Fantasy baseball spring flings: Michael Pineda's changeup

      March 5, 2012 @ 19:16:22 PDT

New York Yankees SP Michael Pineda
Pineda pinpointing his newest friend?

Michael Pineda is one of the featured members of our bust and overvalued starting pitchers list. His uniform has been jacking up his price in many mock drafts so far, and there's legit regression risk in him moving to a tougher division and ballpark.

Spring news warning: This tidbit adds a bit of sun to his spring outlook:

Yankees | Michael Pineda encouraged by changeup

New York Yankees SP Michael Pineda and teammates were encouraged with his improved changeup, which was on display in the spring game Monday, March 5. "Not everybody can have a feel for that pitch, and he seemed to have a decent feel for it," C Russell Martin said. "It doesn't look that difficult for him. I don't see why it couldn't be a good pitch for him." Pineda was only throwing his fastball in the high 80s and low 90s, but he's expected to bring that up with more spring action. He uses a modified version of the circle changeup where he tucks the ball deeper into his palm than he did last season, and he spreads his fingers more.

Pineda's changeup was a solid offering last year, per Fangraphs' listing of PITCH f/x. But he hardly used it to complement his trio of fastballs and slider. If this new grip streamlines the pitch, he'll have another much-needed secondary weapon to counteract his fastball, which is in more danger in his less friendly environment.

Enter that grain of salt: It's early in the spring, and such additions of a new pitch have been hit-or-miss in cases like this. Pineda still has a risk of being a Verducci Effect victim, and he lets up plenty of flies.

I'm still not tabbing Pineda as a mixed No. 1 or 2 SP, but this potential arsenal diversification makes me a little more willing to take the chance if he slips to a low 3 or 4. Sadly, that's unlikely to happen in most places.

You know there's reason to be fearful when a Yankees fan is devaluing a Yankee. Or, you know, that's also being objective.

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About Tim Heaney

Tim's work has been featured by USA Today/Sports Weekly, among numerous outlets, and recognized as a finalist in the Fantasy Sports Writers Association awards. The Boston University alum, who competes in the prestigious LABR and Tout Wars, has won numerous industry leagues in both baseball and football.

He appears frequently, including every Sunday, on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio, as well as every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore.

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