Fifth Round: Pirates Draft Catcher Deon Stafford

The Pittsburgh Pirates have drafted St. Joseph’s catcher Deon Stafford in the fifth round of the 2017 MLB draft. This is the second straight college catcher taken by the Pirates, following up on Jason Delay in the fourth round. Stafford rates higher than Delay, and is a college junior, so this isn’t as much of a signability pick as the one before. Baseball America had Stafford rated 131st overall in their rankings, which is just two behind 3rd round pick Dylan Busby.

Stafford has shown some offensive upside, hitting for a .395/.486/.702 line with 18 homers in 215 at-bats during his sophomore year last year. He didn’t follow that up this year, hitting for a .288/.464/.521 line with eight homers in 146 at-bats. In between, he showed potential with wood bats, hitting for a .283/.377/.509 line with six homers in the Cape Cod League.

Baseball America noted that scouts felt Stafford was overmatched this year, swinging and missing more often. He does have some nice raw power, and the hope is that this year is more of a fluke than a sign of things to come with his offense.

Defensively, he is athletic, but his arm rates as fringe-average at best, and he’s not a lock to stick behind the plate. He obviously has some value with his bat if he sticks as a catcher, and his athleticism could allow him to move to another position in the future. He’s almost the opposite of Delay, showing questions about his defense, but promise with his offense.

His player page can be found here.

  • BuccosFanStuckinMD
    June 13, 2017 4:16 pm

    A catcher with a fringe arm??? Why draft him, especially given his down year in hitting? I’d have preferred Riley Adams in R3, instead of the two catchers they drafted….

  • Compared to what he will get as a average defensive senior catcher in next years draft he is a fool if he doesn’t take it.

  • Darkstone42
    June 13, 2017 3:09 pm

    Bucs going for power with these hitters. Change in philosophy, perhaps? Like the fact that he had pop in the Cape.

  • He said this:

    “it’s got to be life-changing money. It needs to be enough to be the man that I’ve always wanted to be for my family that I really didn’t have growing up,” said Stafford, raised by his grandmother, Jane Shirey, and late husband James.

    “Just knowing that I have that security. If I get that money, I’m going.”

    …is $336.5K life-changing money?

    • meatygettingsaucy
      June 13, 2017 3:02 pm

      considering it takes me 12 years at my current job to make that much, yes, yes it is life changing

      • I’d say it’s life-changing too but considering he had a down year and still a junior, don’t know if that’s life-changing enough for him

    • Dauphin County (where he is from) has a median income of $52K, so the number that you noted is 6 times that. Pretty life changing.

    • No. Not when you consider that he really won’y make much money playing – $12k/year as a single A player.

      OTOH, divide that by 5, take $60k a year out (factor in other items like paying your agent, taxes, etc and that $60k number could swing in a direction I can’t calculate) and if the dream is strong enough.

      OTOH, as a busniess major, he’ll probably get $50k coming out of school next year.

    • piraterican21
      June 13, 2017 3:25 pm

      If he is lucky to get that much.

  • Awesome. I can’t recall the last time the Bucs drafted someone from my school.

  • Interesting choice of another college catcher. Hope the bat returns to level of his sophomore year. Wonder where he plays though if he can’t stay at catcher.