The Wild Card Playoff Roster Will Have a Lot of Position Players

Clint Hurdle met with the media this afternoon, and gave a few indications of how the playoff roster for the Wild Card round would look. The Wild Card round is only one game, but it counts as a separate round as far as the rosters go. That means you can load up on position players and/or bullpen options in the Wild Card round, then go back to a regular roster in the Division Series.

The Pirates will definitely be loading up on the position players. Hurdle said that the pitching staff will have nine pitchers, meaning there will be 16 position players on the roster.

The first two pitchers on the roster are Francisco Liriano, who will be starting tomorrow, and Gerrit Cole, who it seems will only be used if the game goes to extra innings, or if Liriano goes down early.

“Cole’s opportunity would only come if Frankie for some reason has an unforeseeable short start,” Hurdle said. “Or the game gets into depths, multiple innings late.”

After that, Hurdle said that the Pirates will be going with “the same seven coming from the bullpen that have been with us all year”. Those seven relievers project to be:

Jason Grilli

Mark Melancon

Tony Watson

Justin Wilson

Vin Mazzaro

Jeanmar Gomez

Bryan Morris

The Pirates are loading up the Wild Card roster with position players. (Photo Credit: David Hague)

The Pirates are loading up the Wild Card roster with position players. (Photo Credit: David Hague)

On the position player side, Hurdle said that the Pirates will carry three catchers. Since there are only three catchers on the roster, that makes it easy to guess who those guys will be.

Russell Martin

Tony Sanchez

John Buck

That leaves 13 spots for position players. Here are the regular starters who seem to be a lock for the roster:

Justin Morneau

Neil Walker

Jordy Mercer

Pedro Alvarez

Starling Marte

Andrew McCutchen

Marlon Byrd

After that you’ve got six players on the bench, and that’s where the Pirates will have plenty of flexibility.

“We’ve got more men on the bench than we’ve ever had during the season, because of the adjustments you can make to the roster,” Hurdle said. “We’re carrying extra infielders, we’re carrying extra outfielders. We have multiple pinch-hitting options, we have multiple base runners to use, defensive options. We have different ways to play it from that angle.”

We can guess that some of the regular guys will be on the roster:

Garrett Jones

Gaby Sanchez

Clint Barmes

Josh Harrison

Jose Tabata

That last spot could be flexible. The Pirates could go with Felix Pie if they want a speed option. They could go with Andrew Lambo if they want another lefty power bat off the bench. Travis Snider could also fit that category. All three would provide the Pirates with an extra outfielder.

Author: Tim Williams

Tim is the owner and editor in chief of Pirates Prospects. He started the site in January 2009, and turned it into his full time job during the 2011 season. Prior to starting Pirates Prospects, Tim worked with, providing MLB, NHL, and NFL coverage to various national media outlets, including ESPN Insider, USA Today, Yahoo Sports, and the Wall Street Journal. He also writes the annual Prospect Guide, which is sold through the site. Tim lives in Bradenton, where he provides live coverage all year of Spring Training, mini camp, instructs, the Bradenton Marauders, and the GCL Pirates.

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