|Minnesota Twins catcher Josmil Pinto (43, center left) is hugged by designated hitter Kennys Vargas (19) Saturday, Feb. 28, 2015 at CenturyLink Sports Complex in Fort Myers, Fla. Today marked the first full-squad workout of spring training. (Corey Perrine/Staff)|
There's very little argument to be made that Herrmann is a more major league capable player than Pinto. Despite batting .304/.373/.505 at Triple-A Rochester a season ago, Herrmann is a career .196/.264/.284 hitter in 250 major league at bats. He probably gives the Twins a more serviceable backstop, and he offers positional flexibility, but you'd be kidding yourself not to suggest he leaves something to be desired. That being said, the Twins weren't put in the most ideal position when it came to making the decision.
Even neglecting the fact that Pinto recently dealt with concussion like symptoms, injuries and other issues allowed him to play in just eight spring training games. Knowing it will be his bat that carries him at the major league level, Minnesota wanted to see improvement from the .219/.315/.391 slash line that was posted just a season ago. With limited exposure down in Fort Myers, there just was not enough time for Pinto to lay claim to the spot. Undoubtedly someone that will never be a good defensive catcher, Pinto should ride his bat to the big club in short order this season. That notion is something that the Twins likely see taking place across the board.
Like with Pinto, Aaron Hicks, Eddie Rosario, Trevor May, and Alex Meyer all find themselves in similar situations. From the get go, the Twins made safe decisions when it came to the Opening Day roster. Looking to have a sure thing (even at the cost of a limited ceiling), the Twins turned away from more enticing options. While that's not the desired result for fans, or even for the club immediately looking to turn the corner, it continues to drive the narrative that this club can excel from within.
As the season kicks off in Rochester, it will be those five players that have the most to gain. A litany of factors will determine when exactly they surface with the big league club, but you can bet the timing will be in the best interest of the club. Should one get off to a hot start, combined with a slow one from a current active roster member, seeing a late April or May move would make sense. Each of the five players mentioned has a relatively high ceiling. If the Twins can get them trending towards that direction prior to their callup, they will only increase the overall potential for the big league club.
For the Twins to surprise, and make a splash large than expected in 2015, it will come through the timely promotion of guys within the organization. A need being exposed at the top, and being filled from a player that can excel in the role, is something that should continue to be a worthwhile storyline long into the summer.