In 2012, Michael Pineda will open the sky and fart thunder. He will do a duet with Bruno Mars that will sound like rap to people who don’t know rap and their song will reach the top of the charts for 12 weeks. He will then put together a table from Ikea in less than an hour without dropping any F-bombs. It’s written and so it will be. You know the Sausage Race in Milwaukee? Of course you do. You’re not living on a deserted island with no one to talk to but a volleyball. So the Sausage Race is going on in my mind right now, but it’s not sausages. Instead, it’s players that I’m excited about owning next year. So far in that race there’s Mike Stanton and Michael Pineda. There will be more runners. We’ll get to those. Where did this jumbo-sized joy come from? In 2011, Pineda had a line of 9.11 K-rate and a 3.53 xFIP. Wait, that’s not a line. That’s okay. That’s all you need. I’ll put on some Marvin, drink some Chardonnay and make love to those numbers. So what can we expect of Michael Pineda for next year, and what makes him a 2012 fantasy baseball keeper?
In 2010, he threw 139 innings and 171 last year. That’s not a huge jump. We’re fine there. In 77 innings at Safeco, he had a 2.92 ERA. That’s far from surprising. Pedro Cerrano would’ve been a slap hitter in Safeco. Pre- vs. post-All-Star break numbers show a pitcher that tired in his first full season in the majors. Again, no red flags. That’s a taupe flag. Totally natural color, blends into the background. He had the 7th best K-rate in the major leagues. He ranked between Lincecum and Gallardo. Oh. Wait, what? *drools* More like Mmm-Pineda on this young pitcher. To add lovely to beautiful, batters swung at pitches inside the strike zone at a 68.5% rate, which was the fifth most in the majors. That means hitters swung at pitches they thought were hittable only to strike out a lot. Stanton’s still the kielbasa winning the ‘Young Players That Grey Is Crazy About’ race, but Pineda’s not far off the pace. For 2012 fantasy baseball, he’s definitely a keeper (assuming you’re not choosing between him and Halladay at the same price; I mean, be reasonable).