Pittsburgh Pirates: Jacob Stallings Should be an All-Star

PITTSBURGH, PA - MAY 15: Jacob Stallings #58 of the Pittsburgh Pirates hits a walk off home run in the ninth inning against the San Francisco Giants at PNC Park on May 15, 2021 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - MAY 15: Jacob Stallings #58 of the Pittsburgh Pirates hits a walk off home run in the ninth inning against the San Francisco Giants at PNC Park on May 15, 2021 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) /
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Pittsburgh Pirates catcher Jacob Stallings has been one of baseball’s most underrated players and he deserves to go to this season’s All-Star Game

Pittsburgh Pirates backstop Jacob Stallings has simply been one of baseball’s most underrated players this season. He’s been one of baseball’s top catchers in 2021, and he deserves to be one of the Pittsburgh Pirates’ representatives at this season’s All-Star Game.

Stallings has always been known for his defensive ability, and that hasn’t changed so far into 2021. Through 267.2 innings behind the dish, he has +5 DRS and 0.8 framing runs saved. He’s also caught 26% of runners trying to steal on him, compared to the league average mark of 25%.

Overall, he’s been worth 0.5 defensive WAR. He’s on pace for 1.5 dWAR across 800 innings. Stallings is leading all catchers in DRS while ranking 5th in framing, making him one of the best defensive backstops in all of baseball.

But Stallings has been one of baseball’s best batting catchers. So far, he’s hitting .257/.367/.459 with 4 home runs. Stallings has been excellent with his plate discipline. He is walking at a 14.1% rate. That ranks 14th among all players in baseball. Overall, Stallings has a .362 wOBA and 130 wRC+. Stallings is playing up to his expectations, according to his expected stats. He currently has a .254/.365/.467 expected line. His xwOBA currently sits at .362, an identical reflection of his actual wOBA mark.

So far this season the only catchers with at least 110 plate appearances with a wRC+ higher than Stallings are Carson Kelly, Buster Posey, J.T. Realmuto, Will Smith, and Yadier Molina. However, the only backstops with at least 120 plate appearances with a higher wRC+ are just Smith and Realmuto. Stallings’ wOBA ranks 5th among catchers with at least 110 PA’s, and third among backstops with at least 120 PA’s as well.

The Pittsburgh Pirates likely aren’t going to send too many players to the All-Star Game, but Stallings does have some competition among his fellow teammates. Bryan Reynolds is another good candidate to go to Colorado. He’s currently batting .292/.384/.468 with a .371 wOBA and 136 wRC+. He’s also displayed solid defense in the grass.

Right-handed pitcher JT Brubaker may also make a case to go to the All-Star Game. Through his first 44 innings with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2021, the starter is pitching to the tune of a 3.27 ERA, 4.38 FIP and 1.23 WHIP. He’s struck out 23.3% of all the batter’s he’s faced, while only having a 6.3% walk rate. Home runs have been a bit of an issue though with a 1.43 HR/9 rate.

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Stallings easily has the numbers to go to Colorado this summer. He’s among the position’s leaders in defense and hitting. Very few catchers have been better than him this year. His fantastic season deserves an All-Star selection, the first of his career.

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