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Thursday, December 8, 2022

P2Daily: Connor Scott Played Great Defensively In First Year With Pirates

The Pittsburgh Pirates got three players in exchange for catcher Jacob Stallings. They received MLB pitcher Zach Thompson and two minor leaguers — Kyle Nicolas and Connor Scott. Thompson made his major league debut the year prior and saw some success as a starter, while Nicolas and Scott were former high draft picks that had some upside but needed some work.

Jumping right out the gate, there were few players to get off to a better start than Scott, slashing .358/.443/.528 with six extra-base hits and a wRC+ of 169 during the first month of the season.

It was a struggle offensively (.222 average and 77 wRC+ the rest of the year), but Scott still found a way to contribute to the Altoona Curve.

Scott put in one of the better defensive seasons in the system this past year, and it won’t be hard to scroll through the internet and find him making a fantastic catch.

The former first round pick put up some strong offensive numbers in 2021 in the Marlins system while playing in High-A, sporting a .779 OPS and 112 wRC+. 

There’s a good chance that one, or multiple, of the Altoona outfielders begin the year again in Double-A, even if it’s just as simple as Indianapolis is expected to be incredibly crowded coming up.

In a way, Scott is similar to Travis Swaggerty’s path, who was drafted a few picks ahead of him back in 2018. Both are defensive first outfielders who really hadn’t hit much in the minors. The great work with the glove helps lift their ceiling a bit, but ultimately it will come to how much they can hit if they are going to have success in the majors.

Scott looked like he was ready to have that offensive season that allowed him to breakout, but quickly cooled off and could never find his path again. Maybe a full offseason in the Pirates system and a start back in Altoona in 2023, like Matt Gorski restarting back in Greensboro this past year, will help Scott get things going and take a step in the right direction.

It’d be another left-handed option added in to the many already in the picture, but Scott would provide the defensive work that few of them could actually provide.

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Anthony began writing over 10 years ago, starting a personal blog to cover the 2011 MLB draft, where the Pirates selected first overall. After bouncing around many websites covering hockey, he refocused his attention to baseball, his first love when it comes to sports. He eventually found himself here at Pirates Prospects in late 2021, where he covers the team’s four full season minor league affiliates.

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bucket of jim bibby sweat

The comments in regards to Scott are just so off-base. BC traded an old catcher that was having a nice season that wasn’t going to be part of the future, especially with Endy and Henry in system. Trading him was the right call and not real debatable.

BC targeted 2-3 guys he liked that were available and made the deal. Not real complicated. Sometimes you hit on a guy; sometimes you don’t. Either way you have the take the shot, especially with our self-imposed restricted budget.

If you look at Scott’s power numbers, he had a surge at end of 2021 where it appeared things started to click. Based on the beginning of 2022 thought BC might have had a steal. Of course he didn’t do much rest of season, but it doesn’t change the fact the deal should be made.

The comparisons to Swaggerty are fair in the sense both are guys that can play d, high picks with big bonuses in same draft, and both have power potential.

If the FO puts him on the 40-man this off-season then that would be a pretty good indicator that they are betting that he figures things out offensively or at least worth the associated costs of rostering him over someone else, especially since this spots come at a premium this year.

JimEastTennessee

Props for your name 🙂 1979…sopping cap, dripping nose…

roberto

No issues with your analysis. A note is that Swaggerty has consistently hit better than Scott and the scouting reports that I have seen rate Swaggerty as a better defender.

b mcferren

nobody wants to hear the Greg Brown star trek impressions?

Wilbur Miller

How do you tell which are the star trek impressions?

TNBucs

Great song choice today! And I hadn’t seen that catch before, but one of the best I’ve seen from this past season–his timing was perfect. I guess the song fits because Scott kept it from being over (intentional?).

leefieux

Sixpence the Richer does a good version, too

robertkasperski

Just love the reaction of the pitcher, I believe Efrain Contreras, when he realizes the ball cleared the wall….

robertkasperski

Should have included the fact that I was talking about the above video of Nicky G’s HR… lol!!

