All three of Thursdays transactions in the Minnesota Twins system are a byproduct of the deadline trade of Triple-A catcher Drew Butera. While that trade will assuredly yield a minimal return in terms of a player or cash, it did created a playing time vacancy in Rochester that the team was quick to fill from Double-A. When the dust had settled, three catchers had received promotions on the day.
Assigned to Rochester (from New Britain): C Josmil Pinto (24) – is in his eighth season as a professional and all of them have been with the Twins since he was signed out of Venezuela. He’s flashed potential with the bat at several stops along the way but hadn’t hit over 0.300 since his days in rookie ball (2008-2009). All of that changed this season as he hit 0.308/.411/.482 with 23 2B and 14 HR in 107 games while playing with New Britain. Pinto has always had excellent OBP numbers for a catcher but broke the 0.400 barrier for the first time with the Rock Cats in 2013. There is a lot to like about Pinto’s game and his 64 BB and just 71 SO in 453 Eastern League PA this year stands front and center while being augmented by solid pop and an ability to work the count and make contact. He went 0-4 in his first ever Triple-A contest on Thursday but bounced back to go 3-4 with a 2B, R, RBI and was also hit by a pitch to reach base a fourth time in the game. Catchers tend to follow a unique developmental path and if Pinto’s 2013 season is truly a step forward he should be contributing at the major league level at some point in 2014. A September call-up this season is also possible.
Assigned to New Britain (from Fort Myers): C Kyle Knudson (25) – was the Twins 9th round pick in the 2010 draft out of the University of Minnesota. Like Pinto, Knudson’s 2013 season has thus far been the best of his career despite some recent struggles. The former Gopher has hit 0.271/.356/.343 splitting 45 games between Fort Myers (29) and New Britain (16). As Pinto moved up to Triple-A, Knudson was the logical choice to be bumped back up to Double-A where he played from May 29th to July 14th this season. He’s gone hitless in his last ten games and is mired in an 0-32 slump at the present time.
Assigned to Fort Myers (from Cedar Rapids): C Jairo Rodriguez (24) – unlike fellow catchers Knudson and Pinto above, has not had a memorable 2013. In fact this year has been the worst in his seven year professional career. Rodriguez is hitting 0.206/.243/.234 in 42 games, 25 of which have come as a member of the Miracle. He’s been bounced around this season and this latest assignment to Fort Myers will be his fifth stop on the year.