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.+ posts
Tim is the owner, producer, editor, and lead writer of PiratesProspects.com. He has been running Pirates Prospects since 2009, becoming the first new media reporter and outlet covering the Pirates at the MLB level in 2011 and 2012. His work can also be found in Baseball America, where he has been a contributor since 2014 and the Pirates' correspondent since 2019.