Over the past two years, Jacob Stallings has become a fan favorite in Pittsburgh. The former seventh-round pick made his MLB debut in 2016 and has appeared in 205 games since. So far, in 2021, he is enjoying a career year and flying under the radar in Pittsburgh. Although the Pirates have struggled this season, Stallings has been one of the few bright spots.
Through 69 games, Stallings has 23 extra-base hits, including eight home runs. The Kansas native also has 40 runs batted in, which is the second- most on the Pirates roster. Although Stallings was not known for his offense entering the season, he has been one of Pittsburgh’s main run producers. While he has excelled offensively, Stallings has also been solid behind the plate.
In 528 innings of work, Stallings has only committed three errors. He has also caught eight of 29 base stealers, which is one short of his career-high. In his sixth big-league season, he has been nearly flawless defensively for a young Pirates pitching staff. The thirty-one-year-old is also one of the few players who has reached double digits in runs saved this season.
Jacob Stallings walk-off grand slam! The Mets had a 6-0 lead in the 8th inning and the Pirates won 9-7 pic.twitter.com/ozRj7gXSFd
— Talkin’ Baseball (@TalkinBaseball_) July 18, 2021
Stallings importance to Pittsburgh
As the second half continues, the Pirate’s focus will be on evaluating talent. With Stallings, Pittsburgh has a solid catcher that could draw interest on the trade market. The Pirates backstop would not be a rental as he is under team control through the 2024 season. There will also only be few teams who may be willing to part with their starting catcher, such as the Pirates. Stallings could bring back a noteworthy prospect as the Pirates continue to add young talent.
While Stallings will interest teams at the trade deadline, he is not a lock to be dealt. He provides good veteran leadership and could help prospects such as Quinn Priester, Brennan Malone, and Carmen Mlodzinzki adjust to the majors. This season Pirates starters have also pitched better when Stallings is behind the plate compared to Michael Perez.
Although the season is far from over, Stallings impact has continued to grow. So far this season, he is hitting .450 in clutch situations and has six walk-off hits in his career. Regardless of how the second half of 2021 unfolds, it has been a memorable campaign for the Pirates catcher.
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-Jamie Gatlin ( JamieGatlin17 )