuos year he played winter ball just prior to ST, whereas this year he didn’t.
It is a long race and he knows he’ll need to pitch for another month seeing he is out of Seattle. I wouldn’t start talking about it until he goes 4-5 innings in an outing in about two weeks and I wouldn’t reach for the panic button for another month.
Sure, it’s possible, but that’s not the point. You specifically stated Law didn’t state Pineda was throwing harder last year, but that is the clear implication of his tweet. Maybe Klaw’s readings were wrong, but that doesn’t change what he said. Considering Cameron cited Law’s opinion, that’s all that counts. That Law said Pineda was throwing harder last year is an objective fact, making your initial contradiction flat out wrong. You can debate the importance of that information all you want, but your original comment was still out of line.
A lot of us suspected Pineda had arm trouble in the 2nd half when his performance fell off. He had arm troubles a couple of years before, in 2009 I believe.
Too early to panic. Beckett was throwing 88 in his first ST start. Maybe coaches have advised Pineda to ramp it up slowly. YS3 and the AL East will prove a big challenge for Pineda even with a 96 mph FB.
That concession was just a fluke; your performance is regressing (but not declining!).
It appears to you that his overall performance declined, when in fact it did not.
We have the data. His second-half FIP is worse than his first-half. He gave up many more hits and many more HRs in the second half than in the first. These are the facts.
In order to preserve the claim that this change in results (as measured by at least one stat that excludes defense) does not represent a decline in performance, it needs to be argued that all of the hits and all of the home runs were exclusively a function of luck and/or defense. The explanation you have offered to this point (that it was simply “regression from a first-half fluke”) is, in the context of this exchange, awkwardly incomplete. Unless you are claiming that the regression was entirely based on luck-and-defense, you aren’t in fact contradicting the claim that his performance declined.
And if you are in fact making that claim, I’m afraid you’re not as in-step with the fangraphs establishment as you seem to hope.
I’ll tell you what…if I had a 97 mph heater, I’d throw a ton junk early in the count too. Can you imagine a typical at bat, 2-2 count, a couple of foul balls on 5-6 pitches in the 85-91 range, and then a 97mph steamer comes whizzing in? There will be a lot of head shaking on the way back to the dugout.
Wow, 2 innings in one start and everyone is crying. Seriously, the dude probably relaxed all offseason because he knew he had a rotation spot and was just chilling. He might need a week or two of games to get it loose.
There could be a million explanations for this that are benign. One obvious one is, last year he was fighting to land an MLB job. This year he knows he’s an MLB starting pitcher, trying to get ready for the new season. That’s a pretty huge difference.
The only thing he needs to do is get himself ready for April. Seems the cautious approach out the gate makes a lot of sense for a young guy.
This dispute started (and ends) at the question of whether or not there was a reduction in performance in the second half. Scroll up, you’ll see. There is a simple question of fact on the table there.
That question is resolved by checking the data. And given that the numbers explicitly indicate that there was in fact decline (later conceded under the new name “apparent decline”), the only side here that needs to make an argument is the side that says there wasn’t decline despite the data indicating that there was. That’s not my side, remember, so “deriding” those arguments is precisely (and exclusively) what my role here is would be. I have no argument. I have data.
Your question is red herring. No one has argued “statistical noise”, so I can’t tell you how that would be incomplete. Greg’s argument — “it was regression” — is an incomplete argument for the conclusion that Pineda’s second-half was not a reduction in performance – since that’s exactly what regression means. (Yes, regression [to the mean] can also refer to an improved performance, but it doesn’t here.)
So what is the “statistical noise” argument exactly? To be clear, the fact that we could reliably predict regression after a 0% HR/FB sample doesn’t change the fact that when the regression happens it is a reduction in performance. It also doesn’t make that reduction just luck, which is Greg’s implied premise. We all seem to understand that luck is a factor, but the only way to argue that Pineda’s second-half was not decline is to say the difference was only luck.
Again, if that’s his position (or yours), he’s on an desert island off the DIPS coast. Given his “a fangraphs reader ought to know” schtick, that’s a pretty funny turnaround.
