While a lot of attention has been paid to Michael Pineda‘s velocity on his fastball, he has quietly been getting decent results with his developing third pitch – the changeup.
After today’s game against the Nationals, Pineda was extremely happy with the pitch and said he threw about 10 of them.
“Awesome,” he told Chad Jennings of the Journal News. “My changeup today, ooph, it was great. …I’m very excited because my changeup was great. I threw a lot of changeups today and felt comfortable. …Last year, I didn’t throw a lot of changeups, so this year, I’m focused a little more on my changeup and making a good pitch all the time. I’m not worried about my fastball. I don’t know how my fastball is right now, but it feels good.”
After hearing about A.J. Burnett and Phil Hughes learning the changeup over the past two years it certainly is refreshing to see a pitcher actually make progress with the pitch and look comfortable using it.
But instead of focusing on his progress with the changeup, everybody has been focused on his fastball. However, Pineda isn’t among those worried.
“I know I haven’t thrown my fastball (like) last year, but my fastball is coming,” he said. “More throwing in the game, my fastball is coming.”
Last season, Pineda threw fastballs 62.2 percent of the time and the slider 31.5 percent. It’s not like he didn’t throw a changeup at all last year, but he just threw it 6.3 percent of the time. However, he adjusted his grip on the pitch and threw it roughly 15 percent of the time today. That’s solid progress.
As for his fastball, that was in the 88-90 mph range in his first start, it was 89-91 in his second, and consistently 90-92 today. So it is improving, it’s just improving slowly. If it takes three or four more starts to get back to 95 mph, I think everybody would be thrilled with that.