Signed for $450K from Venezuela in 2016, the Nationals felt confident enough in Pineda’s polish to send him stateside for his 2017 pro debut. He held his own in the GCL and kept the momentum going last year, earning New York-Penn League all-star honors and slashing .273/.341/.388 as an 18-year-old.
He’s built with a durable, mature frame that can withstand the rigors of catching. Pineda is a fairly advanced receiver with an above-average arm, projecting to stay at the position long-term. His swing is loose with quick hands, though no power hasn’t shown up in games yet. A hamate injury ended Pineda’s 2018 season prematurely, something that won’t make it any easier to tap into more juice in the near-term. Even so, Pineda’s feel for the barrel and makeup draw rave reviews, allowing projection to his offensive game across the board.
Pineda enters 2019 as the top catching prospect in Washington’s system. There’s risk inherent with young catchers–especially ones who have yet to reach full-season ball–but he’ll be just 19-years-old for most of the upcoming season and has the tools to develop into a future regular.