Where Does Josmil Pinto Fit For Minnesota?
Over the past few seasons for the Twins, the catcher position has gone from a strength, to something of an uncertainty. While Joe Mauer was a perennial All-Star, Twins Territorians watched as his career became derailed with injuries, and eventually, a shift to first base. Enter Kurt Suzuki, a soft hitting, average defensive catcher, that burst onto the scene and gave the Twins stability. At this point though, we now have to ask, where does Josmil Pinto fit for the Twins?
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There is absolutely zero doubt that Josmil Pinto will be on the Twins Opening Day 25 man roster. He’s currently the only other catcher on the 40 man roster (Chris Hermann is no longer a catcher), and Pinto has nothing left to prove at the Triple-A level. With that being said, Pinto still has a lot left to prove behind the plate.
To say Josmil Pinto is an average catcher would be a monumental compliment. To be completely fair, he is more terrible than he is mediocre. His receiving skills leave a lot to be desired, pitch framing is not an asset, and in 25 games behind the plate in 2014, he allowed 20 stolen bases while throwing out absolutely no one. Josmil Pinto the catcher is something that is far from a polished product. Josmil Pinto the hitter is why he will play for the Twins.
At the plate, Pinto can be counted on for double-digit home runs, as well as driving runners in, and slugging a respectable percentage. Kurt Suzuki will need days off behind the plate, and Pinto will provide the flexibility for manager Paul Molitor. Undoubtedly, the Twins would love to see Pinto overtake Suzuki behind the plate. He would need to drastically improve to do so, but that would be the ideal situation for the Twins.
If that doesn’t happen however, there appears to be another option for Minnesota. As local baseball mind Brandon Warne brought up last night on the Jeff Dubay Show, Pinto profiles as a first basemen should things not work out. The Twins desperately need 150 games out of Joe Mauer, a mark that he doesn’t seem to be able to get to. Kennys Vargas is a below average defensive first basemen, and behind him, there is next to no depth.
Should things not work out for Pinto behind the plate, he could smoothly transition over to first base. It is one of the easier positions to acclimate to in baseball, and there’s no doubt Pinto’s bat will continue to play in that situation.
No matter what happens, the Twins will be hoping that first and foremost, Josmil Pinto takes significant strides forward for the Twins behind the plate this season. Everything else would be a fallback option. One thing is for certain, the days of Pinto going between Triple-A and the big leagues appear to be over.
Next: Twins Prospects: Who Gets The Call And When
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