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Article: A Plan For Pinto

josmil pinto
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#1 Nick Nelson

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Posted 24 August 2014 - 11:35 PM

As spring training came to a close, the Twins decided that they needed Josmil Pinto's bat, so they brought him north. Pinto provided the offense they desired during his stay in Minnesota, posting an above-average .730 OPS with some pop and solid discipline.

Despite his success at the plate, he was sent down in early June. The move was a little perplexing at the time, but was evidently part of a larger plan.Pinto had been slumping after a red-hot April, so to some extent, his demotion was intended to get his bat back on track. But the bigger issue was that he was rarely catching with the Twins, giving him little opportunity to improve defensive skills that were drawing critical reviews from both coaches and players.

Instead of allowing him to stick around and DH -- a role he seemed well equipped for -- the Twins signed Kendrys Morales and sent Pinto to Triple-A, ostensibly to refine him as a catcher. However, it's now becoming harder and harder to believe that the team views that as his long-term position.

Kurt Suzuki's contract extension is one development that has clouded Pinto's future behind the plate. There is also the fact that Pinto hasn't even been the full-time catcher in Rochester. He has caught in only 30 of 52 games since being sent down, with nearly every other start coming at DH in recent weeks.

There is really no doubt that Pinto's bat is big-league ready. That was fairly apparent when he was here, and has been reinforced by his offensive dominance in Triple-A, where he's hitting .302/.399/.500.

It just isn't clear where the 25-year-old fits. The Twins don't appear to view him as a starting catcher and it looks like they favor Kennys Vargas at DH. Is Pinto likely to be traded this offseason? It makes little sense to keep letting him crush Triple-A pitching while catching only part-time.

What would you do with Pinto?

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#2 Shane Wahl

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Posted 25 August 2014 - 12:33 AM

OH man I just lost a long reply to this by hitting the arrow on my keyboard to go back. Blergh. Blergh and a half.

 

Anyway, it hinges on two things: the real status of his catching ability and the possibility of learning a corner OF position. The DHing can still happen 1-2 times a week, spelling Mauer or Vargas. The (fairly remote) possibility of a Pinto/Arcia true platoon in RF is pretty interesting though.

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#3 ScrapTheNickname

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Posted 25 August 2014 - 02:04 AM

Good question, Nick. I don't have the answer. I was so excited about Pinto after last September, but I thought sending him down to AAA was the right move in June.

 

Shane, you bring up the idea of platooning Arcia. I looked his splits up and found that so far in 2014, against left handed pitching, he has hit.187/.253/.319.

 

In 2013 against lefties he hit .254/.274/.386.

 

I know the question was about Pinto, but I am alarmed by the regression of Arcia this year, even after his homerun binge of late. If he continues to hit lefties as miserably as he has this year, I hope they do platoon him. (as we all know he is STILL 23, and even will be through the first a month of next season).

 

I'm not sure what experience Pinto has in rightfield, if any ... It's an idea.

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#4 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 25 August 2014 - 05:48 AM

I would hope that he's not traded.  He can catch 60 games next season as Suzuki's primary backup.  I think Gardy is going to have to be a bit creative, and perhaps he grabs an OF glove and plays a few games out there, but 60 at C, 20 in LF, and another 30 or so at DH would keep him in the lineup most days.


#5 mike wants wins

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Posted 25 August 2014 - 06:25 AM

Have him catch 60-70 or so games, at least. If they don't think he can catch, they should deal him to someone that does (and regret it).

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Lighten up Francis....

#6 eLee612

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Posted 25 August 2014 - 06:31 AM

I think the Twins need to commit to either a) yes we're going to develop him as a catcher and give him the playing time he needs to do it, or B) I like his bat better, and where else can we play his glove. Until they make that decision I don't see any reason to plan on him being Suzuki's primary backup. Same thing with Santana - it's really hard for me to envision him as our main SS when we never play him there. My ideal: with the Suzuki extension I'd like to see a Suzuki/Pinto split with Herrmann (don't shoot!) as the next backup.
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Nadie dijo que la vida sería fácil, sólo dijeron que valdría la pena.

#7 stringer bell

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Posted 25 August 2014 - 06:31 AM

I think that Pinto should catch a lot between his (expected) call-up and the end of the season.  Then the Twins will need to decide whether his catching skills are salvageable.  If they are convinced he's not a major league receiver, deal him for what you can.  Otherwise, he needs to be the backup catcher all of next year. 

 

Unless there are injuries, I don't see Josmil as a DH very often and no, just no, to trying to put an outfielder's glove in his hands. 

