Pittsburgh Pirates Prospects: Two Young Catchers to Watch

(Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)
(Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images) /
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Pittsburgh Pirates
PITTSBURGH, PA – APRIL 17: A detailed view of the Nike cleats and Stance Socks worn by Jake Marisnick #41 of the Pittsburgh Pirates during the game against the Washington Nationals at PNC Park on April 17, 2022 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images) /

Samuel Escudero

The Pirates acquired Samuel Escudero last season in a trade that didn’t garner much attention. Escudero was sent from the Milwaukee Brewers for Jandel Gustave and Troy Stokes Jr. It wasn’t much of a trade, but the Pittsburgh Pirates definitely are looking to benefit in the long run. Stokes Jr. never appeared in a major league game for the Brew Crew, and while Gustave has been solid, he’s worked sparingly in a low-leverage role.

Escudero struggled as a 17-year-old with the Pirates’ Dominican Summer League affiliate in 2021, but he’s returned this season, posting much better numbers. He is batting .284/.419/.351 with a .397 wOBA, and 123 wRC+. Granted, Escudero isn’t hitting for much power. He didn’t hit a single long ball, but he did have five doubles. He also drew 16 walks while striking out just 14 times.

But he does have the potential to hit for more power. Watch any video of him, and you’ll see some great bat speed. He’s shown good plate discipline, keeping a strikeout rate under 15% and walk rate over 11% in both this year and last year. He’s also shown some good instincts behind the dish and caught 50% of would-be base stealers this year.

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Of course, Escudero is likely another three or four years away from the major leagues. However, next season will be his age-19 campaign, and he’ll get a chance to get some regular playing time with A-Ball Bradenton. He’s a raw talent but has the bat speed, plate discipline, and reflexes to be a potential prospect to watch.