Minor League Prospect Note: Josmil Pinto, C, Twins

Josmil Pinto - USA TODAY Sports

If you are looking for a sleeper catching prospect, you should check out Minnesota Twins backstop Josmil Pinto.

First, here is the comment I wrote about him for the 2013 Baseball Prospect Book.


Josmil Pinto, C, Minnesota Twins
Bats: R Throws: R HT: 5-11 WT: 230 DOB: March 31, 1989

2010: Grade C; 2011: Grade C; 2012: Grade C

Signed by the Twins out of Venezuela in 2006, Pinto had a big year in the Appy League in 2009 (.332/.387/.610 for Elizabethton) but struggled with injuries and defensive problems in '10 and '11. 2012 was better: he showed impressive power in the Florida State League, and remained hot after a late promotion to Double-A. Pinto has legitimate sock in his bat, but scouts don't like his body and he spends a lot of time at DH. Interestingly, his actual defensive stats are pretty good: he threw out 38% of runners last year with low error and passed ball rates. Scouting reports remain unenthusiastic and he turns 24 in March, but Pinto hits enough that we need to pay attention.
Grade C.

ADDITIONAL COMMENTARY: Pinto is off to a strong start in 2013, hitting .290/.405/.806 in eight games for Double-A New Britain, with four homers, five walks, and seven strikeouts in 37 plate appearances. Combined with last year, he has 20 games of Double-A under his belt with a .295/.382/.654 line, with six homers, nine walks, and 17 strikeouts in 89 plate appearances.

Yes, it is just 20 games, a very small sample. But he's picking up right where he left off last year, and he's usually hit well when healthy, so I wouldn't write this off as a fluke just yet. So far, Double-A pitchers haven't been able to contain him.

Most complaints about Pinto revolve around a bad body and doubtful defense, although as I wrote above, his actual defensive stats aren't bad and have gotten better over time. Reportedly, he has lost some weight and looks more athletic this spring, although interestingly enough he hasn't been able to catch any of the five runners who've gone on him this year.

So what do we have here? A successor for Joe Mauer? I wouldn't go that far, but Pinto is at least interesting, looks like he can hit some, has improved his defense over time, is under-the-prospect-radar nationally, and the Twins like him enough to give him a spot on the 40-man roster. That spells sleeper.

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