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Thursday, January 21, 2010
Joel Pineiro Signs With Los Angeles AngelsPosted by Tommy Rancel at 7:30pm
After losing their ace, John Lackey, the Los Angeles Angels filled their empty rotation spot with Joel Pineiro on relatively fair contract worth two-years and $16 million dollars. Pineiro, coming off one of the best years of his career, posted double digits wins for the first time 2003. His win total of 15, as well as his 3.49 ERA, was the second best of his career, and by far the best numbers we've seen from the right-hander since his Seattle Mariner days.
His ERA was nearly in line with his 3.68 xFIP, but LIPS ERA had him about 4.0 in 2009. Under the tutelage of Cardinals pitching coach Dave Duncan, a known proponent of the ground ball, Pineiro saw his GB% shoot up over 60% last season. That said, if you are expecting bigger and better things from Pineiro next season, you are likely to be disappointed.
He is moving from the NL Central to the AL West. This means he is trading games against the Astros and Pirates for games against the Rangers and highly improved Mariners. The home ball park factor change is rather neutral and his ground ball tendencies actually match up well with the Angels middle infield group of Erick Aybar, Mazier Izturis and Howie Kendrick. Despite the upgrade in defense, there are a few things working against Pineiro moving forward.
Of qualified starters, Pineiro's 4.42 K/9 was third worst in the Major Leagues. His contact rate was nearly 88% and he induced a swinging strike less than 6% of the time. On the other hand, his walk rate was excellent as he handed out just 27 passes in 214 innings, but a 1.14 BB/9 is unlikely in 2010.
Thanks to his new found love for sinkers, Pineiro was able to keep the ball in the yard at an impressive clip (0.46 per nine); however, that may be a little too impressive. His HR/FB rate was just 6.5% which is nearly five percent under his career average; that number is due for some regression. Looking at his batted ball data, his .297 BABIP might be a tad low for all the ground balls, but certainly not something that stands out as a fluke. In addition to his BABIP, his LOB% might regress, but only slightly.
Unimpressive K rates and a regression-likely home run rate are not encouraging things when you factor in the move from NL to AL. Nonetheless, Pineiro is still a decent option for fantasy players. He is relatively healthy and surpassed 200 innings last year. His ground ball ability and the Angels middle infield seem to be a good marriage of talents. He should post double digit wins, and keep the walks to a minimum, but the low strikeout total is a turnoff and the likely home run correction is a bit of a concern.
Tommy Rancel is the Editor-In-Chief of DRaysBay as well as a contributor at Beyond the Box Score
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