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Minor League Prospect Note: Guillermo Pimentel, OF, Seattle Mariners

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Minor League Prospect Note: Guillermo Pimentel, OF, Seattle Marines

Seattle Mariners outfield prospect Guillermo Pimentel was one of the players I was most interested in observing on my recent trip to Burlington. The Mariners spent $2,000,000 to sign him out of the Dominican Republic in 2009. What did they get for their money?

Pimentel is a 6-1, 205-pound left-handed hitter and thrower, born October 5, 1992. His listed height-weight look correct; he doesn't visually appear to be taller or heavier than that. He looks physically strong, with average running speed. Unfortunately I didn't get a read on his defense, as he was playing DH, and he only played in one of the two games I saw. Scouting reports rate his arm strength as average, and he's spent most of his career in left field, without distinguishing himself with the glove.

His future comes down to the bat.

In the game I saw this past Wednesday, he went 0-for-3 with one walk and one strikeout. The Burlington pitchers worked him on the outer half of the strike zone, avoiding giving him anything to pull. This was a problem for Pimentel because he was trying to pull everything, resulting in swing-and-miss or weak contact. His swing has some uppercut and he has plenty of bat speed, but his all-pull approach is very exploitable, and he has poor pitch recognition.

Pimentel is hitting .248/.289/.370 on the season for the Clinton Lumberkings, with 16 doubles, nine homers, 18 walks, and 108 strikeouts in 351 at-bats. That kind of BB/K ratio is unacceptable, and without refinements with his hitting approach, there's no way he'll succeed at higher levels. Yes, I saw just one game, but what I saw matched the scouting reports perfectly.

The good news is that he is only 19. The bad news is that his approach puts him in a deep hole, and at this point I'm not especially optimistic about the $2,000,000 investment panning out for the Mariners.