Scouting Mets' Prospect #31: Miguel Pinango

The New York Mets signed Miguel Pinango an an international free agent out of St. Theresa, Venezuela back in 1999. Pinango has made a name for himself as a strike-throwing machine in the Mets' system and it's his pinpoint control that ranks him #31 among the Mets' Top 50 prospects. Here's a scouting report on Miguel Pinango.

Vital Statistics:
Name: Miguel Pinango
Position: Starting Pitcher
DOB: January 20, 1983
Height: 6'1"
Weight: 160
Bats: Right
Throws: Right

After signing a free agent deal with the Mets at the tender age of 17 years old, Pinango made an immediate splash while playing with the Universidad de Carabobo in 2000. He went 4-3 with a 3.22 ERA in 18 appearances (12 starts) in the Venezuelan Summer League that year, but it was his incredible control that was most impressive. Pinango walked just 12 batters in 72 2/3 innings in the VSL and made a swift progression through the Mets' farm system as a result, exhibiting the same control along the way. Despite going a combined 5-15 in two stops between Brooklyn and Kingsport in 2001 and 2002, Pinango continued to post fantastic peripheral numbers and continued to get promoted despite the surprisingly bad win-loss record.

Pinango had his breakout season with the Capital City Bombers in 2003, going 13-6 with a 3.47 ERA and earned a promotion to high-A ball with the St. Lucie Mets this past season. An injury cut short his 2004 campaign as he was only able to get in to four games. In his four seasons in the Mets' farm system, Pinango has never averaged more than two walks per nine innings. He owns an outstanding 4.6 career strikeout-to-walk ratio in his 362 career innings and has some of the best control in all of baseball.

Year

Team

W-L

IP

Hits

BB

K

ERA

2004

St. Lucie

2-2

19.2

18

1

16

2.75

2003

Capital City

13-6

132.1

140

25

106

3.47

2002

Brooklyn

2-7

80.1

85

14

64

3.59

2001

Kingsport

3-8

59.0

63

13

49

4.42


* Stats as of 10/1/04

Repertoire. Fastball, Curveball, Slider, Changeup.

Fastball. Pinango's fastball sits in the 89-91 MPH range, topping off around 93 MPH. Pinango throw's a four-seam fastball and a two-seam fastball. He has good command of his four-seamer and is gaining better control of is two-seam fastball, a pitch he's thrown very infrequently up until this point.

Other Pitches. His changeup is his best secondary pitch and it currently serves as his out pitch, although it's not a true out pitch. His curveball and slider still need some work. Once he gets better command of his other breaking pitches, Pinango will be a complete pitcher.

Pitching. Pinango has some of the best command among all the Mets' pitching prospects. He uses his pinpoint control to keep runners off the bases. He's more of a ground ball pitcher and will need a good defense behind him to be truly effective. Pinango is a strike throwing machine and he's only as good as his control. He still lacks a true "out" pitch and it's because of this reason alone he doesn't rank higher as a prospect.

Projection. The injuries this past season cost him some useful development time. If Pinango can develop a good out pitch, watch out! He could make big strides as a starting pitcher at that time. Until he does, he projects more as a backend rotation pitcher or middle reliever. Watch the progression in his repertoire closely. If he is not able to improve his slider and curveball, Pinango may have to be moved to the bullpen where he could excel as a setup man with his awesome control. With his slight build (6'1", 160 lbs), limited repertoire, and awesome command, a move to the bullpen may be the wise move.

ETA. 2007. There's no exact timetable for his return from his injury but the early word is he may miss the opening month of the 2005 season. Pinango should be back in St. Lucie next year for some more development time to work on his secondary pitches. The bottom line is despite having four years of professional baseball in the United States under his belt, Pinango still only turns 22 years old prior to the start of the 2005 campaign and time is still on his side. With his control, Pinango will continue to move quickly through the Mets' system (barring more injuries) and is on pace to reach the Majors by 2007 when he'll still only be 24 years old.

Starting Pitchers

2004 Team

Aaron Heilman

AAA - Norfolk Tides

Bob Keppel

AAA - Norfolk Tides

Neal Musser AA - Binghamton Mets
Brian Bannister AA - Binghamton Mets
Yusmeiro Petit AA - Binghamton Mets
Miguel Pinanago A - St. Lucie Mets
Kevin Deaton A - St. Lucie Mets
Matthew Lindstrom A - Capital City Bombers
Vincent Cordova A - Capital City Bombers
Greg Ramirez A - Capital City Bombers
Evan MacLane A - Brooklyn Cyclones
Scott Hyde A - Brooklyn Cyclones
Michael Devaney A - Brooklyn Cyclones
Joseph Williams A - Brooklyn Cyclones
Mike Swindell A - Brooklyn Cyclones
Gaby Hernandez R - GCL Mets


Comments

The Mets have some good pitching prospects and the system's depth is only going to get better with the additions of Alay Soler, Matt Durkin, and Philip Humber. Considering they have not pitched a professional inning in the Mets system as of yet, we'll focus on the pitchers that have. Among the Mets' pitching prospects, Yusmeiro Petit and Gaby Hernandez seem to have the highest ceilings simply because of their age and talent. However, the Mets do have a number of other good pitching prospects that still have time on their side to make their mark. The following starting pitchers are currently in our Tier One group...the top starting pitching prospects in the Mets system.

