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Gardenhire's next target. Is it Pinto?

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#1 jorgenswest

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Posted 10 June 2014 - 12:41 PM

Josmil Pinto will be the next young player Ron Gardenhire starts exposing in his press conferences.

Look at his use this year. What young catcher could have been successful with the way Pinto has been used?

Why take your developing catcher and use him primarily with a pitcher who is among the most difficult to catch in the majors? How can you work on your technique when catching Sam Deduno is different than catching any other pitcher? The Twins have a veteran in Suzuki that should be working with Deduno. Gardenhire wouldn't do that to a veteran.

He isn't hitting recently. Playing twice a week, what else can you expect from a young player? He needs consistent at bats

Gardenhire set up Pinto for failure and now I expect him to o start implying that he needs to go down and work.

The front office has provided Gardenhire with the veterans he loves. They have used a franchise record number of players in their 30s. The team needs to respond with wins this year.

Edited by jorgenswest, 10 June 2014 - 03:56 PM.
Pseudosabr correctly pointed out cynicism in title


#2 JB_Iowa

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Posted 10 June 2014 - 12:44 PM




#3 Cris E

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Posted 10 June 2014 - 12:48 PM

All true. I expect two things to happen as a result: Pinto will sit on the bench and continue to rust, and eventually Suzuki will start breaking down and we'll have Pinto and Hermann full time for three weeks, after which point Suzuki will never return to this level of productivity. Recall that his explanation for this year's offensive bloom was that he'd spent the last few years over-played and hurt.

But a lot of this goes back to the team's goal for 2014. Are they developing or winning? A development agenda puts Pinto behind the plate four days a week and doesn't expose him to Cy Young candidates. Win now rides the hot hand even if it burns out a guy with a history of not maintaining his best performance levels under heavy use.

#4 jorgenswest

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Posted 10 June 2014 - 01:01 PM

It is clear the team goal is winning this year. Failure to meet that goal must lead to changes in the front office and coaching staff.

#5 Thegrin

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Posted 10 June 2014 - 01:03 PM

This situation has developed because of Suzuki's unexpected value to the Twins. Looking at the 2nd half of 2013, Suzuki has been a consistent producer. He is too valuable to sit. Nobody expected this and I expect that it has disrupted the teams plans for Pinto. What would you do ? Until Suzuki has a severe drop-off in production, it would be folly to give Pinto his at bats.

#6 gunnarthor

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Posted 10 June 2014 - 01:06 PM

I guess the one great truth at Twins daily is that (unless it's Mauer) it's never the player's fault.

Cripes, he's played in 70% of the games and, when he was hitting well, Gardy had him in the lineup nearly every day - so Gardy must have been a genius then. He slumped in the begging of May (.466 OPS) - presumably b/c Gardy is evil - and then Gardy started playing him less in part b/c of NL schedule and gave the DH to the hot hand - trying to win games or something.

Pinto is a nice piece. He may eventually be a solid catcher but he's not an all star. He's a 25 year old unfinished product. Defensively and offensively Suzuki has been better than him. I suspect the Twins want Suzuki catching Gibson - their prized young arm - and their two big FA signees probably don't want to throw to Pinto.

#7 sorney

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Posted 10 June 2014 - 01:09 PM

This situation has developed because of Suzuki's unexpected value to the Twins. Looking at the 2nd half of 2013, Suzuki has been a consistent producer. He is too valuable to sit. Nobody expected this and I expect that it has disrupted the teams plans for Pinto. What would you do ? Until Suzuki has a severe drop-off in production, it would be folly to give Pinto his at bats.


Disagree. Mauer was given all kinds of time off behind the plate to keep him fresh (used him at DH when he wasn't catching). Pinto should be getting many more starts behind the plate, even if Suzuki is the hot hand. At a minimum, I would go Pinto 3 games/Suzuki 3 games per week at Catcher. You can't develop as a catcher by not catching

#8 Hosken Bombo Disco

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Posted 10 June 2014 - 01:16 PM

An overwhelming majority of young catchers in other organizations are already playing full time by age 24 or 25.

