Friday, April 4, 2014

25-Man Roster Dissection: Josmil Pinto

Earlier this week, the regular season started and the Twins brought the first group of players who will make up the 25-man roster. In this series, "25-Man Roster Dissection," the goal has been to try and predict the 25 men who will spend the most time on the 25-man roster over the course of the 162-game season. This can be a challenge in the early portion of the season when injuries haven't really hampered the team.

One of the strongest positions for the Twins in recent memory was catcher. The team essential lost both of their starting catchers from last year during the off-season. Ryan Doumit was traded to Atlanta and Joe Mauer was moved over to first base. This left the Twins with a void to fill and some questions about what is the best approach with a young catcher.
2013 Recap: .342/.398/.566, 4 HR, 5 2B, 12 RBI (21 games)
For Twins fans that were still watching at the end of last season, Pinto was a welcome surprise. He hit for power and average while looking like he could handle the pitching staff. His strong arm was on full display as he threw out five of the 11 potential base runners for a 45% caught stealing percentage. Pinto also did well during his time in the minor leagues. He hit over .300 in 126 games between the Double-A and Triple-A level. He collected career highs in home runs (15) and RBI (74). He has only played in 19 games with Rochester so it wouldn't be surprising if he ends up back in the minors at some point in the coming season. Although if he continues to hit at the big league level, the Twins won't be sending him back down because this roster needs as much offensive help as possible and Pinto could be a surprise player for the next few years.

Forecasting 2014: .271/.332/.433,14 HR, 25 2B, 62 RBI (113 games)
There were questions about Pinto's defense during his time in the high minors and this lead many to believe he would end up in Rochester to start the year. This wasn't the case as the Twins brought Pinto north and he is part of the team's roster for Opening Day. He will have the opportunity to work with and learn from veteran backstop Kurt Suzuki, which should be good for the rookie. The hope will be that by season's end Pinto has taken over the regular catching duties and he can fill this role for the foreseeable future. Suzuki might be an attractive target at the trade deadline and the Twins could deal him if Pinto has shown significant progress. There's no way Pinto will be able to produce at the level he did last September but the Twins would be happy if he can improve defensively and continue to hit for power. A young catcher with some pop in his bat would be a welcome addition to a rebuilding Twins squad.

25-Man Roster Safety: Loosely Locked-In

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