Name: Yohan Pino
Position: Right-Handed Pitcher
DOB: December 26, 1983
The Twins signed Yohan Pino out of Venezuela in 2004, as he was signed by Jose Leon. Pino made quite an impression on the Twins after being signed, being named the Most Outstanding Pitcher of the Dominican Summer League. In addition, Pino was named to the DSL All-Star Team, and his statistics pretty much spoke for themselves.
In 13 appearances, Pino went an incredible 10-1, posting a miniscule earned run average of 0.53. He also showed pinpoint control, striking out 81 batters while walking only five. It was clear that he was ready for short-season ball in 2005.
Pino was a member of the Elizabethton Twins Appalachian League Championship team in 2005, as he was one of the more consistent pitchers in the league. He went 9-2 on the season, striking out 64 batters in 67.2 innings of work. He also notched a 3.72 earned run average, helping the Twins to the championship.
Pino got his first taste of full-season ball in 2006, and really helped raise his stock within the Twins organization. Pino won 14 games for the Snappers, working from both the rotation and the bullpen, and posted a 1.91 earned run average. A great control pitcher, Pino struck out better than a batter per inning, earning Midwest League All-Star Game honors.
During this past winter, Pino played in the Venezulean Winter League, and he continued to impress. The young right-hander went 6-0 on the short season, and displayed the kind of pinpoint accuracy that made him so successful during the regular season. His six wins in the winter league gave him a total of 20 for the season, against only two losses.
Pino has the ability to work from the bullpen or the rotation, and could be in either Fort Myers, or New Britain in 2007.
Repetoire: Fastball, Curveball, Slider
Fastball: Pino does not overwhelm batters with his fastball, but he does have the ability to spot it wherever he wants. His fastball sits in the mid-to-high 80s, and he uses it to set up some great off-speed stuff. While his fastball is not a putaway pitch, it does seem faster when mixed in with the rest of his arsenal.
Other Pitches: Pino has a great curveball and slider, and it is used to rack up strikeouts. A pitcher who does not throw that hard is not supposed to have such a great strikeout to innings pitched ratio, but Pino knows his pitches, and uses them to their full potential. He has great command over his entire arsenal, and he is only going to get better as he begins to fill out his 6'3'' frame.
Pitching: Pino is a bulldog, and he is someone who is going to eat up innings no matter what role he pitches in. He has shown the ability to go late into games, and already has multiple complete games in his career. He is also a very confident pitcher, showing confidence in all of his pitches, and throwing any one of them as a payoff pitch. If he continues to show this kind of reliance in his stuff, he is going to be tough to deal with in any situation.
Projection: Pino has been worked in every kind of role on a pitching staff, and has had success no matter where his team fits him in. He has been used as a starter, reliever, middle relief, set-up man, and a closer, and his numbers speak for themselves. While he is still projected to be a starter, it would not surprise me if he was in the bullpen at New Britain to start the 2007 season.
ETA. 2008 Pino has turned himself into one of the top pitching prospects in the Twins organization, and his ability to work in different roles is really going to help him move up the ladder in the coming years. It would not be too far of a stretch to see him in New Britain in 2007, and he could fill in any role on any team in the Twins organization this coming season. If he can put together another solid season in 2007, then it is not too far gone that he could be in Minnesota at some point, and in some capacity during the 2008 season. He has a good three-pitch arsenal, and could be a legitimate middle reliever in the future.