In our daily fantasy baseball news and notes column, we'll be discussing hot topics in the fantasy baseball world, as well as offering up tidbits of information to help you set your lineup. Comments are welcome below.
Baseball is littered with pitchers who toiled in mediocrity after getting hurt, and Michael Pineda, who pitched for the Mariners as a rookie in 2011, seemed doomed for that fate after effectively losing his 2012 and '13 seasons following shoulder surgery.
But Pineda, traded to the Yankees after his rookie campaign, won the fifth spot in the New York rotation this year, and he looks just as good in pinstripes as he did when he was throwing fireballs for the Mariners. Through two starts, Pineda has a 1.50 ERA, a 0.92 WHIP and 12 strikeouts, and the best part of all is that his velocity has consistently hovered around the 90-95 MPH range. It's been a long road back to relevance, but Pineda doesn't appear to have any lingering issues from those setbacks -- or at least, nothing that shows up on camera. (However, one thing did show up on camera Thursday night -- Pineda appeared to have some substance, possibly pine tar, on his pitching hand.)
Pineda is worthy of being owned in even the shallowest of standard leagues, even though he plays in the AL East. After all, this is a pitcher who's succeeded at every level, and who in 2011 had the second-highest strikeouts-per-nine-innings rate in the American League -- higher than the rates of Justin Verlander and Felix Hernandez. And, if I can give a subjective appraisal, he passes the eye test with ease.
The real question about Pineda is whether or not he can get to September without suffering the same meltdown he had as a rookie (he recorded no wins in his final seven starts, and the Mariners cut back his workload as an injury precaution -- clearly that worked well). The good news is that he doesn't have an innings limit buoyed to him, but there's still no guarantee that his surgically-repaired arm will remain intact after he's thrown a few thousand of those 95-mph fastballs. His injuries could very well be a thing of the past, but we might not know that until it's too late.
Pineda isn't necessarily a sell-high candidate; in principle, past maladies alone aren't proof that someone will be forever incapable of remaining healthy. Still, if injury histories like that scare you, selling high might not be the worst way to go at some point. If not, enjoy him, because it's only April and he should be pretty good for a while, either way.
For your consideration
• Eric Young went 3-5 yesterday, scoring four runs and stealing three bases. Young is another one of the speedsters who, in theory, could be immensely valuable if he could just lock down an everyday role. Unfortunately, Young is only hitting .226, and while his occasional flashes of speed can make him an occasionally useful commodity, he's not dependable enough to be deployed in standard leagues on a regular basis.
• B.J. Upton's horrific play continued on Thursday, with the Braves $15-million albatross going 1-4 with a triple. He did score his first run of the year, but -- and I didn't think this was possible -- Upton is so far even worse than he was a year ago. He's hitting .152 with no home runs, no RBI, no walks and 14 strikeouts. It's almost inexplicable what's happened to him since he joined the Braves, but there's no getting around those abysmal numbers. Don't own him under any circumstances, not even as a back-of-the-bench flier.
• Jim Johnson is deposed! Either Ryan Cook or Luke Gregerson will get the first crack at being the A's new closer, so watch carefully. For what it's worth, Cook, the presumptive favorite to inherit the role, was used in the seventh inning yesterday. (Also, Johnson makes $10 million this year, and between him, Papelbon and Heath Bell, I think there's more than evidence to support the claim that teams should never, ever spend big money on closers unless they're in the super-elite, ala Craig Kimbrel.)
You can follow David Pincus on Twitter @Reetae_.