Angels sign Joel Pineiro

For 2 years and 16 million according to ESPN.

In 2009, Piniero put up some pretty insane numbers. He struck out 4.42 batters, walked 1.14 and allowed just 0.46 home runs per 9 innings last year. That’s good for a 3.27 FIP in 214 innings, making him one of the best pitchers in baseball last year.

I wrote about Pineiro a little while back, specifically looking at his improvement from 2008 to 2009. Some general notes for those who don’t want to read through the article.

  • He threw more sinking fastballs in 2009
  • He attacked the bottom of the zone more in 2009, especially early in the count
  • He threw a higher percentage of fastballs in 2009
  • Got more groundballs
  • Got fewer whiffs (swings and misses)
  • Got more “extra” strikes called

So this is a guy who clearly changed his approach last season. The fact that he threw more sinking fastballs and more pitches in the bottom of the strikezone implies that his insane GB rate last year is in large part due to a change in talent rather than random variation. His improved BB rate is a result of him throwing more pitches in the strikezone overall and allowing more contact, especially early in the count; however, he also got a few more called strikes go his way last year.

Last year, Pineiro was worth 4.8 WAR according to FanGraphs. Given his awful 2007 and 2008 numbers, we can expect some pretty big regression from that. A typical Marcel’s approach, which consists of basic weighting of previous seasons and regression to the mean, would have Pineiro at about 3.0 WAR next year. However, given his obvious change in approach in 2009, we should weigh his 2009 season more heavily than we otherwise would.

A 2/16 deal is essentially paying him as a 4-4.5 WAR player over the life of the contract. He should be able to clear that pretty easily.

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Comments

  1. The A Team said...

    I’ve been making that argument for some time, Piniero didn’t increase a career 45% groundball rate to the 60’s range just with luck.  He made a sustainable change that makes him a different pitcher than the pre-2009 version.  I treat them as two different players, much the way I treat Cliff Lee. 

    I have his gb% falling to the 55% area and that homerun rate climbing a hair or two.  The end result is a pitcher who should have an FIP of about 3.9 with an average-ish defense behind him.

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