Hey everybody, I’m going to be starting a Saturday column on the Red Sox’ top prospects counting down from twenty over the next few weeks– here goes! It wasn’t long ago that Stolmy Pimentel was one of the Red Sox’ top prospects and was racing through the minors. However, Pimentel had a really rough season last year and his stock has fallen tremendously since then. After being promoted to double-A Portland last year, he was miserable with a 9.52 ERA and an 0-9 record in 15 starts. He did show some revival after being demoted to high-A Salem, going 6-4 with a 4.53 ERA in 11 games (10 starts). This year, he was promoted to Portland again and has fared a bit better, but has not been great– he has a 5.79 ERA in 9.1 innings in two games.
There is still plenty of hope for Pimentel though. He was signed out of the Dominican Republic at the age of 16 and is still only 22 years old right now. He has a natural pitcher’s frame at 6’4″ and 225 pounds. The right-hander throws in the low-to-mid 90’s, with a fastball between 92 and 95 mph according to SoxProspects.com– you can see his prospect page here. He is not a traditional strikeout pitcher, but does have 10 strikeouts in 9.1 innings this year– however, his true issue is his command. His K:BB ratio at Portland last year was dreadful at just 1.30, but he has only walked two to start 2012. Pimentel’s best pitch at the moment is his change, which he throws consistently at 78-82 mph (SoxProspects). He also throws a tight slider, which breaks sharply and has potential as a plus pitch.
Pimentel had a very rough year in 2011, but he certainly has the skill set to turn it around. If he can keep the walks down and work on his slider, then he could become a solid major league pitcher. If he pitches well this year at Portland and moves up to Pawtucket next season, then we could see Pimentel at the age of 23 or 24– giving him plenty of time to develop into a star. Pimentel has the raw talent to succeed, but he needs to refine himself more and that’s why he is #20 on my list rather than in the top 10. I’m not sure he’ll develop into a top of the rotation starter, but an above average back-of-rotation starter I could see.