Sorry for the lateness of this post, traffic up to Seattle wasn’t good. But Michael Pineda was named the American League Rookie of the Month for April.
We voted on this on Sunday in Boston and I think it might have been the easiest vote of them all. I voted for Pineda for rookie of the month, Jered Weaver for pitcher of the month and Jose Bautista for hitter of the month.
Pineda was a little blown away by the award. He had a big smile on his face.
“It’s pretty good,” he said. “I’m excited because rookie of the month is … oh wow.”
Pineda was told by several teammates, his agent and Mariners media specialist Fernando Alcala.
Pineda is 4-1 with quality starts (6 innings pitched, 3 runs or less) in all five of his starts. He leads all American League rookie pitchers with a 2.01 ERA , opponent batting average of .198, strikeouts with 30 and is tied for third in innings pitched at 31 1/3. He was amongst the American League leaders in wins (tied for 3rd), ERA (4th) and opponent batting average (tied for 7th).
He is the third Mariners player to receive the Rookie of the Month award, joining Ichiro Suzuki (April, May, Aug. and Sept., 2001) and Rafael Soriano (Aug., 2003).
The 6-foot-7 right-hander has recorded a quality start in each of his first five outings, the first Mariners rookie pitcher to do so to start his career. Pineda also set a rookie club record for most wins in the month of April and was the first Mariners rookie to win four games in a single month since Freddy Garcia in August of 1999.
He won each of his last four starts in April, becoming just the fifth rookie pitcher in modern Major League history (since 1900) to win four consecutive starts in one season before the end of April. He joins Monte Weaver (1932 Washington Senators), Jerry Koosman (1968 New York Mets), Fernando Valenzuela (1981 Los Angeles Dodgers – five in a row) and Kaz Ishii (2002 Los Angeles Dodgers – five in a row).
Pineda was the 3rd youngest American League player on an Opening Day roster this season at just 22 years, 72 days (as of March 31).
Originally signed as a non-drafted free agent on Dec. 5, 2005 by Patrick Guerrero and Franklin Taveras, Pineda was named the Mariners Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2010. He went 11-4 with a 3.36 ERA (52 ER, 139.1 IP) in 25 combined starts between AA West Tenn (8-1, 2.22) and AAA Tacoma (3-3, 4.76). He tied for the lead amongst Mariners minor leaguers with 154 strikeouts (9.95 K/9.0 IP), including 4 games with 10-or-more strikeouts.