Author Topic: Follow the Prospects: Israel Pineda, C  (Read 83 times)

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Offline imref

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Follow the Prospects: Israel Pineda, C
« Topic Start: August 28, 2019, 09:32:04 AM »

Israel Pineda | Rank: 10 (Preseason: 8)
Team: Hagerstown Suns (A)   ETA: 2022
Position: C   Age: 19 DOB: 04/03/2000
Bats: R Throws: R   Height: 5' 11" Weight: 190 lb.
Signed: July 2, 2016 - WSH (international free agent)
Scouting grades: Hit: 50 | Power: 45 | Run: 35 | Arm: 55 | Field: 50 | Overall: 45

The Nationals loaded up on talent during the 2016-17 international period, focusing on advanced hitters who also showed the potential to stick at an up-the-middle position. Among that group was Pineda, a Venezuelan catcher whom Washington signed for $450,000 on July 2. He was advanced enough to make the jump stateside to the Gulf Coast League for his pro debut the next year and garnered mid-season New York-Penn League All-Star honors in 2018 before undergoing season-ending surgery for a broken left hamate bone in late August.

Pineda controls the barrel well and keeps it in the zone for a long time, using his strong hands and wrists to generate hard contact and drive the ball across the whole field. His advanced feel for hitting at a young age leads scouts to believe that the right-handed hitter will eventually hit for some power to go along with a solid batting average.

Pineda has a strong arm behind the plate, and club officials have been pleased with his continued development as a receiver. Altogether, it's the profile of a potential everyday catcher capable of impacting the game on both sides of the ball.

Signed for $450K from Venezuela in 2016, the Nationals felt confident enough in Pineda’s polish to send him stateside for his 2017 pro debut. He held his own in the GCL and kept the momentum going last year, earning New York-Penn League all-star honors and slashing .273/.341/.388 as an 18-year-old.

He’s built with a durable, mature frame that can withstand the rigors of catching. Pineda is a fairly advanced receiver with an above-average arm, projecting to stay at the position long-term. His swing is loose with quick hands, though no power hasn’t shown up in games yet. A hamate injury ended Pineda’s 2018 season prematurely, something that won’t make it any easier to tap into more juice in the near-term. Even so, Pineda’s feel for the barrel and makeup draw rave reviews, allowing projection to his offensive game across the board.

Pineda enters 2019 as the top catching prospect in Washington’s system. There’s risk inherent with young catchers–especially ones who have yet to reach full-season ball–but he’ll be just 19-years-old for most of the upcoming season and has the tools to develop into a future regular.

.217 / .282 / .309 at Hagerstown (low-A) in 2019.