Michael Pineda and the Verducci Effect

Overall most pragmatic followers of the Yankees like the Michael Pineda for Jesus Montero deal because it fills their need for pitching. The problem is that if Pineda doesn’t do well in Pinstripes, it is likely we will be looking back at this deal as a big mistake for the Yankees because Montero figures to do so well (at least offensively).

One of the biggest things that could hold Pineda back would be injuries. If he’s on the shelf for a prolonged period of time it is going to be real hard to get the kind of production out of him that is needed to matchup to Montero.

This is certainly something to take seriously. because as recently as 2009 Pineda missed nearly an entire season with elbow soreness. He never ended up having surgery, a good sign to be sure, but that could potentially be a red flag.

It’s potentially more worrisome when you consider his innings since then. He threw just 47.1 innings in 2009. He then came back the next year and threw 139.1 innings, a huge 92 inning difference. Then finally he tossed 171 major league innings in 2011, an increase of 31.2.

Why should any of that matter? It’s because of a little thing called the Verducci Effect, which is essentially a negative indicator that warns of too much wear on a young pitcher. A pitcher 25-years or younger is in danger of the Verducci Effect when he throws at least 30 more innings from year to year.

Pineda barely falls into this category because he threw 31.2 more innings last season than the year before. It also doesn’t seem as big of a deal when you consider that the Mariners took it easy on him in the final month of the year, using him on extra rest every time out including 10 days of rest in his final start.

The innings jump of 31.2 is barely over the 30 that Tom Verducci recommends, but his last start is somewhat troubling in that he was only hitting 90-92 after being up in the 94-97 MPH range all year. Hopefully going over the 30 inning mark didn’t have too big of an effect. It is worrisome when considering the huge 92 inning jump from the year before.

Now the thing about this is that it is not scientific. Verducci, who one one of the best reporters working today, came up with this based on observation and conversations with coaches and players. There is something to it, but it effects different people in different ways. Particularly with Pineda, he is a 6-7, 260-pound guy. Yes, he did have elbow problems, but they didn’t require surgery and he seems to be fine now.

This is obviously something to keep an eye on though as it is with any young pitchers. Hopefully he tosses 900-1,000 innings over the next five years. If he doesn’t do that, it might be hard for the Yankees to come out ahead on this deal.

About Rob Abruzzese

Rob Abruzzese created Bronx Baseball Daily in 2008 just before graduating from Brooklyn College. He currently serves BBD as its editor and works as a reporter at the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. Follow Rob on Twitter @RobAbruzzese.
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10 Responses to Michael Pineda and the Verducci Effect

  1. NYYinATL says:

    ……and (hopefully NOT of course) Jesus Montero could tear a knee of injure a shoulder and be out for the year in Spring Training. WHO KNOWS???

    They traded a young, cheap stud hitter for a young, cheap stud pitcher. In baseball, you do that all day long if you have the chance.

    • Tanned Tom says:

      By your logic Babe Ruth should have stayed a pitcher. The deal makes sense, for both teams, because of their respective needs.

      • NYYinATL says:

        It's not MY logic….it's MLB logic. How many young "stud" pitchers come into free agency every year vs stud hitters?

        Check this year alone….Albert and Fielder were out there this year….or you could have CJ Wilson.

        "My logic" was in every article you could read dude. It's baseball 101.

  2. Dezre says:

    I thought it was shoulders we had to be more concerned about than elbows, though neither concern is comforting. Still, his fastball should be expected to drop off a bit at the end of his longest season to date, and the extra rest at the end of the year could have contributed to that as well, since he was breaking routine (which is very important to some pitchers, not so much to others).

    And in the 4 starts prior to his last in 2011, he pitched well. Lots of Ks to BBs, no more than 3 Runs. Against pretty weak lineups, sure. But overall I'm very happy with this move, and I consider both sides to be equally at risk. Given the relative difficulty of finding a young guy with high 90s heat and great K rates (and just as nice low BB rates) – at 6'6" 260lbs – yeah, good move by Cashman.

    Of course, only time on the field will tell.

  3. john says:

    Im not worried. Besides Pineda is probably 28 and pitched 200 plus in a season already.
    He will be fine he didnt have surgery and hes not going to be the ace.
    With the pen he only has to go 6ip a start anyway.
    Robertson,Soriano,and Joba is coming back probably Hughes building the bridge to Mo.
    If he goes 185 to 200 he will be fine.
    No to mention he will get run support and have less stress thsn in Seattle

  4. hotdog says:

    It was hard to see such a slugger like Montero go. I don't remember the last time the Yankees had such a great hitting prospect. Michael Pineda is up on the prospect (i know he's no longer a real prospect but…) list but my money would be on Montero to live up to expectations as compared to Pineda. We may be looking at Campos as the savior of this trade someday.

  5. Tanned Tom says:

    This trade made tons of sense for NY, even if Pineda doesn't pan out. Montero had no position. The DH is needed for A-Fraud and his Hank Steinbrenner special of a contract, it was never going to be Montero's. And anyone who saw the kid behind the plate knew that he was far from being a catcher, though he could still get there. The Yankees traded a player without a position for a potential #2 starter. Seen that way it was a great trade. A good deal for Seattle too, but watch Montero turn into a 1Ber.

  6. j.r. says:

    the trade makes sense if the yankees have a good hitter prospect ready to be up in a year or two.plus they have two pitchers banuelos and betances that rate real good prospects,so i think the trade will be look on as a bad trade in a few years but i an hopping for the best.

  7. YankezFan says:

    The Verducci effect is basically a JOKE. The 3 or 4 pitchers it relates to every year is small in comparison to the 20 or 30 pitchers that have a normal year. Their is no correlation between the innings pitched 1 year and the ability of a pitcher to perform the next year. This is what happens when someone gets a hold of a small set of statistics, and wants to build on their reputation. What is the Becket effect, then.. alternating good and bad years, this is just journalism dribble. Pineda's only concern should be to increase his ground ball outs, which is what his statistics were showing late in the season last year. The reason why pitchers are successful at Yankee stadium is because they have a high strike out ratio, AJ, CC and Nova get swinging strikes, reduces the number of flyballs, and therefore the number of HRs.

  8. MikeD says:

    There problem with the Verduci Effect is that it has been proven wrong. It's sad that it's still mentioned every year.

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