Riley Pint, the fourth overall pick by the Rockies in the 2016 draft and No. 30 PuRP in 2021, announced his retirement from baseball today. The blindsiding news was announced by Thomas Harding after speaking with Rockies assistant general manager of player development Zach Wilson.
Pint had been pitching at High-A Spokane this season and achieving the best results of his career before the announcement. Pitching out of the bullpen, Pint had put up a 3.38 ERA in 10 2⁄3 innings for the Indians. He had struck out 17 batters but still sat at nearly one walk per inning.
Injuries were one of the culprits responsible for derailing a promising career for Pint. Forearm tightness and an oblique strain in 2017 shut down Pint and caused him to miss nearly all of the 2018 season as well. The other, and largest, reason for Pint’s failure to launch was the serious control issues he experienced. For his career, Pint had 134 walks in 166 2⁄3 innings pitched in the minor league ranks. He also had 55 wild pitches in his career, 26 coming in 93 innings in 2017 and 18 in 17 2⁄3 innings in 2019, both at Low-A Asheville.
The right-hander showed tremendous potential out of high-school, making him a logical pick for the Rockies or any other team picking high in the first round of the draft. Consistently sitting in the triple-digits with his fastball, Pint’s tall frame and mechanics that mirrored a young Justin Verlander immediately made him a top pitching prospect out of the draft and left many to dream of the future ace of the Rockies in the upcoming years.
Now, five years later, Pint is walking away from the game having not only never reached the majors, but never advancing past High-A in the minor leagues.
“And at the end of the day, it just came down to some personal decisions for Riley,” Wilson said. “We want to support Riley right now [with] where he’s at in his life. And we’ll certainly support him as to the next several weeks and months and years. We drafted him and he spent a lot of time here. We’ve worked very hard with him, so just because he’s decided to step away doesn’t mean that we’re going to cut that off at all.”
Wilson’s statement certainly leaves the door open if Pint ever wishes to return to the game. However, for now it appears the former top pick will be moving on with his life outside of baseball and the Rockies will have to move on with life without Riley Pint.