Two years ago, former first round pick and right-handed pitcher Riley Pint was retired. Today he will break into Major League Baseball. Russell Dorsey broke the news on twitter Sunday morning that the Colorado Rockies would be calling up their former fourth overall pick.
Drafted out of St. Thomas Aquinas High School in 2016, Riley Pint was a 6’5’’ top prospect with a triple digit fastball graded by scouts at 75 and an arsenal of breaking pitches including a 65-grade curveball. However, a combination of struggles that included command, mechanical issues, and injuries weighed heavily on his career. Through his first five seasons in the Rockies system, Pint had a BB/9 of 7.2 with an ERA of 5.56, though he did have an 8.8 SO/9. He also missed substantial time in both 2017 and 2018 due to injury and missed the 2020 season entirely—like most minor leaguers—due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Pint had been transitioned from starter to reliever by the time 2021 rolled around, and he was off to a strong start with High-A Spokane before suddenly retiring from baseball completely.
“It was a very tough time for me, not just because of what was going on on the field, but leaving the guys was tough,” Pint said to the Denver Post. “But I really needed to get away for a little bit and re-find myself. Just relax for a little bit. It brought a lot of clarity to me, too.”
He added, “Well, I realized I wasn’t ready to get a regular job yet, and I realized I still wanted to play baseball.”
Pint chose to return to baseball in 2022, reporting for minor league camp. He was assigned to the Double-A Hartford Yard Goats, the highest level of play he had reached in his career. Pint pitched 42 2⁄3 innings in 38 appearances with the Yard Goats for a 4.64 ERA and 55 strikeouts to 29 walks. He was promoted late in the season to the Triple-A Albuquerque Isotopes, but made just three appearances before an injury shut him down for the season.
The Rockies made the decision to protect Pint from the 2023 Rule 5 draft by adding him to the 40-man roster during the last offseason. It seemed he was on the precipice of the majors. Pint could have very well made the Rockies’ Opening Day roster out of spring training, but he was sidelined by an oblique strain for a large portion of camp, and he ended up assigned back to Triple-A Albuquerque.
Now it appears his opportunity has arrived at last. After all the struggles he has faced, Riley Pint is a big league pitcher. Welcome to The Show, Riley!