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SoxProspects News

March 15, 2010 at 8:07 AM

2010 Prospect Previews: Stolmy Pimentel and Che-Hsuan Lin

Today's edition of the series focuses on two rising talents within the Red Sox organzation. Both players have generated a lot of excitement in their early careers and are now pushing towards the upper levels of the system, with each on the cusp of potential breakouts as they sharpen their skills in 2010.

Stolmy Pimentel

Position: Starting Pitcher
2009 Team: Greenville Drive
2010 Projected Team: Salem Red Sox
Opening Day Age: 20

Strengths: An advanced pitcher for his age, Pimentel has displayed a mature and calm approach on the mound at every stop in his Red Sox minor league career. His plus low-80’s change-up fades out of the strike zone and is extremely deceptive on batters due to the consistent arm speed he displays with the pitch. Pimentel is able to pull the string on batters with his change-up , displaying plenty of confidence to use it in any count and using it as an out-pitch when he is ahead in the count. His change-up is currently the best offering in his arsenal, grading as an above-average to well-above-average pitch for him going forward. Pimentel also throws an improving 12-to-6 curveball that shows tight rotation and knee-buckling bend. He made excellent strides with the pitch in 2009 and sharpened it to consistently break out of the lower portion of the strike zone. With a projectable frame that has been filling out over the last couple of seasons, Pimentel has been growing into his body, and his low-90’s fastball projects to add some velocity. As he matures, he should be able to sustain his stuff deeper into outings. Exhibiting excellent control, Pimentel has been able to maintain low walk totals in his professional career and is generally around the plate with his offerings. A high-ceiling arm who has been challenged with placements ahead of his age curve, Pimentel has the makings of a mainstay in a major league rotation and has continued to make positive strides towards reaching his ceiling.

Development Needs: Fastball command has been a need for Pimentel during his early career, as he tends to leave the pitch up in the zone with too much frequency. Despite sitting 91-92 MPH with a peak of 94 MPH, his fastball is a bit on the straight side and can be hit hard when it is up in the zone. Pimentel gave up a lot of hits in 2009 off his fastball, and he needs work spotting up with the pitch on the corners while pitching inside more effectively to move batters off the plate. His tendency to over-throw his fastball leaves him vulnerable to leaving the ball in the middle of the plate, and he must continue to focus on staying on top of the pitch rather than trying to throw it past hitters. Pounding the strike zone with his fastball early in the count will enable him to take advantage of his advanced secondary offerings, and boost his strikeout totals in the process. Like a lot of young pitchers, Pimentel has been streaky in his early career and can stand to be more consistent with his approach. However, he’s been able to bear down with runners on base, and shows good focus when he gets into trouble. Throwing the most innings of his career in 2009, he wore down at the end of the season. An added focus on strength and conditioning, especially in his lower body, will go a long way for him towards becoming a work horse in a starting rotation.

2010 Outlook: After holding his own with Greenville in 2009, Pimentel should be set for an assignment with Salem in 2010. Continued work on his fastball command will be a focused need for him during the season in High-A. Once again advanced for his age, he’ll have to rely on his calm demeanor on the mound to handle the adjustments he will be faced with at this level. Pimentel has excellent stuff, and 2010 will be another year of polishing off this arsenal to become a more complete pitcher and show that he is ready for the upper levels of the Red Sox system. More growth with his fastball command will lead to very positive results for Pimentel given his advanced secondary offerings that should finish off hitters when he is ahead in the count. An exciting and highly regarded prospect, this season should be a proving ground for Pimentel to show that he is ready to make the next step in his development, and show that he is on the horizon to crack a major league starting rotation in the next few seasons to come.

Che-Hsuan Lin

Position: Outfield
2009 Team: Salem Red Sox
2010 Projected Team: Portland Sea Dogs
Opening Day Age: 21

Strengths: With excellent athleticism and show-stopping tools, the ever graceful Lin has been making good strides towards rounding himself out as an above-average baseball player within the Red Sox organization. Praised for his defense, he covers exceptional ground in center field and projects as a potentially elite defensive player at the position. Lin has been improving his reads on balls off the bat, which has enabled him to take more advantage of his above-average speed and get to more balls in the gaps. His arm is a highlighted aspect of his defensive game, and some scouts have remarked that it might not only be the best in the Red Sox system, but the best amongst all minor league outfielders. Raw at the plate after signing as an international free agent in 2007, Lin has made improvements with his pitch recognition and approach. His control of the strike zone allows him to go deeper into counts, and he has become better at selecting the pitches he can handle. He projects as a high on-base player down the line and a top-of-the-order hitter. Lin hits fastballs well and shows a quick, compact stroke that can generate gap power when he squares balls up. Another member of the deep surplus of outfield prospects within the Red Sox organization, Lin is built within the mold of the patient on-base hitter and excellent defensive player that the team has been stockpiling over the last few seasons.

Development Needs: Lin’s contact rates have not yet come around in the low minors, and he struggles to make consistent hard contact. In his early career, there were some strong needs for him to improve his pitch recognition, especially against breaking pitches that dive low and out of the strike zone. While he has improved on laying off these offerings, he’s still been struggling at squaring up balls on a regular basis. Some of this is tied into the mechanics of his swing, mainly focused on his timing step and getting himself off-balance at the plate. Lin could stand to simplify his mechanics at the plate and work on shortening his path to contact by driving his hands through the strike zone. At times, he can be a guess hitter and cheat some on pitches, which leads to him being fooled and reduces his bat-speed on off-speed offerings when he gets too far out on his front foot. Staying back longer and then transferring his weight will cut down on the amount of weak contact he makes by incorporating his lower body more into his swing. Strong defensively, Lin is still working on his reads on balls hit right at him and limiting the number of wild throws he makes.

2010 Outlook: Lin has been getting some time in the major league games to start spring training and will be in line for an assignment in Double-A to start the season. Getting off to a strong start in 2010 will go a long way towards building confidence and limiting his adjustment period in what is going to be a challenging level for him. Lin’s improving approach at the plate will help him settle in against the most advanced pitching he will see at this point in his career. Set to man center field for the Sea Dogs, he should continue to show his defense wizardry and make tough plays look routine out in the field. The big question for him is what kinds of strides he can make in producing consistent line-drives from gap to gap at this level. By cleaning up his mechanics and continuing to work at staying true with his swing, Lin has the potential to be a riser this season within the Red Sox system and erase the reservations that scouts have about his offensive game. 2010 should prove to be an interesting season for Lin, and one that could very well see him cement himself in the next wave of upper-level talent within the Red Sox organization.