Twins – Who’s That Guy? Josmil Pinto

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Apr 30, 2014; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Twins designated hitter

Josmil Pinto

(43) hits a single in the second inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

As the long, difficult Minnesota Twins’ season winds down in its final month, we’ll take a closer look at some of the new (and some not so new) faces added to the roster with our new Who’s That Guy? postings. Our next entry: Catcher Josmil Pinto

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Who’s That Guy?

  • Name – Josmil Oswaldo Pinto
  • Age – 25
  • Position – Catcher
  • Career stats (69 Games) – 227 AB, .264 BA, 11 HR, 28 RBI

Experience – Signed as an amateur free agent in 2006,  the 25 year old was a fast riser through the minor league system, exhibiting power and run producing at bats each stop.  Pinto burst onto the scene last September when he was called up for the final month, getting fans and media alike excited for a future with the young Venezuelan behind the plate.  In just 21 games in 2013, Pinto 4 home-runs, and batted .342 and many had him penciled in as the starting catcher for the Twins for 2014.

What he’s done in 2014 – The Twins, concerned with starting a catcher with so little big league experience, signed veteran Kurt Suzuki over the off-season putting Pinto’s starting catching role into question. Pinto was very much in the mix early in the season, appearing in 21 of the first 25 games the first month, hitting 5 HR and knocking in 9 RBI. Pinto’s playing time decreased when the calendar turned over to the month of May, appearing in only 18 of 29 games as he watched from the bench as Suzuki went on to have one of his best summers, nabbing an All-Star Game roster spot and inking a 2 year extension for over 12 million dollars. After appearing in only 5 of the first 11 games in June, Pinto was sent down to AAA Rochester to allow for more playing time.  For the Red Wings he appeared in 60 games, batting .267 with 6 HR and 35 RBI.  Upon his call-up in September, he has appeared in 6 games, batting .250 without a HR or RBI.

September expectations – Become a better all-around player.  No one has ever questioned Pinto’s ability with a bat in his hand, having shown prowess in hitting for both power and average in the minors.  But there is great concern among the staff about Pinto’s acumen behind the plate;  having shown difficulties framing pitches, throwing out runners and handling a pitching staff.  There is also concerns about his aptitude to be able to call a game for his staff as well.  If he can take his time up with the Twins this month, spend some time with Assistant Coach Terry Steinbach, and really work this off-season to upgrade his skill level at those deficiencies, Pinto should be in the mix in 2015.

Looking forward to 2015 – Unfortunately for Pinto, his prospects to stay up with the big league club in 2015 seem slim.  With Suzuki signed for an additional 2 years at catcher, the only likely other place he could find a home would be Designated Hitter, a spot currently penciled in with rookie phenom Kennys Vargas‘s name.  With that being the case, Pinto will likely again find himself in a tough situation in 2015;  not good enough to be a starter, but too good to just languish on the bench.  With this case, expect GM Terry Ryan to send Pinto down to AAA Rochester to get more regular playing time and improve his defense, barring injury or performance issues with the aforementioned starters.

Next player that will be spotlighted on Who’s That Guy? will be Lester Oliveros.

Until next time…

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