PirateRican21

Is he a good centerfielder? I know he mostly played RF and a good glove there is not the same as a good glove in CF when the bat is not strong?
BTW, love all these articles! 👍🏼

AdministrativeSky236

Seems like he has tended to spend more time in RF but 20+ starts each season in CF, would definitely agree that his bat will be less of a concern if he can play up the middle…

leefieux

Connor Scott = Jared Oliva?

roberto

Reasonable, but Oliva’s path has been so odd that comparisons are hard.

leefieux

I’m talking about right now. Both are good field, light hitting OFers.

jeffw3000

I really think the best comparison might be Swaggerty except for one difference. Yes, Swaggerty is probably better defensively, and everyone knew Swaggerty might have trouble offensively at the next level. Scott was rated high when drafted. Everyone thought he would be a huge power hitter at the next level. he does show how risky it can be drafting prep players. They try to project where players will wind up when they are often not even finished growing. Scott was also a good pitcher in HS,with a 92 mph FB, so if he does not pan out, maybe we can try him as a pitcher.

ArkyWags

Was Scott projected as a big power guy? Other than being bigger, it doesn’t sound like he’s ever had the swing for power. At any rate, other than 2021 he hasn’t hit much in the minors, while Swag has at least been better than league average.

piratemike

As all things Pirates whoever makes trades doesn’t know what the Hell they are doing.

AdministrativeSky236

Nah disagree, we got a ton of potential with that trade. Will it all work out? We won’t know for years but the ceiling of our org got much much higher having nicolas, scott, and thompson around than an aging stallings

skliesen

Yeah, Pirates should’ve held out for Sandy Alcantara for a player of Stallings caliber.

I seriously doubt this deal goes down in the loss column for BC. Stallings was dealt after what was likely his best pro season.

jeffw3000

The only way we were getting Alcantara for Stallings, was if we threw in Bryan Reynolds, or maybe Cruz.

skliesen

Probably both

piratemike

You’re just pissed because I down voted your stupid name for NG.

skliesen

I’m not pissed, and judging by the replies to your comment on the trade, nobody agrees with your assessment. Which probably makes you pissed.

PS-I didn’t give him the nickname, but will happily take credit for it.

JimEastTennessee

Perhaps we can leave personal attacks unsent?

leefieux

We got what we could get for a defensive minded catcher coming off of his best season.

jeffw3000

Exactly. We got a pitcher coming off a good rookie season, and 2 prospects. 1 prospect was a former 1st round pick, who Miami had soured on, but was coming off a good year in A+ at the age of 21. The other was a pitcher that was a 2nd round pick, who really turned in a decent year with Altoona. His control worries me a little, but there are things to like about Nicolas. Hitters only hit .216 against him. If he can improve the control, he may be the best out of the deal.

I really doubt we could have hoped for more for Stallings. He is basically a defensive catcher with little power.

b mcferren

then paid another defensive minded catcher twice the price to injure himself for the rest of the year

leefieux

Had he not gotten hurt, we would’ve received similar production PLUS the 3 added prospects. I am not a BC fan, but this was a win for us.

ArkyWags

Had he not gotten hurt. That’s rich. And if my grandmother had wheels, she would have been a bike. Perez has had more than 300 plate appearances once since 2014. He shouldn’t have been the only plan at catcher.

leefieux

I can buy that, I really wasn’t aware of his background. But, you could’ve phrased your reply a little less snarky, no?

b mcferren

pretty well known for injury

looks like we plan to stub our toe again with him this offseason 🙁

leefieux

Not to me. I don’t follow the AL much. But still, my point stands.

piratemike

How do you know that is all the Pirates could have received, you were not in the room negotiating.
Look what Tampa got in the “TRADE” with NH.

Last edited 1 month ago by piratemike
leefieux

Same way that you DON’T know. We can only go by what we got, which is way more than I personally expected for him.

jeffw3000

I know by common sense. First you have to even find a team that is looking for a defensive minded starting catcher, with okay hitting, and no power. There were probably only a handful of teams that would have been interested in him that way. No team that would make him a backup is giving you much to get him. That lowers his value right off, because there are not many teams that would be interested that way.

