Quick Stat: Highest Average Fastball Velocity
Once again, courtesy of Buster Olney’s latest:
Highest Average Fastball Velocity (among starters, 2011 season)
- Michael Pineda – 95.9 MPH
- David Price – 94.5 MPH
- Alexi Ogando – 94.2 MPH
- Josh Johnson – 93.9 MPH
- Justin Verlander – 93.8 MPH
(Note: Entering Friday)
Of course, I fully recognize that this is barely a month’s worth of starts and that amounts to little considering the small sample size. Yet, you have to be impressed with what Pineda has done so far through his first 4 career starts. In 25.1 innings pitched he’s pitched to a 3-1 record, 1.78 ERA, and a 21:9 K/BB rate, positioning himself as an early favorite for the American League Rookie of the Year Award. The 6’7” rookie right hander had no guaranteed job at the start of Spring Training but managed to pitch well enough to win the fifth starter’s job at the onset of the season and he hasn’t disappointed. He should make for an interesting pairing with Felix Hernandez* in the coming years in Seattle.
* Hernandez will not be traded this summer or this coming offseason. I agree, the Mariners could command a massive haul of young players for him in a deal – further assisting their rebuilding process – but a trade is not going to happen this season. While such a deal could potentially fill multiple holes, it weakens their rotation regardless of the young starter (or starters) that end up included in the trade. Hernandez just won the AL Cy Young Award and signed a lucrative extension in Seattle, trading him now would completely drive away the team’s fanbase. The team needs a focal point to build around, and what better piece than a 25 year old superstar pitcher?