Pittsburgh Pirates: Making the Case to Draft Blake Hunt in Rule 5 Draft


When the Rule 5 Draft occurs the Pittsburgh Pirates could look to use the fourth overall selection to fill their void at backup catcher which could be Blake Hunt

Prior to the start of MLB’s work stoppage the Pittsburgh Pirates saw their roster get overhauled at the catcher position. It started when they traded Gold Glove Award winning catcher Jacob Stallings to the Miami Marlins in exchange for three players. Following this trade the team signed former two-time Gold Glove winner Roberto Pérez to replace Stallings.

Prior to trading Stallings and signing Pérez, the Pittsburgh Pirates designated Michael Pérez, who served as the backup to Stallings last season, for assignment. Due to this, Roberto Pérez is the only catcher currently on the team’s 40-man roster.

Due to this the Pittsburgh Pirates are in search of another catcher for the 2022 season. While the team could look to fill the position through another free agent signing or internally, the Rule 5 Draft is also an option to find a catcher to pair with Pérez.

When the work stoppage ends the Rule 5 Draft will take place before the season begins. When the draft occurs the Pirates will hold the fourth overall pick. This Rule 5 Draft class is abnormally strong at the catcher position and that includes Blake Hunt.

It came as a bit of a surprise when the Tampa Bay Rays left Hunt unprotected from the Rule 5 Draft. Hunt was one of the key pieces that the Rays received from the San Diego Padres in the Blake Snell trade last offseason.

Per FanGraphs, Hunt ended the 2021 season as the 7th best prospect in Tampa Bay’s farm system which is arguably the best in baseball. FanGraphs gives him a future value of 50 which means they project Hunt to be an everyday player in the majors.

Adding Hunt in the Rule 5 Draft is a move that would make a lot of sense for the Pirates. First and foremost, selecting Hunt would help fill the team’s void for a second catcher during the upcoming 2022 season.

Another reason the Pirates should target Hunt in the Rule 5 Draft is that he could become a long-term piece in Pittsburgh. Hunt still has the potential to be a quality starting MLB catcher. With Pérez signed to just a one-year contract Hunt could spend the season learning from one of the best defensive catchers in the game while being groomed to take over in 2023.

If this was the route the Pirates went it could lead to Hunt being the bridge until Henry Davis, the number one over selection in this past July’s draft, is ready. Even once Henry, or potentially Endy Rodriguez, arrives in the majors, Hunt would still be a quality second catching option.

Next. Potential Future of the Pirate Bullpen. dark

When the fourth overall pick in the Rule 5 Draft rolls around the Pirates need to heavily consider Hunt if he is still on the board. Hunt could help fill a hole in 2022, while possibly becoming a piece for the Pittsburgh Pirates beyond 2022.