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#8 huhguy

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Posted 25 August 2014 - 06:56 AM

yes, I dont get giving up alternate days at catcher. Meaning, bring Pinto up, make him the backup catcher....and when he plays we have a chance to put the ball in the seats.


#9 Platoon

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Posted 25 August 2014 - 06:57 AM

Simple answer, I would catch him 70\30, with Suzuki as the back up. DH then depending on situations. But that won't happen. Neither will full time DH. I am afraid you cannot use the words Pinto and Gardy in the same sentence, or same dugout. If Gardy is still here, Pinto cannot DH without us returning to the days of 3 catchers. What if your starting catcher gets hurt, and you lose your DH for maybe 3 innings in a 162 game season. And with the continual [need] for 13 pitchers, that leaves one with another season of the short bench syndrome! More Hermann? I have not heard of Pinto playing OF in Rochester? So the Arcia\Pinto duo is out, plus Arcia is just too young to platoon. If you platooned every lefty who did not hit left handed pitching, you would need 30 man rosters. (Btw Ruesse had an interesting bit on that Sunday). I like Pinto, and would have never resigned Suzuki. He is a nice catcher, and tough. But he is not the future. Same as Escobar at short. The Twins have half frittered away chances to evaluate, and give experience. To avoid 90 losses? I know this comment has wandered seemingly off topic, but not really. It goes to the core of the stuck in the middle of the road philosophy that has cost the Twins at least a year of major league development time.
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#10 Willihammer

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Posted 25 August 2014 - 07:31 AM

I would hope that he's not traded.  He can catch 60 games next season as Suzuki's primary backup.  I think Gardy is going to have to be a bit creative, and perhaps he grabs an OF glove and plays a few games out there, but 60 at C, 20 in LF, and another 30 or so at DH would keep him in the lineup most days.

Do we want Pinto cutting into Mauer/Vargas at DH?

#11 goulik

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Posted 25 August 2014 - 07:35 AM

What we truly want at every position is players that can play both halves of a baseball game, offense and defense (except DH and Pitcher in the AL)

If a prospect is not going to play both halves, they need to be moved. Management isn't the only part of the organization to complain about his mitt. (See Glen Perkins) Sometimes fans spend too much time looking at offense and then wonder why the pitching staff isn't better... Good defense lowers ERA's.

To the point, if Pinto is not going to be an MLB level defensive catcher he needs to be at a different position or traded for best value.
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#12 stuck0

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Posted 25 August 2014 - 07:40 AM

The Twins should look to the Oakland A's as a model for how to utilize Pinto (along with their front office work, but I digress). They run out a combination of Morris, Vogt, and Jason at C/DH/1B/OF and get great production with matchups. 

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#13 Willihammer

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Posted 25 August 2014 - 07:43 AM

Who is the better bat - Pinto or Vargas? I like what Vargas has done so far, but his track record is much shorter than Pinto's. Its far from clear Vargas is the better DH option than Pinto, in my mind. If Pinto is the better bat, he should be the primary DH and instead we should be asking, what do we do about Vargas?

Its also worth mentioning both players minor league platoon splits since 2011 are basically zero.
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#14 goulik

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Posted 25 August 2014 - 07:56 AM

Good point Willihammer. I like Vargas' power more but both are still MLB small sample sizes

#15 Winston Smith

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Posted 25 August 2014 - 08:02 AM

Vargas plays first, Pinto is the DH and backup catcher and Joe moves to LF. Joe certainly can play out there as well as Willy or Delmon  did.

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May all our prospects be All Stars and the beer be free.


#16 Boom Boom

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Posted 25 August 2014 - 08:02 AM

I don't want the Twins to make Pinto into a Ryan Doumit, DHing most of the time and only catching a little - you could do better at DH, and you're also inviting the manager to keep a third catcher around.

 

Pinto either needs to be a #1 catcher or be traded, and the Twins didn't sign Suzuki to a contract extension to be a backup, so I think they're planning on the latter.

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#17 Willihammer

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Posted 25 August 2014 - 08:07 AM

Vargas plays first, Pinto is the DH and backup catcher and Joe moves to LF. Joe certainly can play out there as well as Willy or Delmon  did.

I think this makes the most sense, but I think the Twins will be reluctant to do it, but I'm not sure why.

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#18 DJL44

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Posted 25 August 2014 - 08:14 AM

Kurt Suzuki in August

 

.238/.294/.349/.643

 

The guy is too old to ride him this hard.

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#19 DJL44

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Posted 25 August 2014 - 08:16 AM

I think this makes the most sense, but I think the Twins will be reluctant to do it, but I'm not sure why.

 

Because it is a defensive downgrade at two positions. Mauer would be a minus at LF and Vargas a minus at 1B. Mauer is a plus at 1B and Vargas is best suited to DH.

