The Yankees acquired one heck of a young pitcher in Michael Pineda this offseason, but after just one season in the majors he is still a work in progress. The biggest piece the Yankees want him working on right now is to add a changeup and they are hoping that by putting his locker next to CC Sabathia‘s that Pineda can pick his brain a little as he develops the offspeed pitch.
As George King of the NY Post wrote in his article, the two pitchers have more in common than just their 6-7, 270-pound frames, CC was also forced to learn a changeup when he was a two-pitch pitcher coming up in the Indians system.
“(The changeup) was forced on me,” CC told the NY Post. “I didn’t have an option.”
“If he wants to talk about it, I will talk to him,” Sabathia said of Pineda. “I don’t want to force it on him but I am sure we will talk about it.”
“It’s hard to trust [the change] when you throw as hard as he does,’’ Sabathia said of Pineda. “Carl Willis and Terry Mulholland worked with me on it until I trusted it. Carl showed it to me and Terry worked with me on it before batting practice. A lot of it is mental.’’
“I didn’t feel comfortable with it until I won the Cy Young in 2007,’’ Sabathia said.
CC started to work on his changeup in 2003, meaning it took him four years until he fully realized it’s potential. That’s right around the time when he hit his prime too. And that’s important to remember about Pineda, the Yankees didn’t just go out and get a No. 2. No, they got a young pitcher with potential, a lot of potential, but he’s certainly still developing.
The Yankees pitching staff is better this year with Pineda than without him, but that wasn’t a trade that was meant for one year. That was a long-term pickup so it is important to realize that and temper expectations accordingly. There is a lot to like about this kid, heck he seems like he could have CC-like potential. But don’t expect him to pick up the changeup next year like it’s nothing.
He’s got a good teacher though.