Prospects aren't usually kept in the majors if they're not going to play regularly, but that's the plan for Josmil Pinto, who has made the Twins Opening Day roster and will serve as the backup catcher to Kurt Suzuki, according to Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com. Pinto was ranked 56th on the Baseball Prospectus Top 101 Prospects list this winter.
Pinto has had a steady rise through the Twins farm system, culminating in a breakout 2013 campaign that saw him post an .892 OPS in Double-A and end the season in the majors, where he hit .342 in 83 plate appearances. The off-season move of Joe Mauer to first base opened the door for Pinto behind the plate, and he will get at least part of an opportunity to prove he's ready to take over for the hometown legend.
The Twins acquired Suzuki in the off-season in case Pinto wasn't ready for the job. Suzuki offers virtually nothing offensively, but makes up for it with his defense and management of a pitching staff. Pinto is essentially his inverse.
An offensively-minded catcher, Pinto has a chance to be among the better hitting catchers in the game if given the playing time. He won't carry the Twins lineup, but he should be a nice complementary piece to their offense at a position with little offensive production across the league. Where Pinto needs work is behind the plate, hence the acquisition of Suzuki. The Twins can afford to work Pinto in gradually until he gets more comfortable with the pitching staff and vice versa. I'd expect, however, that as the season moves along and the Twins struggle to score runs, Pinto sees more and more time behind the plate regardless of his progress defensively. After all, this is a team that employed Ryan Doumit as a catcher 43 times last season.
Pinto probably isn't a .300 hitter in the majors like he was in Double-A last year, and certainly isn't the .340 hitter he was in his brief cameo in Minnesota, but he should be an above-average hitting catcher, with the potential for 15-20 home runs a year if given full playing time. That, coupled with a patient approach at the plate and the ability to control the strike zone and avoid high strike out totals all add up to a pretty good offensive catcher. He'll give some back with his glove, but likely not enough to negate his bat. As long as the pitchers are happy and comfortable throwing to him, there's no reason he won't be getting the lion's share of at-bats by the all-star break.