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#20 tobi0040

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Posted 25 August 2014 - 08:24 AM

Have him catch 60-70 or so games, at least. If they don't think he can catch, they should deal him to someone that does (and regret it).

 

I agree that is what should happen, but it should have happened this year. So I don't know why it will next year. 

 

The Twins have pioneered a new strategy this year. If you want a guy to improve defensively, play him at another position (Santana) or not in the field at all (Pinto).  Improved defense through altering the vantage point.

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#21 mike wants wins

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Posted 25 August 2014 - 08:25 AM

Do we know Vargas can't play first? Who would be a better overall player in LF than Mauer for the next two years or so (combination hitting and fielding)?

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Lighten up Francis....

#22 diehardtwinsfan

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Posted 25 August 2014 - 08:26 AM

Do we want Pinto cutting into Mauer/Vargas at DH?

 

I don't reallly see another choice (unless some injury/ineffectiveness opens up another spot for him).  Bottom line is that he needs to play.  Besides, those guys will need an occasional day off.  Pinto can cover for them in that situation. 


#23 Willihammer

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Posted 25 August 2014 - 08:32 AM

Mauer is a plus at 1B

I'm not sure that's true.

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#24 Boom Boom

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Posted 25 August 2014 - 08:33 AM

Kurt Suzuki in August

 

.238/.294/.349/.643

 

The guy is too old to ride him this hard.

 

Suzuki's PEITTH (Pitchers' Enjoyment In Thowing To Him) is 1.000.

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#25 tobi0040

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Posted 25 August 2014 - 08:36 AM

Suzuki's PEITTH (Pitchers' Enjoyment In Thowing To Him) is 1.000.

 

He also leads the AL in RGAI, really gets after it.  The NL leader is Nick Punto.

 

To the comment about Mauer being plus at 1B. I don't think he is right now, but this is year 1. He could eventually be at least for a few years.

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#26 Nick Nelson

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Posted 25 August 2014 - 08:38 AM

It'd be convenient if Pinto could play the outfield, but I think there's basically no chance of that happening. He doesn't move well enough to play anywhere other than 1B, C or DH.

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#27 tobi0040

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Posted 25 August 2014 - 08:42 AM

It'd be convenient if Pinto could play the outfield, but I think there's basically no chance of that happening. He doesn't move well enough to play anywhere other than 1B, C or DH.

 

I agree. I don't think the Twins view him as a viable catcher option.  So I think his future here could be an emergency catcher (3rd catcher) and backup DH.  Please don't snicker, this could be an actual roster spot for us.

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#28 RealTwinsFan357

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Posted 25 August 2014 - 08:43 AM

I think the Twins need to take a "use it or lose it" approach to Pinto. Even if he's terrible defensively, I would expect many teams to have a substantial interest in acquiring a young, cost-controlled, offensively solid catcher. I'm not really sure where he fits in on the current Twins: definitely not left field, unless we want pitchers to have ERAs north of 6 we should not even consider having Arcia and Pinto play both corners. I'm interested to see if Herrmann has figured something out, at least enough to be a better backup than Fryer. I don't see DH/1B as a good option because the Twins won't move Mauer again (whether they should or not is a different issue, but it's just not going to happen), Vargas can't play anywhere else, and if Sano has issues playing third base after his surgery, that adds a third player to the mix. Pinto has become a talented player with no room for him to play and no desire from his organization to find him playing time, so unless something changes, they might as well flip him.

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#29 DJL44

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Posted 25 August 2014 - 09:05 AM

According to the SABR defensive ratings Mauer is an above average 1B. Vargas has not looked good at 1B and the scouting reports agree.

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#30 birdwatcher

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Posted 25 August 2014 - 09:28 AM

I'd find a young catcher from outside the organization who is better defensively than Suzuki and who projects to have as good or better offensive output than Suzuki's career numbers. I'd most likely take the trade route to accomplish this. Think Travis D'Arnaud of the Mets. I'd quietly put Pinto on the market this winter and look for an overpay, likely in prospects, but not accept anything less than an overpay. If I failed to trade him, I'd plan on starting the 2015 season with Suzuki and my new guy and put Suzuki out there at the trade deadline in 2015 and again look for a slight overpay. I'm assuming Suzuki has only a minor regression, and that Pinto improves just a little behind the plate, enough so that I can tolerate him as my backup at least for half a season. Longer-term, I've concluded that Pinto is not part of a future contender here.

 

By this time, the geniuses at TD are calling for my scalp, and the consensus view is that Ryan would be the perfect replacement for me, partly because at least he would not be constantly shooing Jack Goin out of his office.

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