1) Aaron Heilman - Heilman struggled out of the gate in 2004 but was perhaps the hottest pitcher in the entire Mets' system the second half of the year. All Heilman needs is a chance. Give the guy 30 starts and see what he can do. But that day may never come with the Mets as he appears to be in New York's doghouse. It's a shame too. He's a better pitcher than people think.

2) Bob Keppel - Like Heilman, Keppel struggled mightily to begin the 2004 campaign but finished the year strong. Keppel's always had the repertoire and pitching ability to become a Major League starter. The question has been his strikeout rate. Still only 22 years old and seems forgotten.

3) Neal Musser - With the trade of Scott Kazmir, Musser becomes the Mets' best left-handed starting pitching prospect. A top prospect a couple of years ago, Musser was beset with injuries and had a bounce back year in 2004. Musser is still only 24 years old and should not be forgotten.

4) Brian Bannister - His stats do not accurately portray how good a pitcher he is. Bannister has four plus pitches in his repertoire and has the chance to be a front-line starter someday. Remember, Bannister has only been pitching for 4 seasons...two in college, two in the pros. So as good as he is, he is still learning which is a scary thought.

5) Yusmeiro Petit - The Mets #1 pitching prospect the minute the Mets traded Kazmir. Forget about the pundits and all their talk about lack of "stuff". Petit knows how to pitch at such a young age (19). Drawing comparisons to Greg Maddux, Petit has the ability to change speeds on his fastball and is very deceptive on the mound. Bottom line is he's been baffling hitters from the word go.

6) Miguel Pinango - Pinango was cruising through the Mets system until an injury in St. Lucie ended his season in 2004 after just three starts. Pinango's command is superb. Only Petit's command is perhaps better and even that's not a lock. Still only 21 years old (he'll be 22 by the start of next season), Pinango is still a very good pitching prospect for the Mets.

7) Kevin Deaton - Growing up as an offensive lineman, Deaton is an imposing figure on the mound. Like Pinango, Deaton's rise through the system hit a speed bump in 2004 when he was plagued by injury (tendonitis). His fastball tops off at 94 MPH with solid movement and is still only 23 years old.

8) Matthew Lindstrom - Nobody throws as hard as Lindstrom does in the Mets' organization...nobody! Lindstrom is a fascinating talent that is getting a chance to showcase his stuff in the Arizona Fall League this year. With a fastball that regularly sits in the 94-96 MPH range, he can top it off at 100 MPH at times. Used primarily as a starter up to this point, his future seems to be in the bullpen...possibly as a closer.

9) Vincent Cordova - Cordova has the talent to be a very good pitching prospect for the Mets. Drafted out of college in 2003, Cordova needs to prove he can get hitters out at the higher level. Like Pinango and Petit, Cordova's success is predicated on his control. He's a Tier One prospect for now but time is not on his side.

10) Greg Ramirez - Used as both a starter and a relieve in his short career thus far, Ramirez is like Cordova. He has the talent and the stuff to be a Tier One pitching prospect for the Mets, but like Cordova, he's going to have to prove it at the higher levels to remain in this group. It's unclear how he will be used in the future.

11) Evan MacLane - MacLane gives the Mets' pitching in their farm system they seriously lack: quality left-handed pitching among their starting pitching prospects. MacLane was dominating South Atlantic League hitters in 2004 before being sent to Brooklyn where he had the same success. MacLane should be challenged in 2005 and will most likely be part of the St. Lucie staff. Like Ramirez, Cordova, Petit, and Pinango, MacLane is all about the control. He has great command of his pitches.

12) Scott Hyde - Hyde was not scheduled to pitch in live games this past season after being drafted but still managed to showcase some good pitching in his stint with the Cyclones. Hyde has the chance to be the "sleeper" among the Mets' 2004 draft picks.

13) Michael Devaney - Among the NY-Penn League leaders in ERA, Devaney is very solid. As is the case with most of the Cyclones' rotation, he'll have to duplicate the same success at the higher levels to remain in the Tier One level of starting pitching prospects.

14) Joseph Williams - Like Devaney, it's hard to dispute the success Williams had in Brooklyn this past season. The fact that he's a lefty aids his chances to be challenged quickly in the Mets' farm system.

15) Mike Swindell - Another college arm that was drafted in 2004 that will have to quickly prove he can become a solid starting pitching prospect for the Mets.

16) Gaby Hernandez - The Mets' third round pick in 2004, right now, Hernandez appears to be second behind Petit with the highest upside among the starting pitching prospects. It's too early to tell, but Hernandez has the talent to duplicate Petit's fast track through the minors.

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