And given that the numbers explicitly indicate that there was in fact decline (later conceded under the new name “apparent decline”)
You’re obviously getting some push-back on the issue of whether or not his numbers indicate a decline of any sort, let alone that they “explicitly indicate” it, so maybe explain that rather than making a point of misunderstanding the meaning of the word “apparent” in that context.
Your argument (a generous characterization) has been made up nearly entirely of conclusory statements, and insults that are falling quite flat. On what basis do you claim that his performance declined? Is it only hits, homers, and FIP? If that’s the case, then your assertion that his performance declined “according to this site’s metrics” is ridiculous. If you mean to say that his FIP declined, and because FIP is a metric frequently cited on this site, then he declined according to this site’s metrics, then that would just be embarrassing for all involved.
Free Earl! Anyways, you’re right. If he needs a few innings to ramp up it is a concern. But if he chooses to use a few innings before raring back, that’s an entirely different animal. Pitching, as opposed to throwing, involves strategy.
And as mentioned earlier, he played Winter Ball last year.
Winter ball + fighting for a job certainly adds up to higher velocity in the early stages of Spring Training. It could also explain his 2nd half decline (I know, I know, peripherals largely stayed the same and he went from one extreme fluke to another). How many innings did he throw in Winter Ball pre-2011?
THE THING ABOUT PINEDAS PERFORMANCE IS THAT HE IS A YANKEE NOW AND NO MATTER WHAT ALL THESE FANCY STATS SAY…..PITCHERS WANT TO DO BETTER IN NYC…..HE COULD SHOW OFF IN SEATTLE THROWING 95 BUT NYC IS THE NEXT LEVEL…….LOOK AT CC…HE WAS AROUND 100 IN CLEVELAND AND MILWAUKEE BUT HE DIALED IT DOWN IN NYC AND HE’S PITCHED MUCH BETTER AND GOTTEN MORE RESPECT
This is the second time you’ve dodged the substance of the comments you’re responding to in favor of the “you just don’t get it” throwaways. It’s passable rhetoric, but boring by the third episode.
Since you’ve twice declined to clarify otherwise, I’m going to assume you are in fact taking the only position a person could in order to conclude that pineda’s second half was regression-but-not-decline: that the difference between the two halves was exclusively luck and defense. That’s a position DIPS theory has moved well beyond by now, so this is kinda anticlimactic.
Ken Rosenthal is an idiot. And you guys join him for repeating it. EVERYONE who knows ANYTHING about baseball knows these two things: Power pitchers take a little while to build arm strength in the Spring. AND Pineda was working on other pitches.
Speed is HIGHLY overrated!
Hoyt Wilhelm threw 60 mph!
So did Wakefield!
The faster these guys throw,
the faster they’ll be gone from
We need more good knuckle-ball
MLB hitters CANNOT hit a good
What a surprise, you’re resorting to snark again rather than addressing what I actually said. If you think it’s obvious that he declined, and that it’s impossible for luck to adequately explain an increase in home run rate and BABIP and that any metrics that indicate he did not decline are misleading then have at it, but your stubborn refusal to explain your statements when explicitly asked to do so has become transparent.
Geez, how about a guy trying to make a team in spring training vs. having made the team and working on his stuff?
Last year Pineda was not expected to be in the rotation at the start of spring. This year there’s no pressure except to pitch well from day one, RS.
I”ll bet you guys won’t be disappointed.
Can I get the last five minutes of my life back for having to read this ridiculous “he said/she said” bullshit about what the words “apparent decline” really mean? This thread is really hard to get thru.
Comment by CircleChange11 — March 16, 2012 @ 4:40 pm
Much ado about nothing. And a lot of nerd fights on the comment section over it too. This is nothing but tabloid sports news finding some material for their on-going soap opera since actually baseball news from Spring Training is boring to them. Good article explaining Pineda though.
Well,now he has a sore shoulder, although just normal soreness. Looks like he may not start the season in the majors. Now is it time to worry? Of course, Hughes is looking better this year. Just the travails of a pitcher. Not like he’s throwing 85.