Riley Pint Stresses Mechanical Improvements
Results were of no concern to the Rockies. Their focus for righthander Riley Pint in his first full pro season was on mechanical improvements that would benefit him in the long run.
"We made strides in the area that we needed to,” farm director Zach Wilson said, "and he continues to do that.”
The fourth overall pick in 2016, Pint signed for $4.8 million, a franchise record for a pitcher. He participated in instructional league after going 2-11, 5.42 in 22 starts and 93 innings for low Class A Asheville with an average of 5.7 walks and 7.7 strikeouts per nine innings.
At 6-foot-5, Pint, who turns 20 this offseason, is growing into his body. He began the season limited to five innings. Later, he faced a pitch limit of about 90. The Rockies also had Pint skip one start, giving him about 10 days to work on his mechanics and throw 20-25 pitches to hitters in a simulated game.
Pint tended to leave the rubber too early and not separate his hands on time.
"So he would be up in the zone,” said Doug Linton, the Rockies’ pitching coordinator overseeing the lower levels. "Riley’s a big kid who should be able to create easy downward angle. By separating late and getting down the mound too early, he was inconsistent in creating any kind of downward plane in the zone.”
In mid-season, the Rockies had Pint scrap his slider. And they limited him to 8-10 curveballs a game, moves designed to let him focus on his fastball that sits at 96-97 mph and regularly touches 100 and changeup to help Pint find a consistent arm slot for all his pitches and repeat his delivery.
"He’s got four plus pitches right now,” Wilson said. "Plus action, below-average consistency. And when the consistency catches up with the action, and his delivery becomes a little more compact and he understands how to repeat it, especially as he continues to grow into his body—it’s game over when all that comes together.”
• Center fielder Forrest Wall was fully recovered from a season-ending left shoulder separation that required surgery and had no restrictions in instructional league. A 2014 supplemental first-round pick, he was injured making a diving catch on May 2 for high Class A Lancaster and hit .299/.361/.471 in 22 games.
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• Righthander Robert Tyler, a 2016 supplemental first-round pick, threw bullpen sessions and in a game in instructional league after missing the entire 2017 season due to biceps tendinitis