Pittsburgh Pirates: Examining Jacob Stallings August 2020
By Noah Wright
Pittsburgh Pirates catcher Jacob Stallings had one of the most underrated performances for any player throughout 2020 with his month of August.
Pittsburgh Pirates catcher Jacob Stallings is known best for his glove work behind the dish. In the past two seasons he’s tied for second in catcher Defensive Runs Saved at +21 with Austin Hedges and 10th in framing runs saved with +8.3. Last season, his defense was rewarded by being a finalist for the Gold Glove Award.
In terms of his hitting in 2020 he was solid for a catcher. He produced a .248/.326/.376 line with a .309 wOBA and 93 wRC+ through his 143 plate appearances. In comparison, the league average catcher hit for a .695 OPS, .305 wOBA and 90 wRC+.
However, there was one month where he was absolutely on fire and one of the best hitters in the game. That was August 2020. In 61 plate appearances Stallings ripped the cover off the baseball. All told, he put up a .392/.475/.510 slash line, 173 wRC+ and .431 wOBA.
Stallings was not just good for the Pittsburgh Pirates, he was among the top 20 hitters in many categories. Among players with at least 60 plate appearances during the month of August only Trea Turner managed to put up a higher batting average at .408. His on base percentage was only outdone by St. Louis Cardinal rival first baseman Paul Goldschmidt, who had a .512 OBP. Although Stallings’ slugging percentage wasn’t among the best, his overall OPS of .984 was the 27th best in all of baseball.
What was more telling were his advanced metrics. Stallings’ weighted on base average, or wOBA, was the 15th best mark in baseball. His wRC+ ranked 18th. This was tied with the likes of Nelson Cruz, Miguel Sano, Nick Markakis and was just outdone by Fernando Tatis Jr. (174) and outdid National League MVP Freddie Freeman (167).
Despite receiving far fewer plate appearances than many of the league leaders of August 2020, he was still among the top players of cumulative stats. He put up a win percentage added of .62 which was tied with Dodgers’ 2019 MVP Cody Bellinger who had 54 more plate appearances. His 1.0 fWAR still ranked 32nd in baseball, despite most players who had 1+ fWAR throughout the month having well over 100 plate appearances in comparison.
Stallings’ month of August in his 2020 season was unbelievably good and it was easily one of the most underrated performances of last season. Not only was he one of the top hitters in the league through all of August, but, overall, he was one of the more valuable players despite playing much less than most of his competitors.