We received 2 of their top 20 prospects, and a pitcher coming off a good rookie season. No one was going to give us a top prospect for Stallings. Could we have been able to find a team that might of given us a little more, if we waited. Maybe, but we also might have wound up with less. BC probably pulled the trigger on this deal, because he had already floated Stallings, and knew the offers he was getting.

piratemike

Of course, nobody knows, but just because you are satisfied doesn’t mean that someone else couldn’t have made a better trade.

leefieux

Well, that sure is an argument that nobody will ever be able to prove one way or another. Way to go out on a limb with that comment, lol.

robertkasperski

If Thompson even just ends up being the solid middle/long reliever in the pen, a win for the Bucs. Scott and Nicolas are gravy.

ArkyWags

Thompson pretty much sucks so that likely won’t happen. I think if they get anything out of the deal it’s Nicolas as a potential back end piece.

That isn’t to say I think they should have held onto Jake. They got what they could and cashed in when and where they could for a guy who likely wasn’t going to be any good for long.

Last edited 1 month ago by ArkyWags
roberto

Nailed it. The admittedly non-stellar collection of catchers for the 2022 Bucs out-performed Stallings as measured by WAR. In fairness, I must note my usual caveat about the inadequacies of catching defensive stats.

jeffw3000

Stalling did not have a great year for Miami. Most of the year he struggled with the bat the first half of the season, and at one point lost his starting job, but got it back in 2nd half. He was good defensively, but not as stellar as he has been in the past, and was terrible at throwing out base stealers with a 19% CS rate which was below league average.

roberto

I won’t go into my standard rant that runners steal on pitchers. But both Heineman and Delay had better pop times than Stallings.

robertkasperski

Yeah, felt bad for Jacob that he basically fell off the cliff this year. Even his defense dipped. Was good that he was moved when he did. Would have been DFA’d here this year after that season of his.

jeffw3000

Stallings did hit better after the all-star break, and extended his streak of games without a passed ball, breaking the MLB record set by Johnny Bench, so it was not all terrible for Stallings.

robertkasperski

No not all terrible for Stallings but he had his lowest BA and OPS for his career and had issues throwing out runners and his framing metrics lagged. His numbers were as bad as our guys that were being trotted out his passed ball streak not withstanding.My point if we dropped a lot of other catchers with similar numbers, he most likely would have been DFA’d himself and not be heading to arbitration. Would not be surprised if Miami does not DFA him as well.

The Gunner

If Stallings is nontendered, it might not be a bad idea to have a reunion with him. He might be a good guy to have around to help mentor Davis and Endy.

robertkasperski

I would hire him as a coach. As far as he fell last year as a player, I would not want him back as a catcher. I would love Perez of the Roberto version back if he is indeed healthy.

jeffw3000

Stallings was better 2nd half. He had a .742 OPS 2nd half. He broke Johnny Bench’s record for consecutive games without allowing Passed Ball. He did have trouble throwing out runners stealing, but he still was a pretty good catcher defensively, and 2nd half he was good on both sides of the ball. I do not think there is any chance he is going to quit playing to be a coach at the age of 32. He should at least keep playing until he gives up a Passed Ball, so he can continue to add onto his MLB record.

robertkasperski

I do not think that he will quit but I would not necessarily want to give him a raise in arbitration either. I think that he would be non tendered and I guess could see signing him to a 1 year deal but would have to consider Perez again if he is 100% healthy again. Only need one of these guys and would lean to Perez if healthy. No guarantee that Jacob will not revert to 1st half Jacob and stay there the whole year. No guarantee that Perez stays healthy either. Would want to talk to Jacob to be a coach when he is done though.

jeffw3000

You may be right about being Non-tendered, but I could see the Marlins avoiding Arbitration, and signing him for perhaps 2.5-3 million. It is not like they have options right now. Mack is their most intriguing prospect, but he is far from ready. If not Stallings then they may need to bring someone else in. They have that talented young pitching staff, and I would think they will want someone who knows how to handle a pitching staff. Without seeing him everyday it is hard to know how much of the success of their staff goes to him. I do agree. I think he will make an excellent coach when he is done. Would not be surprised to see him manage someday.

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