#17 Michael Pineda – Seattle Mariners
As a 21-year-old in 2010, the 6-foot-5 Dominican posted a 3.36 ERA between two stops including 12 starts in Triple-A Tacoma. With his fastball/slider combo and impeccable command, Pineda struck out 154 guys while only walking 34 in 139.1 innings. The ratios are insane, and Pineda has a realistic chance of being in Seattle by the middle of the summer. He eventually should slot in nicely behind Felix Hernandez in Seattle for many years.
His fastball reaches into the mid-90’s and is thrown with enviable command. The slider is also plus, and his changeup is at least a 50 – possibly even a true 60 on occasion. With his 3-pitch arsenal, Pineda should be able to stick in the Bigs once he arrives because he commands the strike-zone so well. There has been a lot of attention paid to Pineda’s health and mechanics, and he has already missed significant time due to elbow issues. But his delivery is improving and with it the injury risk is decreasing.
Pineda tends to fly under the radar. Perhaps it’s due to the time he missed in 2009, or perhaps it’s due to the fact the Seattle just isn’t a very strong club, but Pineda has real #2 stuff with ace command. He will play in an All-Star game or two if he can remain healthy in the future.