• Waitin' With the Wings: Josmil Pinto

    This series called "Waiting With the Wings" will profile AAA Red Wings players who are on the brink of a callup and the journey each of them has taken. The first profile in the "Waitin' With the Wings" series was left-handed pitcher Andrew Albers and he had a terrific MLB debut this week. Now it's time to look at a position player and a bat that could be asked to make an impact.

    Name: Josmil Pinto
    Born: 3/31/1989 (24 years old)
    Acquired: Signed as a non-drafted free agent (2006)
    HT: 5'11"---WT: 210
    2013 Stat Line: .311/.410/.480, 14 HR, 25 2B, 70 RBI, 61 R

    Pinto had been considered a solid prospect before this season but his run through the Eastern League and the International League has him moving up the Twins top prospect rankings. The 24-year-old catcher has been with the organization since he was 17 and he has worked all the way from the Venezuelan Summer League to the Triple-A level. One thing has been clear through all of the levels: he can hit.

    Out of all of the levels from which Pinto has been promoted, the Dominican and Venezuelan Summer Leagues provided the most challenge. In over 220 plate appearances during his time in the VESL, he had to work to hit .251/.336/.344 with 11 extra-base hits. These struggles would continue in the DOSL as his batting line dipped to .193/.327/.269 over 171 at-bats. The Twins were looking for more out of Pinto and they hoped he would be able to find his swing when he started playing in the States.

    The next two seasons were fantastic for Pinto in the rookie leagues. He hit for average (.329 BA) and power (.541 SLG and 13 extra-base hits) with the GCL Twins, but this was only the beginning of what was to come. In 2009, he moved up to Elizabethton and really found his power stroke. He knocked 13 home runs and 14 doubles in a little over 200 plate appearances. By the end of the season, Pinto was hitting .332/.387/.610. Things were moving in the right direction and now it was time to tackle a full season schedule.

    Pinto spent parts of the next two seasons in the Midwest League with the Beloit Snappers. There can be some adjustment to a full slate of games on the schedule and it took some time for Pinto to feel comfortable. He batted .227/.293/.383 with 11 home runs and 24 doubles over 109 games. The Florida State League was next and this can be a tough league for hitters to find success. Pinto continued to make adjustments and he hit .282/.340/.440 with 53 extra-base hits in 570 plate appearances at High-A. The time was right to move to the upper levels of the Twins farm system.

    At the end of the 2012 season, Pinto got a brief taste of life at the Double-A level. He found success almost immediately and this could have helped his breakout year in 2013. New Britain was very good for Pinto as he had a batting average over .300 for the first time since rookie ball. Even with the higher batting average, he was still able to hit for consistent power. His .896 OPS was the highest for him at any full season league and he hit 16 home runs and 27 doubles in 505 at-bats. It was a great run through the Eastern League and so he was promoted to Rochester.

    So far, Pinto has been limited in his time at AAA. He has played in six games since being promoted and he has 23 plate appearances. It is a very small sample size but Pinto is hitting .364/.391/.455 with two doubles. He has yet to hit a home run with Rochester but it seems safe to say that won't last too long. Minnesota has used a lot of the players on the 40-man roster at some point this season and Pinto is now only a phone call away.

    Defense continues to be a work in progress for Pinto. During his time in the minor leagues, he has thrown out potential base stealers 33% of the time. To put that number into perspective, Joe Mauer has a career 33% caught stealing percentage and he has multiple Gold Gloves in his trophy case at home. Since leaving Beloit in 2011, Pinto has allowed 13 passed balls in 165 games behind the plate. He needs to continue to work on his game-calling skills but his offensive threat might be too much to ignore.

    It helps that Pinto is already on the 40-man roster and Ron Gardenhire loves to have extra catchers on his bench. This could mean a September call-up for the young catcher. Pinto had the option of becoming a minor league free agent at the end of last season but he decided to stay with the Twins organization. For both parties involved, this move seems to be paying off and he could make his big league debut in the coming weeks.
    This article was originally published in blog: Waitin' With the Wings: Josmil Pinto started by Cody Christie
    Comments 14 Comments
    1. Thrylos's Avatar
      Thrylos -
      Good stuff, other than this tidbit:
      Since leaving Beloit in 2011, Pinto has allowed 13 passed balls in 165 games behind the plate. He needs to continue to work on his game-calling skills but his offensive threat might be too much to ignore.
      You need a reference point if you are going to toss defensive numbers, and here is one:

      The "amazing, incredible, 'elite'" defensive catcher Drew Butera has allowed 15 passed balls in 183 games (one in every 12.2 games) behind the plate in MLB, and 74 in 476 games in the minors (one every 6.4 games)

      Pinto's rate for the period you indicate is one passed ball per 12.7 games. If Butera is "elite", Pinto is super-elite. The truth is some place in the middle. Pinto is not as bad a defensive catcher as it has been alleged, and Butera is not as good. I have seen Pinto catch is several games and he has been fine.

