After claiming a catcher and a relief pitcher off waivers on Wednesday afternoon, the Pittsburgh Pirates once again find themselves with a full 40-man roster
Wednesday afternoon the Pittsburgh Pirates continued a recent trend of claiming players off waivers by adding a pair of players who were recently designated for assignment. These two players were catcher/first baseman Zack Collins and right-handed pitcher Junior Fernández.
Collins was claimed after being DFA’d by the Toronto Blue Jays, while Fernández was DFA’d by the St. Louis Cardinals. Prior to adding these two players the Pirate 40-man roster was at 39 players, so to make room for both of them lefty Cam Vieaux was designated for assignment. Both players were optioned to Triple-A Indianapolis after being claimed.
In 26 games played with the Blue Jays this season Collins accumulated 79 plate appearances. He hit for a .194/.266/.417 slash line to go with a 93 wRC+ and a 7.6% walk rate. However, he struck out at a concerning 39.2% clip.
Since the start of last season Collins has 310 PAs at the major league level. He has hit for a .206/.314/.360 slash line, to go with a 90 wRC+ and a strong 12.9% walk rate during this stretch. However, he has battled the strikeouts bug with a 32.3% strikeout rate since the start of the 2021 season.
To be honest, it is a bit of a surprise that Collins was optioned to the minors. Collins would appear to be an upgrade over both Tyler Heineman and Jason Delay, and to make a waiver claim this late in the season and not give that player an opportunity is a bit of a head scratcher.
As for Fernández, he posted a 2.93 ERA, 5.85 FIP, 11.4% walk rate and a 17.1% strikeout rate in 15.1 innings pitched this season. Fernández also allowed three home runs, which comes out to a 1.76 HR/9 on the season.
Even though neither Collins nor Fernández were added to the active roster, it would not be a surprise to see either of them get a look with the major league club this month.