clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Pirates spring training catchers: Who are these guys?

MLB: Seattle Mariners-Photo Day Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Looky here, baseball content!

This starts BD’s annual feature on the more obscure of the Pirates’ spring training invitees. Today is catchers. I think you’re all familiar with Francisco Cervelli and Elias Diaz, so I’ll cover the other catchers who’ll be in camp. I suspect there’ll still be players signed to minor league deals before spring training starts on February 12, but we can have a 300-comment thread on Dusty Brown when the Pirates sign him.

Jacob Stallings (no. 58): You’ve all heard of this guy, right? Stallings is a good defensive catcher whose bat has advanced to the point of being decent for a backup catcher. He’s out of options and stuck behind Cervelli and Diaz, with the Pirates supposedly considering the possibility of carrying three catchers. If they don’t and he doesn’t get claimed off waivers, he’d still have the option of electing free agency because he was outrighted twice before. (The fact that he cleared waivers twice should be a clue about his value.)

Chance of contributing in 2019: High if he’s still around

Steve Baron (61 - pictured): A minor league free agent, Baron is a very good defensive catcher with little offensive ability beyond a decent walk rate in the upper minors. He’d be a downgrade from Stallings as a third catcher, although St. Louis did see fit to call him up very briefly last year. He got into two games then and four with Seattle in 2015.

Chance of contributing in 2019: Moderate depending a lot on whether Stallings stays

Jason Delay (83): Delay was a 4th round pick in 2017 and jumped three levels to Bradenton last year. He’s a very good defender (you’re gonna see this a lot) with a questionable bat. He didn’t hit much, but it was a big jump and he didn’t get many ABs (219) because he was backing up Arden Pabst until late in the year. Like every catcher listed here, his first best destiny is to become . . . Jacob Stallings.

Chance of contributing in 2019: None

Christian Kelley (74): Kelley was drafted in 2015. He has an odd habit of hitting really well in May and then not at all the rest of the year. The Pirates like him a lot defensively, which accounts for this being his second NRI. He was the regular at Altoona in 2018 and should get the majority of the playing time this year at Indianapolis. Once he gets some AAA experience he could serve in the Stallings role, depending of course on where Stallings is.

Chance of contributing in 2019: Low

Arden Pabst (84): Pabst was the 2016 version of Kelley and Delay. One difference is that he suddenly started hitting well as the starter at Bradenton last year, with a 281/317/515 line in the offense-starved Florida State League. He didn’t hit so well after a late-season promotion to AA, but he didn’t play much there. He should be the starter at Altoona this year. It’ll be interesting to see whether his 2017 power spike was real.

Chance of contributing in 2019: None