The Pittsburgh Pirates Stolmy Pimentel is one of the most interesting pitchers in Spring Training. Pimentel threw two scoreless innings in the Black & Gold scrimmage striking out three. When the Pirates head to Clearwater Sunday, the Bucs will have him back on the mound to face A.J. Burnett.
Pimentel was plucked from the Dominican Republic back in 2006 for just $25,000 by the Boston Red Sox. The Bucs traded closer Joel Hanrahan last winter and the return was a monster for the Bucs and included Pimentel.
In digging into Pimentel back in his young days it was clear that flames didn’t fly when the right hander released the baseball, but his career which seemed stalled with the Sox, has started to take off since coming to the Pirates.
In the DSL back in 2007 he put up a 60/22 K/BB in 62 innings.
In 2008 in the New York Penn League 61/17 K/BB in 63 innings.
The best pitch Pimentel had back then was his changeup which he worked in alongside a fastball that topped out at 90 mph.
In 2009 he posted a 103/29 K/BB in 118 innings but was hit around a lot.
In 2010 he put up 102/42 K/BB in 129 innings.
And then in 2011, it all fell apart. Pimentel had reached Double-A and in 15 starts he lost nine times. Those nice K/BB numbers were ghose as he posted a 30/23 K/BB in 50 innings. It was ugly. From what we are told his velocity was better than it ever was as he grew up and started to develop physically.
In 2012 it was just ok. The numbers were 86/42 K/BB in 116 innings.
The changeup was history. The curveball had long ago been scraped and the slutter was average. But the Pirates saw something they liked in Pimentel who was popping radar guns at 98 on occasion. Coming over to the Pirates in the trade was just what the doctor ordered for the 6’3″ 230 pounder.
At Double-A Altoona he put up a 61/35 K/BB in 77 innings highlighted by his first five starts, in which he allowed only one run in 37 innings. But he was rocked beginning in May, he put it behind him and after two nice starts the Bucs made the call. With no time to waste, the Bucs promoted him to Triple-A where he thrived with 62/21 K/BB in 92 innings.
The fastball can still get up there, but with the support of the Bucs staff he is locating it better. With the Pirates in September, the heater sat at 95 and in five outings he didn’t seem lost.
Now it’s decision time. Pimentel is out of options. The big challenge is that the Pirates will have to have him on their roster when they head to Philadelphia to begin the year. During Piratefest in December, Huntington even came out and said that Pimentel would be on the roster. Of course that might be Huntington covering his ass in case teams didn’t believe the club would be keeping him around when the cuts come later in March.
With a loaded bullpen, the Pirates are going to need to make a move sooner rather than later and it would seem that Pimentel might be a useful trade piece. If not Pimentel, then perhaps a more proven Major Leaguer like Jeanmar Gomez or Vin Mazzaro.
Obviously it will depend on just who the Bucs strike a deal with, but if I had to make a choice, I would like Pimentel to remain with the Pirates. How bout you?