High school pitcher Riley Pint will be evaluated by the Philadelphia Phillies for the top pick in the 2016 MLB Amateur Draft.
Back in October, I began a series here at TBOH in which I am profiling the top young players whom the Phillies should be evaluating, one of whom the club might select with their #1 overall pick in the 2016 MLB Draft this coming June.
This week the series examines another high school player that the Phillies might consider, right-handed pitcher Riley Pint from Saint Thomas Aquinas High School in Overland Park, Kansas.
Pint finished his junior year of high school in the Kansas City suburbs with a 2.20ERA, along with 45 strikeouts in 35 innings pitched. Standing already at 6’5, 195lbs, he could potentially still add more to his frame as he continues to mature physically.
Baseball America recently ran an article profiling Pint and LHP Jason Groome, the latter of whom was featured previously in this series, as the two biggest high school names appearing in the upcoming MLB draft. In that piece, Hudson Belinsky wrote that Pint “has the raw materials to develop into a frontline starter, with an elite fastball and flashes of promise with his breaking ball and changeup.”
Like Pint, Groome shows a lot of promise and has front of the rotation starter potential. Earlier this year, MLB.com polled scouts at the Area Code games and Pint was named the top performer, with Groome coming in at #2 on that list. As Belinsky stated at BA, Pint features a plus fastball that touches 96 with movement, to go along with a solid curve and changeup.
Some scouts have expressed concerns that Pint might wind up in the bullpen. Those concerns are due both to the unusual delivery he uses in order to achieve higher velocity, as well as some difficulty in locating his fastball. But even if he becomes the next Mariano Rivera rather than the next Roy Halladay, he is still expected to be one of the top picks in the upcoming draft.
Like Groome, another knock on Pint would be that as a high school pitcher he may need more developmental time in the minor leagues, and would not be able to contribute at the MLB level for a few more years.
“LSU is still the place I want to be. It’s hard for me to think about being anywhere else.” ~ Pint
In addition to his stellar pitching, Pint is also no slouch at the plate. He plays both first and third base, and finished his junior season with a .362 batting average, one home run and 15 RBIs. Not a bad stat line for a guy whose specialty is pitching. Perhaps there might be some Silver Sluggers to go along with Cy Young Awards in Pint’s future.
Pint could prove to be a difficult sign. He is committed to attend and pitch for LSU, a program that he has rooted for since childhood. “My plans haven’t changed at all,” Pint was quoted as saying back in August by NOLA.com’s Randy Rosetta. “LSU is still the place I want to be. It’s hard for me to think about being anywhere else.“
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With a senior year of high school baseball still ahead, the fun of his final year in school and graduation with classmates he has known most of his life, it is hard for Pint to understand right now. But in a little more than six months, some MLB organization, possibly the Phillies, is going to be offering him millions of dollars to play a kids game. At that point, LSU is likely going to have to find it’s pitching elsewhere.
It’s difficult for many average fans to get overly enthusiastic about a team that finished with the worst record in baseball this past season. But as the Phillies rebuild begins to take shape there are a lot of exciting things to look forward to in 2016 and beyond.
The Phillies have an opportunity to add an elite player with the #1 overall pick this June with talented youngsters such as those already covered in this TBOH series: Pint, Groome, A.J. Puk, and Blake Rutherford. And we’re not done presenting strong options yet.
Already in the system, working their way towards an MLB debut in the next year or two, are top prospects J.P. Crawford, Nick Williams, Mark Appel, Jake Thompson, Jorge Alfaro, last year’s first rounder Cornelius Randolph, and more.
As I continue presenting more young high school and college players such as Pint in the coming weeks, at least one of them will surely be joining what is a growing collection of genuine talent in the Phillies system.
Within the next few years we can hope that some or all of these players are contributors to a solid core that will propel the Fightins back to the glory days of 2007-2011. Just take a look at the 2015 Chicago Cubs and see the rewards that a successful rebuild can reap when top prospects begin to reach their potential.