On Monday, the KC Royals announced the signing of right-handed pitcher Yohan Pino to a Major League deal. To make room on the 40-man roster, they designated Casey Coleman for assignment.
All Pino gives the Royals is depth in terms of their starting rotation in case they do not sign or trade for a top of the rotation starter. They seem to be stockpiling fifth spot and Triple-A pitchers at the moment.
He does not throw hard (an average of 88.3 mph on his fastball) and is a fly ball pitcher (28.6 percent ground ball rate) according to MLB Trade Rumors. However, Kauffman Stadium (and with the Royals Gold Glove outfield defense) may be the best place for Pino to shine.
Pino is a lot like Liam Hendriks (the guy they traded for late last season and then let go in the offseason). He pitches very well in the minors, but cannot equate the same success in the big leagues.
The soon-to-be 31 year old made his Major League debut with Minnesota on June 19th and earned his first big league victory on July 10th. He won his last start of the season on August 23rd against Detroit (5IP, 6H, R, 2BB, 6K).
However, Pino’s big league numbers were not great. He had a 5.07 ERA in 11 starts (60.1 innings). Though he only walked 14 and struck out 50, opponents hit .278 against him with eight home runs.
He started against the Royals on June 30th and allowed four runs on seven hits and a walk over 5.1 innings. He struck out three.
Pino’s numbers with Triple-A Rochester were much more sparkling. He was 10-2 with a 2.47 ERA in 16 appearances (nine starts). Of those nine starts, two were complete game shutouts. Opponents hit just .180 against him (though he allowed nine home run). Pino walked 24 and struck out 72 in 73 innings.
I saw him pitch a few times in the minors, with both Double-A Akron (Cleveland) in 2011 and Double-A New Hampshire (Toronto) in both 2011 and 2012.
Pino was pitching in winter ball with Aragua of the Venezuelan Winter League (his last appearance was December 4th). In eight relief outings (totaling ten innings), he carried a 1.80 ERA, but opponents hit .289 against him. He walked two and struck out six.