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Thursday, December 8, 2022

Pirates Acquire Minor League Catcher from Detroit Tigers

The Pittsburgh Pirates acquired 22-year-old minor league catcher Elys Escobar from the Detroit Tigers on Friday afternoon. He has spent five seasons in the Detroit system after signing with them as a 16-year-old amateur free agent in 2013.

Escobar has played some High-A ball over the last two seasons, though it appears to be a situation similar to when the Pirates send GCL/Extended Spring Training players to Bradenton as short-term fillers. Escobar spent most of 2018 in the GCL, posting a .255/.356/.333 slash line in 23 games. In 2017, he served as the backup catcher for the New York-Penn League affiliate of the Tigers.

The Pirates were short on catchers going into Spring Training. They signed Nick Garland as a free agent recently, but then Justin Morris retired, putting them right back where they were at the start. Escobar appears to be a solid defensive catcher with a strong arm, who has also seen some time at first base and even played three games at third base last year. He could end up seeing time at almost any level below Double-A this year, depending on need.

There was no return in the trade, so it was likely one of those future considerations deals where it never comes up.

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John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.

When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.

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