Pittsburgh Pirates: Final Opening Day Roster Prediction
By Marty Leap
With the start of the MLB season just four days away let’s take one last stab at predicting the Opening Day roster of the Pittsburgh Pirates
Predicting the Opening Day roster for MLB clubs is a popular thing to do this time of year. For the Pittsburgh Pirates, predicting their roster will hinge on a few things. Will the team roll with a six man rotation? An eight or nine man bullpen? A four or five man bench?
Friday evening, the Opening Day roster of the Pittsburgh Pirates took another twist when veteran corner infielder Todd Frazier opted out of his contract becoming a free agent. Prior to this Frazier appeared to be a lock to make the team’s Opening Day roster.
As we prepare for one last stab at predicting the Opening Day 26 for the Pittsburgh Pirates, we will start with the catcher position.
Catcher – Jacob Stallings, Tony Wolters
Jacob Stallings is, of course, a lock. He will once again be the starting catcher for the Pittsburgh Pirates this season as he continues to emerge as one of the most underrated catchers in the National League.
Stallings is one of the best defensive catchers in the NL and there is a strong argument to be made that he should have won the NL Gold Glove Award last season. He is also a serviceable hitter for a catcher, owning lifetime .262/.327/.372 slash line and 85 wRC+.
While both Tony Wolters and Michael Perez are competing for the backup catcher spot, with Perez still having minor league options the nod goes to the veteran Wolters. Like Stallings, Wolters is one of the best defensive catchers in the NL. To be honest, it was a surprise when the Pirates added Wolters via a minor league contract. There will be teams that end up kicking themselves over not offering Wolters a MLB contract this past offseason.
The duo of Stallings and Wolters should be one of the best defensive catching duos in baseball this season. This should bode well for what will be a relatively young, inexperienced Pirate pitching staff this season.