Ryan Vilade was a waiver claim by the Pirates this past offseason. Vilade was a second-round pick by the Colorado Rockies back in 2018, the same draft as Swaggerty. Originally an infielder, the Rockies moved Vilade to the outfield over the last two seasons. However, the Pirates have once again toyed with Vilade on the infield dirt.
So far, in 40 plate appearances at Indy, Vilade is slashing .294/.400/.382 with a .367 wOBA and 112 wRC+. Vilade has only struck out eight times and has drawn five walks. But he’s hit for almost no power. Vilade’s only extra-base hit is a lone home run. Vilade’s start to 2023 has been pretty solid, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.
Last year, Vilade batted a lowly .249/.345/.352 with a .319 wOBA and 80 wRC+. That was in a much larger sample size of 430 plate appearances. The only thing of value, Vilade brought was being able to walk at an above-average rate (12.1%) and avoid striking out at a high rate (16%). He brought little power to the table with an ISO of just .103. He also failed to post a wRC+ above 90 in 2021.
Vilade was originally drafted as an SS/3B, and after not playing either infield position for three years, the Pirates have put him back at the hot corner for 43 innings so far this year. He’s nearly split his time 50/50 between 3B and both corner outfield spots, with 43.1 innings spent in LF/RF.
Now this is my least favorite option. However, given Vilade’s versatility and the fact that, like Andujar, the Pirates aren’t wasting any sort of potential major league development by making Vilade the once-a-week starter, you can’t fully rule out the possibility of Vilade being the guy who gets the call if they decide to replace Drew Maggi. The one major thing that will deter the Pirates from calling him up (aside from his unimpressive 2021-2022 performances) is the fact he would need to be added to the 40-man roster.