Felix Hernandez (2005) vs Michael Pineda (2011)


I have to admit the blog has been a bit empty with the exception of the box scores and some of Griffins’ post game thoughts. Between the back-to-back two game series, which makes it hard to do a real series preview, the upcoming MLB draft (which I have something currently in the works that I’ll announce in the coming days) and just a lot of really bogus real life stuff, its made taking time to write tough.

But, with all that said. I did come across an interesting little argument last night between a few people. The argument being who was better Felix in his first year or Pineda in his.

Obviously you have to take into the account the age differences between the two. While Pineda is this good at only 22, Felix was all of 19 years old when he made his major league debut.

We’ll take only the first 8 games into consideration since that’s as many as Pineda has pitched so far in his young career.

stats after the jump

Felix Hernandez (2005)Game ScoreIPKBBSwStrikesGBHERHR
Game 157542713310
Game 278860814500
Game 38281111210310
Game 4728911014520
Game 5587811013732
Game 6698741013422
Game 7737511315400
Game 841753910760
Michael Pineda (2011)Game ScoreIPKBBSwStrikesGBHERHR
Game 15364187530
Game 2677.172184510
Game 363654126310
Game 4656521210500
Game 56269393420
Game 656790166742
Game 751661128731
Game 878770159300

It’s actually pretty eerie how similar these guys both are and at the same time kind of exciting knowing that Pineda still is learning and will get better than what he is now.

The biggest difference between the two pitchers is the amount of ground balls that each received. While Pineda induced approximately 7 a game Felix nearly doubled that out put. What is even more odd is the ground ball percentage that Pineda had in the minor leagues. It’s seemingly evaporated.

One more thing that I think is important to look at is how they are procuring these results.

Felix Hernandez (2005)1.57-1.241.972.19
Michael Pineda (2011)1.312.73-0.07X

Both pitchers use their arsenal similarly with Felix equipped with that deadly power curve and Pineda his slider. Felix also  threw a slider but only 3% of the time and not to any results. So, it wasn’t really much of a factor. Similarly Pineda has only thrown his change-up 6% of the time with inconsistent results.

Both Felix and Pineda live(d) off their fastball. Throwing it over 60% of the time and it has/had been extremely effective for them. They capped it off with each of their out pitches being worth well over two runs per 100 pitches.

Personally, I’d side with 19-year old Felix over Pineda. His 3-pitch repertoire does the job as good if not better than Pinedas’ plus 2-pitches. You also have to take into account the fact that Pineda spent more time in the minor league at this point than Felix did. Oh, and then again Felix was 19.

But, I know that there are fans out there that believe differently. This wasn’t about making a point one way or another. It’s not about Felix vs Pineda. It’s about just realizing how good and potentially great Pineda could be.

Once Pineda learns and figures out how to throw his change-up more consistently it’s going to make him and his arsenal so much better.