Winter Leagues: Stolmy Pimentel Throws Six Shutout Innings

Friday night was a slow night for Pittsburgh Pirates news in winter league, but one big story came out of the Dominican. Stolmy Pimentel threw six shutout innings, giving up two hits, no walks and he struck out six batters. Pimentel faced one batter over the minimum. It was a big rebound game for him after he gave up five earned runs over 1.2 innings in his last start. Pimentel has a 5.06 ERA though nine starts, but that total is skewed by two poor outings. In his other seven starts, he has a 2.48 ERA over 29 innings. He has now thrown 32 innings in winter ball after throwing 32.2 innings this year for the Pirates. He also pitched 10.1 innings in the minors on a rehab assignment this year, so he is now up to 75 innings on the year.

Edwin Espinal had three hits in his first start on Thursday. On Friday, he pinch-hit for DH Manny Ramirez in the fifth inning and went 0-for-2 with two strikeouts.

Josh Wall retired all three batters he faced, one by strikeout. In four outings, he has allowed two runs over three innings.

In Venezuela, Elias Diaz went 0-for-1, but he ended up walking three times and scoring three runs. He had three walks total in his first 11 winter games. Diaz has a .162/.295/.270 slash line through 37 at-bats. In that same game, Junior Sosa was a late-game replacement in left field and he walked in his only plate appearance.

Matt Nevarez faced two batters and gave up a walk and single. For the second game in a row, a runner Nevarez left on base, scored with Jhonathan Ramos on the mound. This time it was hardly the fault of Ramos, who faced one batter and got a double play grounder that allowed the runner from third base to score.

Deolis Guerra pitched a scoreless inning, striking out one batter. He has made six straight scoreless appearances, totaling 5.2 innings. In 15 innings this winter, he has 19 strikeouts.

In Puerto Rico, Yhonathan Barrios had his second straight solid outing, throwing 1.1 scoreless innings. He allowed one hit and struck out two batters. In his last outing he threw two shutout innings, but both of these shutout performances had one downside. In each, he allowed an inherited runner to score on a wild pitch. It’s a nice turnaround for Barrios, who gave up nine earned runs in his first four innings.

In Panama, Edgar Munoz went 2-for-4 with two runs scored and a walk. He has a .421/.500/.632 slash line through five games.

Ashley Ponce went 0-for-2. He is 2-for-12 with four runs scored in five games.

  • I think Stolmy has reached the point in his career where he has too much potential to DFA and too little ML production for a contending team to risk using. This does not usually turn out well for the owning team; generally they have to trade him for a fraction of his potential value.

  • Kind of off topic but stolmy reminded me of Melancon, what do you think Melancon would get on the trade market

    • Melancon would probably bring back 2 B level prospects, maybe even more depending on demand such as trade deadline time since he’d still have a year and a half of control. I could see them trading him next offseason, depending on how high his arbitration price goes up and how well other people perform this year.

  • Does he have any trade value? Hes obviously more of a starter than a reliever and has put up great numbers as a starter in the minors since coming to Pittsburgh. I just don’t see him being in their plans and should get whatever they can out of him, I’m sure there are teams he could start for.

  • The Stolmy situation just keeps getting better. It would be great for him to be the utility guy on the staff: Long relief, spot starts, extra innings when you need a guy to throw 2,3 or more innings. I think one year removed from at least a little time to get comfortable in the majors will be huge for him in 2015. He’s gotten some really valuable innings and seems to be getting his sharpness and mechanics all back together.

  • The way I see Stolmy is that he needs a good third pitch and better control. If the Pirates didn’t have Glasnow, Taillon, Kingham, ahead of him he might be someone to get excited about. But right now he’s more on the level of Sampson, Cumpton or Sadler. Since he lacks flexibility with a lack of options it seems to me he’s better suited to be used as part of a trade package. The biggest need that I see right now is the lack of solid upper level prospects at 3B and SS. I hope the Pirates can address that, with moving Stolmy as part of the solution.

  • If he pitches well in winter league ball and ST he could be used as trade bait since he has no options left. If Harts body holds up in ST they could get a good draft pick or decent major league prospect for Stolmy Weather!

