Scouting Twins Prospect #36: Yohan Pino

The Twins signed Yohan Pino back in 2004, and he has had a roller coaster type career thus far. Once regarded as one of the better arms on the farm, Pino struggled last season, showing ill effects from a foot injury. He needs to prove he is all the way back in 2009.

Name: Yohan Pino
Position: Right-Handed Pitcher
DOB: December 26, 1983
Height: 6'3''
Weight: 160
Throws: Right
Bats: Right

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 the 2007 season, Pino had some magical moments, including his no-hitter against the St. Lucie Mets. After posting an earned run average under 2.00 for the Fort Myers Miracle, Pino was promoted to New Britain, but he was hit hard during his first taste of Double-A Ball. He would begin the 2008 season back in New Britain, but he was ineffective once again.

In 2008, Pino never fully recovered from a foot injury, and he was not the same pitcher. He struggled through a season that saw him move from the bullpen and rotation, and he won seven of 14 decisions. He is likely to be back in New Britain to start 2009, but he will likely make his Triple-A debut next season.

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.

ETA. 2010 Pino was once considered one of the top arms in the Twins organization, but he will need a successful 2009 season to get back to that status. When he is healthy, there is no doubt that Pino can be dominant, but he needs to prove that he is all the way back in 2009. With a good start to the season, Pino will likely be heading to Rochester, where he can regain his status as a top arm in the Twins organization.

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