Pittsburgh Pirates: 2021 Infield & Catcher Player Grades

Cody Flavell
Sep 26, 2020; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates designated hitter Colin Moran (19) celebrates with catcher Jacob Stallings (58) and third baseman Ke'Bryan Hayes (13) after hitting a three run home run during the fourth inning against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 26, 2020; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates designated hitter Colin Moran (19) celebrates with catcher Jacob Stallings (58) and third baseman Ke'Bryan Hayes (13) after hitting a three run home run during the fourth inning against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports /
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PITTSBURGH, PA – OCTOBER 02: Wilmer Difo #15 of the Pittsburgh Pirates hits a two-run RBI triple in the fifth inning during the game against the Cincinnati Reds at PNC Park on October 2, 2021 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA – OCTOBER 02: Wilmer Difo #15 of the Pittsburgh Pirates hits a two-run RBI triple in the fifth inning during the game against the Cincinnati Reds at PNC Park on October 2, 2021 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images) /

Wilmer Difo

GRADE: C+

2021 Stats: 116 games, .269/.329/.384, 4 home runs, 24 RBI, -0.3 WAR

Bringing Wilmer Difo back for the 2022 season isn’t the worst idea. He had one of the better averages on the team and plays all over the field. His .713 OPS would’ve ranked fifth on the team if he qualified with enough plate appearances.

The lasting image many will have is his error against the Cubs on September 3 when he missed an easy pop-up in the 11th inning that led to a walk-off win for Chicago. As silly as it was, it can be forgotten.

Guys like Oneil Cruz, Diego Castillo, and other Pirates prospects will likely begin next season in Indianapolis. Difo is a nice stop gap to have until those guys begin to arrive later in the season. He’ll be 30-years old on Opening Week so his performance as a player isn’t going to unexpectedly boom out of nowhere.

His numbers playing at PNC Park align very similarly to his season numbers so he hits well and is comfortable playing at home.

Maybe the Pirates will bring Difo back for one more season. He is a solid and productive veteran presence to have. In the right circumstance, the Pirates can send him for something to another team at the deadline when their prospects begin to graduate to the majors. Teams love a super-utility guy.

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