Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Fantasy Focus: Impact Rookies- Josmil Pinto

Don't worry if you've never heard of this guy.  I hadn't either until I got to digging this offseason.  Josmil Pinto is, get this, Joe Mauer's likely replacement at catcher for the Minnesota Twins.  He is also a great example of why you should not write off a prospect whose progress appears to stall out for a couple of seasons.

Pinto has been in the Twins organization since 2008 and will be 25 years old when the season starts.  He put up lines of .329/.394/.541 and .332/.387/.610 in 2 seasons of rookie ball.  Then, in low A of 2010, he stumbled to a .225/.295/.378.  He did a bit better the next year in high A .262/.305/.389.  He repeated high A in 2012 but showed improvement, .298/.365/.553 with 12 HR.  He got 52 PA in AA hitting .308. He started 2013 in AA and went .308/.411/.482 with 14 HR in 453 PA.  He got 75 PA in AAA with a .314/.333/.486 line with a HR.  He got the callup to MLB late and put on a show slashing .342/.398/.566 with 4 HR in 83 PA.

Just for fun, his Steamer projection for 2014 is .257/.319/.404, 10 HR in 398 PA.  His Oliver projection is .249/.305/.409 with 18 HR in 600 PA.  He is the odds on favorite to win the starting catcher job for the Twins, but GM Terry Ryan recently said the catcher job is "open" and that Pinto "has work to do."  Other catchers on the Twins 40 man roster include Ryan Doumit who is not a fulltime catcher anymore, Eric Fryer who only has a handful of MLB AB's and light-hitting Chris Herrmann.  It would appear that the starting job is Pinto's to lose unless the Twins make another acquisition.

Pinto's situation should be monitored closely in spring training. Catcher is a shallow fantasy position.  If he comes out of spring training as the starting catcher, you could do worse than to draft him if you someone who likes to wait on their catchers.

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