      As far as his power numbers go, I expect more. He has been filling up big time and he is more muscular than Arcia at this point. And a lot of the increase of his numbers as he is moving up the system has to do with the fact that he is not 155 lbs as he was as a 17 year old, but close to 230...
    1. Shane Wahl's Avatar
      Shane Wahl -
      I like the LH/RH combo of Herrmann and Pinto as pieces on the bench/semi-starting. Having "three catchers" won't be a bad roster move anymore.
    1. tjsyam921's Avatar
      tjsyam921 -
      I think he could make Doumit a trade candidate this off season.
    1. diehardtwinsfan's Avatar
      diehardtwinsfan -
      Quote Originally Posted by tjsyam921 View Post
      I think he could make Doumit a trade candidate this off season.
      yes. SSS I know, but he's hitting over .400 in AAA right now. He'll come back to earth, but the extra level hasn't seemed to hurt him at all. He's the next Doumit, whether that be this offseason or at the deadline. I like it b/c defensively he's better, and he can allow for Mauer to do a bit more 1B/DHing.
    1. Don't Feed the Greed Guy's Avatar
      Don't Feed the Greed Guy -
      Quote Originally Posted by Shane Wahl View Post
      I like the LH/RH combo of Herrmann and Pinto as pieces on the bench/semi-starting. Having "three catchers" won't be a bad roster move anymore.
      Absolutely. The 2013 draft may also be seen as a precursor for the post-Mauer era, with catchers Stuart Turner (round 3), Brian Navarreto (round 6), and Mitch Garver (round 9) all signed.

      It will be interesting to see the Twins moves at catcher over the next five years, until Mauer's contract expires, at the end of 2018. The Butera trade broke up the logjam. If nothing else, it brought good flow to the development of Pinto, Herrmann, and the heirs apparent in the lower levels.
    1. DJL44's Avatar
      DJL44 -
      Going out on a limb here but I think Pinto is the only player who hasn't seen the majors yet who gets a September callup.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      doumit isn't actually that good at any one thing, he's just able to do a lot of them kind of well, making his value in his versatility, not actually being a good hitter or defender.....

      I'm ready to move on, having an older player that isn't even average on this roster makes no sense. time. to. move. on.
    1. drjim's Avatar
      drjim -
      Quote Originally Posted by DJL44 View Post
      Going out on a limb here but I think Pinto is the only player who hasn't seen the majors yet who gets a September callup.
      Probably not a long limb. He is probably the only one who has a good chance.
    1. drjim's Avatar
      drjim -
      Quote Originally Posted by mike wants wins View Post
      doumit isn't actually that good at any one thing, he's just able to do a lot of them kind of well, making his value in his versatility, not actually being a good hitter or defender.....

      I'm ready to move on, having an older player that isn't even average on this roster makes no sense. time. to. move. on.
      I would bet the Twins agree but couldn't trade him. Probably too valuable to release.
    1. mike wants wins's Avatar
      mike wants wins -
      Ya, it is an odd spot....the versatility and value are there, so he's hard to just cut. I don't have a good answer for this one.
    1. stringer bell's Avatar
      stringer bell -
      Quote Originally Posted by tjsyam921 View Post
      I think he could make Doumit a trade candidate this off season.
      I have been liking Pinto since Spring Training. I called all season for Doumit to be traded at the deadline, but that didn't happen, perhaps because no one wanted to part with anything to acquire him. Maybe someone will make the move this month. Anyway, Pinto has had an outstanding season so far and would profile as a hitter that won't struggle too much at the next level because of his plate discipline. I have pictured a four for three situation (Mauer, Pinto, Parmelee and Willingham) at DH, 1B, and the outfield corners as the ideal for 2014.
    1. eagle's Avatar
      eagle -
      That is a single stat, most of which for a catcher are tough to calculate. I've never seen Pinto catch before but Butera is excellent behind the plate. He calls a great game, he receives the ball with the best of them, blocks the ball very well and has a strong, accurate arm. There was a reason Pavano had Butera catch for him and IMO, I believe Pavano wasn't getting the lower half of the zone called strikes when Mauer catches. That was been a concern of Mauer's from day one, since he is so tall, it is tough for umpires to see the bottom of the strike zone.

      Quote Originally Posted by Thrylos View Post
      Good stuff, other than this tidbit:


      You need a reference point if you are going to toss defensive numbers, and here is one:

      The "amazing, incredible, 'elite'" defensive catcher Drew Butera has allowed 15 passed balls in 183 games (one in every 12.2 games) behind the plate in MLB, and 74 in 476 games in the minors (one every 6.4 games)

      Pinto's rate for the period you indicate is one passed ball per 12.7 games. If Butera is "elite", Pinto is super-elite. The truth is some place in the middle. Pinto is not as bad a defensive catcher as it has been alleged, and Butera is not as good. I have seen Pinto catch is several games and he has been fine.

      As far as his power numbers go, I expect more. He has been filling up big time and he is more muscular than Arcia at this point. And a lot of the increase of his numbers as he is moving up the system has to do with the fact that he is not 155 lbs as he was as a 17 year old, but close to 230...
    1. stringer bell's Avatar
      stringer bell -
      For the record, Pinto isn't as tall as either Mauer or Doumit, so that portion of his catching shouldn't be an issue. From what I've seen, he is okay behind the plate, but I am certainly no expert on the subtleties of catching.
    1. Oldgoat_MN's Avatar
      Oldgoat_MN -
      Pinto is listed as 5'11". I posted another time that the catchers who get the best 'framing' calls are pretty much all 6'1" or shorter. (wasn't just an opinion - I had names and heights listed)

      I suspect that Mauer's height does impede the umpires' vision to some extent.
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