When people talk about Phillies pitching prospects, the conversation always starts with Nola, Eflin, Lively, Biddle and Windle. They are by far the most decorated pitching prospects that the Phils have in their system to date and will be the next in line to get their “shot” at pitching in the major leagues.
But how about some love for a guy that’s been in the Phillies system going on four seasons now and has had arguably a better professional career thus far than all 5 pitchers.
Enter Ricardo Pinto.
Never heard of him? Pinto is a 21-year-old right-handed pitcher from Venezuela. He signed with the Phillies back on December 28, 2011 and played his first two years of professional ball in the Venezuelan Summer League where he compiled a 10-8 record with a 2.80 ERA in 132 innings pitched. His 90 strikeouts to 32 walks is equally impressive.
Pinto boasts a low-mid 90’s fastball, which he’s been able get as high as 95-96 MPH while pitching for Low A Williamsport last season. His plus changeup has been his real weapon in getting batters to swing and miss. He’s also developing a slider, which could make or break his longterm success.
While his size isn’t ideal for a righty, standing at just 6’0″, Ricardo Pinto has great control and command of his pitches.
While Pinto played all of 2014 in short season Williamsport, he was moved up to Single A Lakewood. Through 9 starts this season for the BlueClaws, Pinto sits at 5-1 with 2.68 ERA. His 54 in just 57 innings pitched continues to be a dominant stat, but even more impressive is his 4.15 K/BB ratio, better this year than Eflin (1.93), Lively (2.75), Windle (1.17) and Biddle (1.45).
The next two seasons will determine whether or not Pinto will get a chance as a starter in the Major Leagues. If his slider continues to develop, his ceiling could be as great as a #3/#4 starter. If it doesn’t, Pinto will likely be relegated to the bullpen and career of middle relief work.