Josmil Pinto entered Spring Training as the favorite to be named the Minnesota Twins backup catcher but multiple injuries and a strong showing from Chris Herrmann forced the team to have Pinto begin the year in Triple-A.
It’s time for the Twins to revisit that decision and promote Pinto to the Major League roster.
Herrmann has been almost an automatic out in his occasional appearances as the backup catcher. After turning a few heads and going 4-for-17 (.316) in April, he has slowed down significantly and is now hitless in his last 13 at-bats. The 27-year-old has now played in 110 games with the Twins over parts of four seasons and has an embarrassing career batting average of .189. It is clear that there is just no offensive upside for Herrmann despite his ability to play corner outfield and first base on top of being a reliable defensive catcher.
Pinto, on the other hand, has shown offensive potential over the past two years in stints at the Major League level and he has continued to show that with the Rochester Red Wings (Triple-A) so far in 2015. He is currently hitting .259 with four home runs and seven doubles. The 26-year old backstop has hit .257 over 78 Major League games over parts of the last two seasons with 11 home runs and 30 runs batted in. His seven home runs in 169 at-bats last season shows that the Venezuelan native doesn’t just have more potential than Herrmann, but he is already a far better offensive option.
This isn’t the first time in 2015 that Minnesota has hesitated to call up who lost out a position battle in Spring Training only to have them succeed in the minor leagues. Aaron Hicks entered camp as the favorite to be the team’s Opening Day starter in center field but then found himself beginning the year in Rochester with Pinto.
Hicks batted .336 in 27 games with the Red Wings and was second on the team in runs batted in – behind only Pinto – before the Twins finally called him up. Like Herrmann struggling in what would be Pinto’s role, Twins Opening Day center fielder Jordan Schafer is not hitting well either and batting .217 on the season.
The Twins finally made the right move and promoted Hicks. This move made Minnesota a better team and bringing up Pinto being on the big league roster will also make the Twins a better team.
Minnesota is currently in second place in the American League Central and are holding onto the league’s top wild card spot. This success is something that many people did not predict at the beginning of the season as they were projected by most odds makers to be among the worst teams in baseball.
Any move that would make the Twins a better team, like promoting Pinto, should be done imminently as the team draws deeper and deeper into their schedule.