Monday, February 27, 2012


You need to think about this… will the innings load from Pineda and Nova from last year affect them this year? Tom Verducci is pretty good when it comes to this stuff and he's the one who came up with the the Verducci effect, and I started to wonder how it pertains to Michael Pineda and Ivan Nova . How will they respond this season, after 2011 showed us all a clear increase of innings compared to the previous season? It’s a tough call and everyone is different, but there is no denying, an increase of work load affects everyone. You have to believe it’s going to sneak into the equation when Pineda and Nova take the mound. The best thing we can do is just take baby steps and don’t push their young arms too much this spring.

Look, in the past Verducci’s been right, look at someone like Phil Hughes, right? This is a guy that was a reliable relief pitcher in 2009 pitching 86 innings all season. That followed with a terrific 2010 where the innings pitched rose dramatically to 176.1 innings then in 2011, there were dead arm issues and it was a long road back. Yankees weren’t too pleased about the way he was gaining weight either which is why he went through an entire new conditioning program this winter to get ready. It’s true, we haven’t heard much about Phil Hughes and his velocity but one Girardi's safe wording is "I expect Phil to bounce back." We all do Joe. The hope is he is back to his old 2010 form and hopefully there won’t be complications. But Verducci hit the nail on the head, and it's so obvious that I can’t believe it never crossed my mind before he came up with his theory.

Michael Pineda is 23 years old... think about that for a second. He pitched his first year in the majors last season. He pitched 171 innings. Before that, in AA West Tenn and in AAA Tacoma combined, he pitched 139.1 innings and had an 11-4 record with a 3.36 ERA. Don’t forget that Pineda came out of the gate as a powerful pitcher but by the All-Star break, he stalled and just hit a wall. After the All-star break his record was 1-4 with a 5.12 ERA. Many, including me suggested, the fatigue is normal for a kid this age, after all, over time he will gain strength, age and last longer in the season, but there is no question it is a concern jumping from the minors and pitching 139 innings to the majors going 171 innings.

In 2010, Nova came up and pitched 42 innings, his record was 1-2, 4.50 ERA. In 2011, he increased to 165.1 Innings. One would hope this 25 year old kid wont have Phil Hughes type issues, but let’s face facts, we just don’'t know until we get these kids out there. No doubt they'll monitor velocity and arm strength this spring, but word on the street is, his arm strain that hit him the last game of the Yankees playoffs is 100% healed. Read HERE.

Yes, the innings increase concerns me a lot. One has to wonder if it can be overcome… we’ll have to see, Spring Training is here! Yeah!

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