It's great and everything that Pinto has Mauer Steiny and Suzuki to mentor him, but you learn to catch by catching. Doumit caught quite a few games last year, now this year Suzuki. Goalposts again.

#9 jorgenswest

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Posted 10 June 2014 - 01:20 PM

This situation has developed because of Suzuki's unexpected value to the Twins. Looking at the 2nd half of 2013, Suzuki has been a consistent producer. He is too valuable to sit. Nobody expected this and I expect that it has disrupted the teams plans for Pinto. What would you do ? Until Suzuki has a severe drop-off in production, it would be folly to give Pinto his at bats.


Suzuki was signed to be the starter. The Twins may have based that on his 66 second half at bats. Playing Pinto regularly as a catcher or DH was not in the plan

I fully expect the Twins to make the huge mistake of extending Suzuki into his 30s. He has a poor arm. His well below average framing numbers have stayed about the same except that he now ranks virtually on the bottom starting catchers.

http://www.statcorne...tcherReport.php

I don't think his skill has declined. Other teams stopped catching the guys that used to be regularly below him. Doumit, Buck, Montero, Santana and Napoli aren't catching very much any more. A few other younger guys like Perez have improved.

At the end of this year, the Twins will be no closer to solving the catcher position than they were at the beginning.

#10 PseudoSABR

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Posted 10 June 2014 - 01:29 PM

The question is are you willing to lose games while Pinto figures out how to catch? He hasn't been good behind the plate. The truth is he's been outplayed by Suzuki (probably offensively, and definitely defensively), that's pretty much the end of it. The team isn't going to bench a more productive player in hopes a second, younger player can become more productive.

#11 jorgenswest

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Posted 10 June 2014 - 01:30 PM

I guess the one great truth at Twins daily is that (unless it's Mauer) it's never the player's fault.

Cripes, he's played in 70% of the games and, when he was hitting well, Gardy had him in the lineup nearly every day - so Gardy must have been a genius then. He slumped in the begging of May (.466 OPS) - presumably b/c Gardy is evil - and then Gardy started playing him less in part b/c of NL schedule and gave the DH to the hot hand - trying to win games or something.

Pinto is a nice piece. He may eventually be a solid catcher but he's not an all star. He's a 25 year old unfinished product. Defensively and offensively Suzuki has been better than him. I suspect the Twins want Suzuki catching Gibson - their prized young arm - and their two big FA signees probably don't want to throw to Pinto.


I have 37 starts and 18 at catcher in 62 games. I guess those pinch hitting games is where the 70% comes from. That doesn't seem like consistent play. I also am hopeful that we have leaders that understand small sample size is not predictive and a week of poor numbers is not an indicator about the next week. After May 8 he started 7 of the next 21 games in May. Should it be surprising that he didn't hit as well?

This is is not how a team develops a young player. The Twins are trying to win. Fine. Then win.

#12 S.

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Posted 10 June 2014 - 01:42 PM

The team isn't going to bench a more productive player in hopes a second, younger player can become more productive.

Isn't finding out which young players are going to be future parts of our team exactly what a team in a rebuild should be doing? If we don't figure out what Pinto can do as a regular catcher, what exactly is our plan for catcher for 2015+?

#13 spycake

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Posted 10 June 2014 - 01:47 PM

I guess the one great truth at Twins daily is that (unless it's Mauer) it's never the player's fault.

Cripes, he's played in 70% of the games and, when he was hitting well, Gardy had him in the lineup nearly every day - so Gardy must have been a genius then. He slumped in the begging of May (.466 OPS) - presumably b/c Gardy is evil - and then Gardy started playing him less in part b/c of NL schedule and gave the DH to the hot hand - trying to win games or something.

