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Riley Pint, 4th overall pick in 2016 MLB Draft, earns long-awaited promotion to the Colorado Rockies

Patrick Lyons Avatar
May 14, 2023

A nearly seven-year journey began on June 9, 2016 when the Colorado Rockies used the fourth-overall pick in the MLB Draft to select an 18-year-old pitcher out of St. Thomas Aquinas HS in Overland Park, KS.

On Sunday that odyssey had a happy ending when Colorado promoted Riley Pint to the big leagues. He had finally reached the promised land.

“It means a lot,” Pint said in front of his locker inside the Rockies’ clubhouse. “Definitely been a long road to get here, but I think for where I’m at now in my career, I think that I’m just starting to find my stride and hopefully this can not just be a short term thing.”

Pint stepped away from the sport in June of 2021, going so far as officially retiring. By the start of the next season, he decided to return to the baseball family and game that had been with him throughout his childhood. His teammates were integral in welcoming him back with open arms. 

“We had a really good group in Hartford,” he said of his support group last season. “All those guys are some of my best friends to this day. So it was pretty easy, honestly, being with those guys.”

Feb 24, 2023; Scottsdale, AZ, USA; Colorado Rockies relief pitcher Riley Pint (41) poses for photo day at Salt River Fields. Mandatory Credit: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

Were it not for an injury at the end of 2022 following a strong season — he had a combined 4.53 ERA with 58 strikeouts in 45.2 innings at Double-A and Triple-A — Pint may have debuted last September. Alas, the path for each player is unique.

“It’s a gifted arm with velocity and movement on the fastball, and the ability just to spin a breaking ball. It’s devastating stuff,” manager Bud Black said of his new reliever. “He’s got to harness it. That’s his challenge. He knows his challenge and it’s no secret. He’s got to get the ball the strike zone like all pitchers do.”

The scary injury to Ryan Feltner on Saturday night allowed Colorado to bolster a Rockies’ bullpen in need of more healthy arms. The addition of Pint to the 26-man roster follows his 17 innings with the Albuquerque Isotopes this year where the 25-year-old worked a 7.41 ERA and 24 strikeouts in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League.

“It’s a good story and I hope it continues on the positive side. Because there was a valley in there that was pretty deep that he’s risen out of,” Black said of Pint. “It’s a great tribute to him that he’s here. I think there’s a bright future because there’s big talent in there.”

Baseball America reviewed the likelihood for a player to reach the Major Leagues. Of all players drafted, about 17.6 percent of players fulfill their dream. That figure rises to 73 percent when looking at first-round picks. 

Now, Pint joins the majority of those first-rounders who persevered throughout their time in the minor leagues despite dealing with the countless pounds of expectation pressed upon their shoulders.

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