Pimentel Bounces Back For Red Sox
BOSTON—The direction of Stolmy Pimentel's career has taken a U-turn.
In 2011, he endured a dreadful tenure in Double-A Portland. The righthander, who was added to the 40-man roster after the 2010 season, went 0-9, 9.12 in 15 starts en route to a demotion to high Class A Salem.
This year, in his return to Portland, his first 15 starts of the year offered drastically different results. He was 4-4, 4.83, but those marks failed to explain the 22-year-old's progress.
His strikeouts rose from 5.4 to 6.6 batters per nine innings, while his walks fell from 4.1 to 2.7 per nine. And in mid-July, Pimentel had a three-start stretch in which he had a 1.77 ERA, 19 strikeouts and two walks in 20 innings, a reminder of the potential that Boston saw in him prior to 2011.
"I think he absolutely has that capacity (to dominate opponents)," farm director Ben Crockett said. "He's shown us that."
In 2011, he had added considerable muscle and a couple inches to his still-growing frame. That led to delivery issues, as Pimentel struggled to stay compact and on line to the plate.
Pimentel worked with Double-A pitching coach Bob Kipper to become more compact and less rotational, with dramatically improved stuff to show for it.
"He's becoming very comfortable with his new body, and he has a delivery that works more efficiently to the extent that he creates not just stuff—he's always thrown hard—it's the quality of stuff," Kipper said.
"The ability to create angle and true finish and extension, which leads to deception, which leads to late life and action. It's far improved this year over what it was last year."
Pimentel's fastball, which sits at 94-95 mph and typically tops out around 97, is generating weak contact, including the highest groundball rate he's had in the United States. His swing-and-miss changeup—which vacated him in 2011—is back, and the slider he developed last year (when ditching a curve) is showing promise.
• Third baseman Michael Almanzar had a streak of 16 straight plate appearances in which he reached base. He went 12-for-12 with three walks and a hit-by-pitch for Salem.
• Third baseman Garin Cecchini was on a run of 20 straight successful stolen base attempts. The 21-year-old had 35 steals in 38 attempts through 90 games.