Pinto is a nice piece. He may eventually be a solid catcher but he's not an all star. He's a 25 year old unfinished product. Defensively and offensively Suzuki has been better than him. I suspect the Twins want Suzuki catching Gibson - their prized young arm - and their two big FA signees probably don't want to throw to Pinto.


I am mostly in agreement with you, but your stats are a tad misleading -- Pinto's just under 70% of games PLAYED for the season, but he's under 60% for games STARTED which is probably the more appropriate measure.

Your .466 OPS slump period was just the first WEEK of May, which probably isn't a fair sample to dramatically change someone's playing time.

Up to and including that slump: 550 PA/season pace (and a .781 OPS, nearly identical to Suzuki's current .784)

Since the slump: 257 PA/season pace (and throwing out the games in NL parks... 258 PA/season pace).

With Kendrys Morales in the fold, he will soon be at a Mike Redmond, backup to Hall of Famer, playing time pace (averaged 186 PA/season as a Twin).

I don't mind that as long as Suzuki is the hot hand, but at the same time, I do feel like part of Gardy's job here is to help his players succeed, and early returns suggest that a strict backup catcher role may not be the best for keeping Pinto sharp (which could hurt us later if/when Suzuki tails off or gets injured).

#14 PseudoSABR

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Posted 10 June 2014 - 01:55 PM

Isn't finding out which young players are going to be future parts of our team exactly what a team in a rebuild should be doing? If we don't figure out what Pinto can do as a regular catcher, what exactly is our plan for catcher for 2015+?

That's what AAA is for. Given that the Twins just signed Morales, we're no longer in a total rebuild mode, where you can give up games to develop players.

#15 Boom Boom

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Posted 10 June 2014 - 01:57 PM

The addition of Morales gives Gardy someone else to DH besides his other catcher. Whether or not Morales is a better hitter than Pinto is up for debate, but now Gardy can point at Pinto's defense as the reason that Pinto's not in the lineup.

#16 tobi0040

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Posted 10 June 2014 - 01:59 PM

Isn't finding out which young players are going to be future parts of our team exactly what a team in a rebuild should be doing? If we don't figure out what Pinto can do as a regular catcher, what exactly is our plan for catcher for 2015+?


It kind of comes back to where it always comes back to. Are we in, out, rebuilding, going for it?

I would question whether or not Pinto is playing that bad, his OPS is .730 on the year. While Suzuki's OPS is 50 basis points higher this year, Pinto's is actually higher than Suzuki's career .690. He has not caught a single runner, but we are not going to find out if Pinto is a future catcher with him sitting on the bench or DH'ing. And one day Gardy will realize that your manager berating you in the press is probably not the best way to improve their confidence.

This is the main reason why Gardenhire may not be the guy for this team. Too much talent coming up for old grumpy pants to beat down.

#17 PseudoSABR

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Posted 10 June 2014 - 02:00 PM

This is is not how a team develops a young player.

Are you just ignoring how patient the Twins have been with the likes of Dozier and Plouffe and even Hicks? Pinto's specific case of development has more to do with Pinto's own skillset and Suzuki's success than it does with any organizational philosophy. The whole "Gardy's next target" (or "here the Twins go hating on a young player again") angle seems particularly cynical and not particularly based in fact.

#18 S.

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Posted 10 June 2014 - 02:02 PM

If AAA was always an accurate gauge of how a player will do in the majors, then Parmelee and Colabello would be perennial all stars.

I also don't know how you can look at our lineups and pitching staff and tell me that signing Kendrys Morales as a rental for a few months makes us no longer in a total rebuild.

#19 Willihammer

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Posted 10 June 2014 - 02:05 PM

Sounds pretty fair to me. Nothing personal. I happen to agree with Gardy. Pinto doesn't seem to do anything well - block, throw out runners, or frame. I can remember one pitch in Deduno's last start - he threw a cutter in a bases loaded situation that was called a ball. Fox trax said it caught the outer half but Pinto *dropped* the ball. Possibly a crossup I guess. It came in an awful spot though.

