The Pirates announced they’ve selected catcher Taylor Davis to the big league club. Starting backstop Jacob Stallings has been placed on the 7-day concussion injured list. To open space for Davis on the 40-man roster, right-hander Bryse Wilson was transferred from the 10-day to the 60-day IL.
Davis appeared in the majors with the Cubs in each season from 2017-19 but tallied just 39 total plate appearances. The 31-year-old has spent almost the entirety of his eleven-year professional career in the minor leagues, with the bulk of that experience coming at Triple-A. Over parts of six seasons at the minors’ top level, the righty-hitting Davis owns a .275/.350/.381 line.
Signed to a minor league deal by the Orioles, Davis was flipped to the Pirates in a minor trade in mid-June. He’s split the season between the two clubs’ Triple-A affiliates, hitting .253/.347/.331 across 176 plate appearances. Davis will get the call to pair with the lefty-hitting Michael Pérez with Stallings landing on the shelf.
It’s technically possible Stallings recovers in time to make it back for a few more games, but it wouldn’t be a surprise if the concussion brings his year to a close with just two weeks left on the schedule. One of the game’s more underrated catchers, Stallings owns a .240/.329/.366 line in 414 plate appearances this season. That’s more or less in line with that of the league average catcher, but he rates very highly among publicly-available defensive metrics.
Statcast’s pitch framing metrics have pegged him as above-average in that regard for three years running. He’s been a little below-average at throwing out attempted basestealers, but Stallings rather incredibly hasn’t been charged with a single passed ball in 865 innings behind the plate this season. That’s contributed to a league-leading estimated 21 Defensive Runs Saved.
The Pirates never seemed anxious to discuss Stallings in trades this summer, but it wouldn’t be a shock if his name comes up in rumors over the upcoming offseason. He’ll be eligible for arbitration for the second of four times this winter, due a raise on this year’s $1.3MM salary. Even a bump in salary to the $3-4MM range would be a bargain for a player of Stallings’ caliber, and catcher-needy teams won’t have much to choose from in free agency. With the Pirates amidst a full rebuild and Stallings set to turn 32 in December, a few clubs figure to at least gauge his availability.
Wilson’s season is officially over on account of a left hamstring strain. The 23-year-old split the year between the Braves and Pittsburgh, making sixteen starts in aggregate. Wilson struggled to a 5.35 ERA with well below-average strikeout (14.3%) and swinging strike (8.7%) marks. The righty had been one of the Braves’ top pitching prospects before being sent to Pittsburgh as part of the deadline day Richard Rodríguez deal. In spite of his struggles, Wilson seems likely to have an inside track at a rotation spot next season based on that pedigree.