Yesterday the Philadelphia Phillies promoted right-handed pitcher Ricardo Pinto to the major league roster. He pitched right away, throwing two innings of relief against the Miami Marlins with unpleasant results: six hits, three walks, four runs. More opportunities will come of course so let’s take a look at his chances.
The Phillies signed Pinto as a free agent from Venezuela in 2011. Very successful at the lower levels, he posted a 15-4 record with a 2.97 ERA and 105/37 K/BB in 145 innings in High-A in 2015, then a less impressive 4.10 ERA in 156 innings in Double-A in 2016 with a 101/51 K/BB. This season he had a 5.53 ERA in 42 innings in Triple-A with a 27/17 K/BB.
Pinto was rated as a Grade C+ but did not rank among the Phillies Top 20 Prospects for 2017 list. He would have been in the 21-25 range.
Listed at 6-0, 185, Pinto is a right-handed hitter and thrower born January 20, 1994. His main attraction is a hot fastball clocked as high as 98 MPH in the minors; he clocked in with a max 97.5 in his MLB debut. His second pitch is a mid-80s change-up and it is solid enough, but his slider is below average and has kept his strikeout rate at a mediocre level.
Pinto will need to improve his breaking ball and overall command to thrive in the majors, although the Phillies will likely be patient given his arm strength. Most observers view him as a future middle reliever.