#20 PseudoSABR

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Posted 10 June 2014 - 02:08 PM

If AAA was always an accurate gauge of how a player will do in the majors, then Parmelee and Colabello would be perennial all stars.

I also don't know how you can look at our lineups and pitching staff and tell me that signing Kendrys Morales as a rental for a few months makes us no longer in a total rebuild.

AAA is a development league. It's pretty clear that Pinto isn't ready to catch at the ML-level everyday. Again, do those skills he needs to be successful necessarily need to be developed at the ML-level or can they be developed at AAA?

If it was his bat that needed exposure, I'd be with you that exposure to ML pitching would help, but that his deficiencies are defensive, what he needs is games behind the plate, not exposure to elite competition.

#21 Boom Boom

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Posted 10 June 2014 - 02:11 PM

Pinto's in a tough situation. The Twins want him to improve defensively, but as a primary DH and only occasional catcher he's not really getting the chance to hone his craft.

I don't want Pinto to be a DH if he can be a catcher. He needs more reps in actual games. Catching bullpen sessions and doing drills with Steiny isn't enough IMO.

#22 S.

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Posted 10 June 2014 - 02:13 PM

Pinto doesn't seem to do anything well - block, throw out runners, or frame.

Suzuki is nothing to write home about when it comes to throwing out runners or framing either. And I find it hard to attack Pinto for struggling to catch Deduno. I'm pretty sure it'd be challenging for any catcher who didn't have experience catching a knuckleballer or someone else with no command and wild movement. I'm not sure what people expect taking a young, raw catcher and having him pretty much exclusively catch a guy who has zero idea where the ball is going to go.

#23 S.

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Posted 10 June 2014 - 02:18 PM

AAA is a development league. It's pretty clear that Pinto isn't ready to catch at the ML-level everyday. Again, do those skills he needs to be successful necessarily need to be developed at the ML-level or can they be developed at AAA?

If it was his bat that needed exposure, I'd be with you that exposure to ML pitching would help, but that his deficiencies are defensive, what he needs is games behind the plate, not exposure to elite competition.

His bat is a big part of this discussion, so I was including that in my point of view. I can see where you're coming from though.

#24 Rosterman

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Posted 10 June 2014 - 02:25 PM

Even though he is second in homers, if Suzuki can play near fulltime Pinto might be best getting regular time behind the plate (as well as working with future Twins starters May, Mere, Darnell et al) than sitting on the bench and maybe DHing. The question is, do we bring up Fryer just to sit, or is it Herrmann, who can do a little more, perhaps, in the field. Right now, forgive me, Pinto and Hicks would be best served in the minors.
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#25 jokin

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Posted 10 June 2014 - 02:28 PM

Even though he is second in homers, if Suzuki can play near fulltime Pinto might be best getting regular time behind the plate (as well as working with future Twins starters May, Mere, Darnell et al) than sitting on the bench and maybe DHing. The question is, do we bring up Fryer just to sit, or is it Herrmann, who can do a little more, perhaps, in the field. Right now, forgive me, Pinto and Hicks would be best served in the minors.


That's about where I stand on this debate. The argument about working with Steiny was OK, but now that Morales is here, let Pinto take what he's gotten from the major league braintrust and put it to work on a daily basis in Rochester for the time being. Could Hermann's wrist injury be the only reason why Pinto is still with the Twins? FTM, anyone have a status report on when Hermann is expected back in the lineup?

And Hicks to Roc. is a fait accompli once Fuld is back in the fold.

#26 gunnarthor

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Posted 10 June 2014 - 02:30 PM

I think some people aren't being that realistic on what Pinto really is. He's not an all star. He might not even be good enough to be a starter. His bat should be about what he is now, although less streaky. I suspect he can probably be a .240/.320/.430 105 OPS+ hitter, which is pretty good for a catcher. Whether or not his defense is good enough is another question.

