Down on the Farm – Carmen Pignatiello

Carmen Pignatiello is another player you will see at spring training this year. Some of you might look at his name and think to yourself, who is he? I have to be honest; he isn’t one of the guys that draw attention and that comes after being in the Cubs minor league system for going on six years. The Cubs drafted Pignatiello in the 20th round of the 2000 draft having been a successful pitcher at the high school level. For the first 5+ seasons of his Cubs career he was a starting pitcher. He was doing a decent job of pitching but was never dominant and lacked the stamina to go deep into games.

In 2005, Pignatiello came in out of the bullpen more than he started and had some relative success in that role. Since then he has been used mainly as a reliever and they want to use him in a lefty vs. lefty specialist role. They are not sure if he will fit into that job but he has an excellent curveball and his velocity can reach into the low 90’s.

Since he has experience as a starter, he can be used in longer relief roles as well. Last year Pignatiello was playing in the Arizona Fall League (AFL) in an attempt for him to learn to better control his fastball. The Cubs want him to be able to hit the corners better than he has in the past. In 10 games in the AFL, Pignatiello did not have a record and both his WHIP and ERA were impressive. (0-0, 0.87 ERA, 10.1 IP, 4 hits, 1 earned run, 4 walks, 15 strikeouts, 0.77 WHIP and 1 hold)

Now as I stated earlier, Pignatiello has been with the Cubs since he was drafted in 2000. You might think that he is getting up in age and that he won’t have many years left if he finally does make it to the big club. Well when he was drafted, he was still in high school and his first year with the Mesa Cubs (Rookie League), he was just 17 years old. He is now 24 (turns 25 in September), so he still has time to help the Cubs.

Pignatiello isn’t listed in the Baseball America Top 10 prospects of the Chicago Cubs. This doesn’t mean he isn’t a talented guy just that we have many talented prospects in the minors and he is still trying to learn how to be a reliever. Scout.com has him as their 18th best prospect of the Cubs.

Scout.com Top 20 Prospects

  • 1. Felix Pie
  • 2. Donald Veal
  • 3. Mark Pawelek
  • 4. Eric Patterson
  • 5a. Jeff Samardzija
  • 5b. Sean Gallagher
  • 6. Tyler Colvin
  • 7. Scott Moore
  • 8. Ryan Harvey
  • 9. Jae-Kuk Ryu (traded to Tampa Bay)
  • 10. Clay Rapada
  • 11. Brian Dopirak
  • 12. Chris Shaver
  • 13. Jake Fox
  • 14. Randy Wells
  • 15. Mitch Atkins
  • 16. Adam Harben
  • 17. Billy Petrick
  • 18. Carmen Pignatiello
  • 19. Rocky Cherry
  • 20a. Casey McGehee
  • 20b. Chris Walker

This is the second year that Pignatiello will be at spring training as a non-roster invitee but this year should be a better one. Last year he struggled and for that he was sent to AA and his pride took a hit. He had a good year and made it back to AAA at the end of the season before his success at the AFL. The Cubs bullpen is full this year with lefties Scott Eyre, Neal Cotts and Will Ohman. On top of that, Clay Rapada is another lefty with talent and that makes for a tough road to the Cubs bullpen. If Pignatiello can avoid the poor spring he had last year, he should be back at Iowa to start the season. With that he could see Wrigley this year if Eyre, Cotts or Ohman miss any time at all and Rapada doesn’t impress. He has been around for many years but you might start to hear his name more often. He is getting close to that magic place and with some more experience could be soon sitting along the left field line at Wrigley.

Carmen Pignatiello’s Baseball Cube Page

Coming Next: Down on the Farm – Randy Wells

Past Prospect Articles:

Tyler Colvin
Adam Harben
Jake Fox
Sean Gallagher
Chris Walker
Donald Veal
Rocky Cherry and Clay Rapada
Ryan Harvey
Eric Patterson

Quote of the Day

"Always make a total effort, even when the odds are against you." - Arnold Palmer
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