  • I am not a big fan of pitchers pitching winter ball, but in Pimentel’s case I think it is a good thing, he needs to get as many innings as he can, I don’t think a pitcher can get rhythm pitching once in a while and he did not get a chance to pitch often enough last year and from the looks of this years staff he will be lucky to make the 25 man, even if he does he won’t pitch much and if he does pitch a lot that will be a bad thing for the team.

  • John , is it just the fact that he can’t hit his spots consistently . They have a lot of time invested in this guy and just wondering where this is all going to go .

    • Pimentel has great stuff and he never walked many batters in the minors. His usage could have something to do with his performance. Under normal circumstances, Pimentel would have been a AAA starter at the beginning of 2014, but he was out of options, so that route wasn’t an option. If you take someone out of the starting role, then promote them to the majors, you’re taking them out of their comfort zone. As some have pointed out, he was basically a Rule 5 guy last year. They had to keep him in the majors or risk losing him, but he wasn’t MLB ready and his use was similar to that of a Rule 5 pick, so it’s not really fair to judge a 24-year-old to the same standards as a player that is used to relieving and earned his spot in the majors.

      The bad part is that he is basically in the same boat as last year, but you hope the extra MLB experience he has going into 2015 helps him settle down into his role. The Pirates might be better off using him like a reliever in Spring Training as opposed to getting him a lot of innings. Get him 12-15 appearances out of the pen so it simulates the use he could see during the season, or pitch him ten times and let him go two innings so he is still a possible long man, but don’t have him start and build up his arm, then have him sit in the pen as an emergency long man. Just my opinion

      • Thanks for the in depth answer . I have been following him for the last couple years and have watched him throw numerous sessions . I agree he can do a lot of things with the ball but just not sure how it will all end for him .

      • John: That pretty much sums it up, but the fact is that, as you stated, he is only 24 and has MLB-level qualities but not MLB-level consistency. Bottom line though is that he is a freebie – Mark Melancon single handedly was much better and much cheaper for the Pirates than Joel Hanrahan, who only pitched a month for Boston before going on the DL and eventually being non-tendered. Everything from there, including two more years of MM as a Closer and a rising star in Pimentel, is just icing on the cake.

  • Here’s to hoping Stolmy becomes a vital part of our pitching staff. I am not expecting it, mind you, but I AM hoping. 🙂

    • They need to let the kid pitch this year. I’m not even picky about the role. They will never know what they have if they don’t use him. If they don’t plan on pitching him, quit wasting a roster spot on him.

      • I get the sentiment, but thats a terrible way to lose talent. If they feel they have 3-4 guys better suited for late inning work, they use those guys. Letting him go would be a pretty poor talent evaluation process just because they like him as a long man (which doesnt get used much). We could very well see a situation where he is a solid arm, but Melancon/Watson/Holzkom/Hughes all fit roles for the 6-9 innings most days and he is an emergency long relief option.

        • That’s fine if he’s the long man out of the pen. He needs to fill a role, which he didn’t this year. I like the kid’s skill set, he just needs to pitch if he’s ever going to realize his potential.

          • True, he was ignored for large sections. Though if the SP does well, the long man really isnt used much. An occasional day to give guys like Hughes and Holdzkom a rest, but the bulk of the work comes with “Morton crapped the bed, go eat innings”.

        • He’ll never be effective as a long reliever as he has shown. He was rarely even used when a 2 inning guy would have been helpful. Down 3 or more runs in the 5th inning or earlier, when Stolmy was on the roster, what was the % he pitched.

          • That really isnt fair at all, since it was the first time he was asked to be a reliever and they asked him AFTER stretching him out to start. Being an effective reliever does take some time, as even guys like Watson took a bit of time to learn to change their mindset. They didnt use him as i would have, but he also saw odd spikes in velo that likely gave them pause. One hopes they give him a defined role and allow him to prepare for such.

      • agreed. Give him a real shot during spring training, let him start a few games to see how he does against MLB competition, and let him sink or swim. see if his velocity and health are there, if nothing else we can maybe get something back for him as injuries deplete rivals and we can deal him for something we can use if we don’t need him

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