If the Twins think he can improve his defense while catching Correia and Deduno and working hard with Steinbach, then keep him up and keep on the path that they are on. Suzuki will eventually slow down or get traded. May and Meyer will probably replace Correia and Deduno and Pinto can catch them. If the Twins think his defense is only going to get better playing every day, send him to AAA.

But if you think Pinto is secretly a .300/.350/.500 hitter than you're going to be disappointed. And it's not because of Gardy.

#27 jokin

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Posted 10 June 2014 - 02:33 PM

I think some people aren't being that realistic on what Pinto really is. He's not an all star. He might not even be good enough to be a starter. His bat should be about what he is now, although less streaky. I suspect he can probably be a .240/.320/.430 105 OPS+ hitter, which is pretty good for a catcher. Whether or not his defense is good enough is another question.

If the Twins think he can improve his defense while catching Correia and Deduno and working hard with Steinbach, then keep him up and keep on the path that they are on. Suzuki will eventually slow down or get traded. May and Meyer will probably replace Correia and Deduno and Pinto can catch them. If the Twins think his defense is only going to get better playing every day, send him to AAA.

But if you think Pinto is secretly a .300/.350/.500 hitter than you're going to be disappointed. And it's not because of Gardy.


Maybe Pinto could get an early start on catching Meyer and May this month in Rochester, then?

#28 tobi0040

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Posted 10 June 2014 - 02:33 PM

Suzuki is nothing to write home about when it comes to throwing out runners or framing either. And I find it hard to attack Pinto for struggling to catch Deduno. I'm pretty sure it'd be challenging for any catcher who didn't have experience catching a knuckleballer or someone else with no command and wild movement. I'm not sure what people expect taking a young, raw catcher and having him pretty much exclusively catch a guy who has zero idea where the ball is going to go.


I think we need to give framing about five years. There is so much nuance to this, the pitcher for example.

Here is an article showing why it was wise to move Carlos Santana from catching. I just don't buy the difference between a good catchers framing and a bad one is 45 runs, or 5 wins a year. Really?

http://www.waitingfo...tana-yan-gomes/

#29 Brock Beauchamp

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Posted 10 June 2014 - 02:34 PM

I think some people aren't being that realistic on what Pinto really is. He's not an all star. He might not even be good enough to be a starter. His bat should be about what he is now, although less streaky. I suspect he can probably be a .240/.320/.430 105 OPS+ hitter, which is pretty good for a catcher. Whether or not his defense is good enough is another question.

If the Twins think he can improve his defense while catching Correia and Deduno and working hard with Steinbach, then keep him up and keep on the path that they are on. Suzuki will eventually slow down or get traded. May and Meyer will probably replace Correia and Deduno and Pinto can catch them. If the Twins think his defense is only going to get better playing every day, send him to AAA.

But if you think Pinto is secretly a .300/.350/.500 hitter than you're going to be disappointed. And it's not because of Gardy.


All of this. I like Pinto and think he has a shot at being a nice piece for the Twins for quite some time... But I don't think he's suffering by getting a decent number of PAs and learning catching from a multitude of vets in Minnesota instead of starting in Rochester every day.

Would I like to see him get more PAs and catching starts as the season progresses? Absolutely, but I don't think it's an issue yet. If Gardy continues to bench him through the AS break, then it might be a problem.

#30 jokin

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Posted 10 June 2014 - 02:38 PM

All of this. I like Pinto and think he has a shot at being a nice piece for the Twins for quite some time... But I don't think he's suffering by getting a decent number of PAs and learning catching from a multitude of vets in Minnesota instead of starting in Rochester every day.

Would I like to see him get more PAs and catching starts as the season progresses? Absolutely, but I don't think it's an issue yet. If Gardy continues to bench him through the AS break, then it might be a problem.


Yet....it seems to be getting close to yet.

It's arguable that you could get him down in Rochester, playing every day and brushing up and applying what he's learned....meanwhile, reinvigorating his bat... so that when Suzuki has his inevitable drop-off, Pinto is ready to step into a bigger role with the Twins.