Pirates Sign Kawika Emsley-Pai
I’ve been meaning to post this minor news for the last few days, but kept putting it on the back burner. The Pirates signed minor league catcher Kawika Emsley-Pai to a minor league deal on Thursday. Emsley-Pai was drafted in the tenth round of the 2010 draft by the Arizona Diamondbacks, but was released in December. He hit for a .167/.265/.200 line in 90 at-bats in short season A-ball.
As Colin Dunlap points out, the Arizona front office was overhauled after the draft, which might have led to this decision. The scout who signed Emsley-Pai, Jim Dedrick, now works for the Pirates, and might have played a role in this signing. Emsley-Pai is likely to catch in West Virginia, although he had back issues last year, which should limit him to backup duties. Matt Skirving should make the jump from State College to West Virginia to handle most of the catching duties, and one of the GCL catchers (Elias Diaz, Dylan Child, Joey Schoenfeld) could make an aggressive jump, but for the most part the depth at the lower levels is thin. That was shown when the Pirates were using Pat Irvine as a backup catcher in 2010.