‘Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros’ is one of my favorite bands for their alternative rock/indie style and tune. They have a song called ‘Man on Fire,’ and the opening lyrics go: “I’m a man on fire, walking through your street, with one guitar and two dancing feet.” Well, Chicago Cubs prospect Yohendrick Pinango is a man on fire with one baseball glove and two running feet.
Pinango is a part of a strong core of prospects in South Bend, Chicago’s High-A affiliate. But, unfortunately, their record on paper does not reflect their talent. Pinango is also 19 years old and nearly through just his second year in professional baseball since the Cubs signed him for just under half a million dollars from Venezuela back in the summer of 2018. I talked about him at the beginning of the year as a potential breakout candidate.
As a guy on the smaller side in terms of his 170-pound frame, Pinango immediately took off from his first season in the DSL, in which he slashed .358/.427/.442 as a 17-year-old swiped 27 bags. In leagues like that, strikeout rates and walk rates tend to be skewed due to power and control. However, Pinango managed a net positive overall K/BB rate of 1.35, meaning he walked more than he struck out.
Chicago Cubs Prospects: What Yohendrick Pinango can do for you
The phrasing in using his name out of context makes it sound like some fancy insurance. After a year off, Pinango began his 2021 campaign in Low-A Myrtle Beach before moving onward and upward to High-A South Bend. He’s managed to hold his own nicely, hitting .272 in 84 games in Low-A and smashing that number with a .292 average in 18 games thus far in High-A.
He has managed to improve upon his on-base percentage, adding 41 points from Low-A to High-A positively, and his walk rates have also improved as the lefty is striking out at just a 12.5 percent rate which has dropped from his previous 16.5 percent number.
Looking at the meat and potatoes of his stats over his last 20 games, Pinango is slashing .304/.378/.342 with a 10.0 percent walk rate, 13.3 percent strikeout rate, and above-average 106 wRC+. While it doesn’t seem like much, it is a significant accomplishment in terms of his age-quality index and that the average prospect is over two years older than Pinango himself. Unfortunately, however, it is holding it down.
Going back even further to include part of this stretch, Pinango hit a whopping .382 over a fifteen-game period from the middle of August leading into the first week of September. His future reports say he has above-average speed and contact, which will make him a threat on the basepaths and a guy similar to that of recently acquired second baseman Nick Madrigal.
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The Cubs need more guys for their future who provide what Pinango can offer and it will be soon enough that he reaches that pinnacle.