Pittsburgh Pirates: Troy Stokes Jr. Making His Case
By Marty Leap
While he is facing an uphill climb to crack the Pittsburgh Pirates Opening Day roster, outfielder Troy Stokes Jr. has made his case this spring.
On January 12, the Pittsburgh Pirates made a roster move that was largely overlooked. This move was claiming outfielder Troy Stokes Jr. off waivers from the Detroit Tigers. After claiming Stokes Jr., while he was not added to the 40-man roster, the Pittsburgh Pirates invited him to MLB camp.
So far in Grapefruit League play, Stokes Jr. has been one of the most impressive players for the Pittsburgh Pirates. However, what works against him is the current outfield situation. Bryan Reynolds and Gregory Polanco will start on the corners to start the season. Earlier this month the Pirates traded for Dustin Fowler and Anthony Alford has been impressive in Grapefruit League action as well. Fowler, Alford and veteran free agent signing Brian Goodwin appear to be competing for the team’s starting center field and fourth outfielder jobs.
Through eight games played this spring Stokes Jr. is 5-for-15 with two home runs, a double and a stolen base. While he has not drawn a walk, he has struck out just four times while also driving in four runs.
Stokes Jr. has also provided the Pirates with some excellent outfield defense this spring. He has flown around in the outfield while making multiple spectacular catches. There is no questioning the defensive ability of the speedy Stokes Jr.
The right-handed hitting 25-year-old has yet to make his MLB debut. However, in the minor leagues with the Milwaukee Brewers all he did was hit. While he posted a wRC+ of 89 at Triple-A in 2019, prior to that the only other time he posted a wRC+ below 110 was when he posted a 108 wRC+ in rookie ball back in 2014.
So far this spring Stokes Jr. has done all he can to crack the Pirates’ Opening Day roster. While this may not happen due to a crowded outfield, it would be due to no fault of his own. Also, Stokes Jr. has proven that there is a spot for him on a MLB roster somewhere.