Pittsburgh Pirates Opening Day Roster Prediction, Start of Spring Training Edition

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Pittsburgh Pirates
SAN FRANCISCO, CA – SEPTEMBER 09: Jacob Stallings #58 of the Pittsburgh Pirates is congratulated at home plate after scoring on a solo home run during the fifth inning against the San Francisco Giants at Oracle Park on September 9, 2019 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Stephen Lam/Getty Images) /


Entering the off-season the Pirates had circled catcher as a position of need. This did not change when Neal Huntington was fired and Ben Cherington was hired to take over as the team’s new GM. Despite this, not much was done to address the catcher position.

The Pirates signed Luke Maile to a MLB contract. However, it was a two-way contract which allows him to still be optioned to the minor leagues. Additionally, the team added veteran John Ryan Murphy to a minor league contract.

Maile and Murphy join Jacob Stallings. In 2019 Stallings burst onto the scene and was one of the best defensive catchers in baseball. In addition to throwing out 40% of attempted base stealers, Stallings was also one of the best pitch framers in baseball. He also did an excellent job of blocking pitches in the dirt.

While this trio has their shortcomings offensively, it does create one of the strongest defensive catching units in all of baseball. Like Stallings, Maile and Murphy are both plus defenders. Especially Maile who also excels at pitching framing. Adding Glenn Sherlock, who is arguably the best catching coach in baseball, to the coaching staff should make a big difference as well.

So, which catchers will be on the Pirates’ Opening Day roster? Stallings is a lock to be on the Opening Day roster. While an argument can be made to keep Murphy due to Maile’s two-way contract, it still seems like Maile enters Spring Training as the guy to beat for the other catcher spot.

Prediction: Jacob Stallings, Luke Maile