Vinnie Pestano has Big Plans for 2014
To quote Ricky Bobby in Talladega Nights, “I wanna go fast!” For Vinnie Pestano, the complete opposite coulIt’s’t be more true. In rebounding from a disastrous 2013 season, Pestano couldn’t care less about the speed on his fastball. For right now, results are the key.
Anyone who paid any attention to the Indians in 2013 knows just how much Pestano struggled. The once dominant reliever was a shell of his former self. He struggled with his control, couldn’t get opposing batters out and lost significant speed on a fastball that once topped out close to 93 mph. It got so bad, that Pestano ended up being demoted to triple-A Columbus to work out his issues.
Luckily for the Indians, several relievers stepped up in a big way – Cody Allen, Bryan Shaw, Marc Rzepczynski, etc. Conversely, Pestano is now faced with battling all of these relievers, and others, in order to not just win his job back as the eighth inning setup man, but any spot in the bullpen, period. It’s for that reason that Pestano isn’t focusing on speed. It’s the results that are going to make or break his 2014 audition.
In a recent article published by Indians beat writer Jordan Bastian, Pestano had the following to say in regards to his results so far:
“It could be 78 mph, as long as the ball’s doing what I want it to do,” Pestano said on Saturday morning. “The swings that I’m seeing are comparable to the ones that I used to get. … I’m seeing guys behind fastballs. Even if it’s still the second week of games, it’s still good to see. There’s still more work to be done.”
From that stand point, you have to like the view Pestano is taking on the matter. Results should be first and foremost. However, for Vinnie Pestano, being able to rear back and fire a 90-some mph fastball is a helpful weapon to have. How effective he can be come June and July when hitters are in mid-season form compared to mid-March when they are still trying to find themselves.
In the meantime, as Vinnie Pestano continues to find himself, Terry Francona can rest easy knowing that he has at least one more experienced option in the back end of his bullpen. And knowing what we know about relievers and the fickle nature of bullpens, there’s no telling who will or won’t have a positive impact this season. Anyone of the potential relievers for this year’s bullpen could be either boom or bust. You just never know.
Hopefully, though, Vinnie Pestano can bounce back and be the dominant late inning force that so many of us have come to know and love. A core of late inning relievers consisting of Allen, Shaw, Pestano, and Axford could potentially be dominant. The rest of the American League should officially be on notice.