by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)
It’s easy to overlook there players, since they aren’t “prospects” and we’ve seen them before. However, they easily could be difference makers down the stretch:
Josmil Pinto – Catcher – Minnesota Twins
There was a lot of hype surrounding Pinto entering the season, especially after he assumed a bigger role in 2013 (83 PA). However, a relatively flat start to the season (.222 with 7 HR in 158 PA) and questions about his defense sent him back to Triple-A. He’s slashed .279/.378/.456 while there, and also continued to show a good eye at the plate (since 2011 he owns a 16.0% strikeout rate vs. 10.4% walk rate in the minors).
The Twins did sign Kurt Suzuki to an extension, so that would appear to block Pinto for the next few seasons (who would’ve thought that). It’s very possible, however, that the Twins bring him back and attempt to showcase him down the stretch. Catchers who can hit are a commodity, so it would make sense.
Let’s not forget that Pinto’s early season struggles were uncharacteristic, as the strikeouts were up (22.8%) and the line drives just weren’t there (12.9%). He’s better than that, and the Twins should give him another opportunity to prove it.
That said, playing time is going to be a bit of a question so he’s best left for those in two-catcher formats.
Marcus Semien – Second Baseman – Chicago White Sox
With the trade of Gordon Beckham and top prospect Micah Johnson lost for the season, there would appear to be playing time available at 2B. Semien failed earlier in the season when given a shot, hitting .218 courtesy of a 31.5% strikeout rate. That hasn’t been the norm for him, however, with a 17.1% mark in the minors since 2011 (15.8% at Triple-A this season).
He’s always displayed an intriguing mix of power and speed, including 15 HR and 7 SB this season (19 HR and 24 SB between Double and Triple-A in ’13), especially from a middle infielder. If he gets his shot in September, he will be worth the flier.
Jesus Aguilar – First Baseman – Cleveland Indians
Nick Swisher was lost for the season, opening up potential AB at 1B/DH. While Zach Walters has been the biggest beneficiary (from the DH spot), he’s been all power and little else. It’s possible Cleveland gives others a shot in September.
Aguilar didn’t show much in his short stint with the Indians earlier this season, but he’s hitting .303 with 19 HR in 495 PA at Triple-A (International League) this season. While you can argue that there’s been some luck involved in the average, he’s made good enough contact for a potential power hitter (19.4%) to make us believer in him as a .260ish type hitter on the Majors.
While the power isn’t tremendous, his 14.6% HR/OFB is extremely realistic. He could easily get hot and force his way into the lineup, and we all know power is a commodity that’s hard to come by these days. That alone makes him a player worth considering.
Sources – Fangraphs, Minor League Central, MILB.com
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