Pirates Claim Outfielder Ryan Vilade from Rockies

The Pittsburgh Pirates announced on Wednesday night that they have claimed outfielder Ryan Vilade from the Colorado Rockies. He was a second round pick out of high school in 2017.

Vilade, who will turn 24 in February, has played three big league games for the Rockies. That happened in September of 2021, when he went 0-for-6 with a walk. He spent the 2022 season in the hitter-friendly Triple-A Pacific Coast League playing in Albuquerque, where he had a .245/.349/.358 slash line in 99 games. He has shown decent walk/strikeout rates in the minors, but he hasn’t shown much power, and his best stats have been in hitter-friendly leagues/parks. That was until this year in Albuquerque, where only one of his teammates who saw regular time had a lower OPS.

MLB Pipeline rated him 22nd in the Rockies system in their last update (not recent) and they give him 50 grade tools across the board, except for power (45). He started as an infielder, but he’s now a corner outfielder.

The 40-man roster is currently at 40 spots, though tomorrow is the deadline for teams to get down to 40 spots including players who were on the 60-day injured list. So the Pirates need to open a minimum of five spots.

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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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Vilade is just another body: I’d rather give a shot to Swaggerty or Gorski. Both
have a legit shot at least being part-timers or platoon players. They have as many as 12 players to be protected


I’m not crazy to see this guy taking up a spot on the 40 man either, but he was in the Futures Game just last year & was a high draft pick, rather a guy like that taking up a spot rather than all the relief pitcher waiver claims…


You could argue the correct answer is “neither.”

It’s less about this specific player than it is the acknowledgment that Cherington has been an unmitigated disaster in finding success with post-prospects – and he’s taken a LOT of swings. Not a one of them has done anything but be the same flavor of disappointing they were on other teams.


Isn’t this the very nature of managing your roster at the margins? I mean, what is the definition of a successful waiver claim, and moreover, what is the success rate of such claims? If there is anytime to place a bunch of bets, isn’t it now and wouldn’t you expect a high rate of failure?


Yes, he should be placing a fair number of bets, but you would expect at least one success to sneak in there. We’re still waiting for it. Huntington hit right off the bat with Garret Jones. He missed plenty too (traded for Jeff Clement, Andrew Lambo and Jerry Sands, claimed Brandon Wood), but the one win buys you a lot of goodwill to keep trying.


Correlation doesn’t imply causation.

Used to hate when my college econ professor would write that, but just because it didn’t work to a desired effect with other guys, Vilade is a different human being with different skills & could produce a different outcome.

IMO it’s more fun to take a glass half full outlook with new players, if possible. Just from looking at some Youtube videos of Ryan, he has a nice short swing for a big guy. If I were an evaluator & wanted him to get more power, I’d suggest a lower body adjustment, which in my opinion is much easier to make than a swing change.


“Correlation doesn’t imply causation”. Wow, lol.

Getting a math education in the comment section. Or a statistics lesson.

But you are a 100% right. The previous player has no baring on the next players probability of success. It’s a completely separate thing or player. Completely separate odds.


Here’s the one reason I would give BC the benefit of the doubt on this claim: if there’s one franchise that appears more clueless on a day-in, day-out basis than the Pirates, it’s definitely the Rockies. That fact alone increases the chances that this guy might simply have been mishandled.

I still don’t like the timing, and I don’t like that it fills a spot that could otherwise be filled by a Triolo, Gorski or Nuñez.


I’m always at least semi interested in someone with those kind of walk and k rates and a modicum of power in the scouting reports, if not in games.

Not mad, not happy. Just adding to the hodgepodge.

I think I remember beertemple reporting he was a potential target in a potential Josh Harrison trade but I could be wrong.

Bucs'N'Pucks (Jeff Reed)

I feel like Ben has been targeting guys with plate discipline, with the hopes of somehow teaching one to add power.


In his postseason presser he said they needed to add OBP to their lineup which, of course, makes a lot of sense given the combination of power but also swing-and-miss they have in projected members of that lineup.

Bucs'N'Pucks (Jeff Reed)

Problem is the high OBP and weak contact guys leave us with a player like Marcano. Then someone like Diego who fully leans into the power aspect completely lost his OBP.

Wilbur Miller

This won’t add any OBP. Guys whose only talent in the minors is drawing walks, without hitting for power, generally see the walks dry up when they reach the majors.


Carlos Santana is hi OBP guy, he was crippled by the shift last year, with it gone he could be a nice addition on a two year deal.


Yeah, I’m completely ambivalent about this wavier claim and my first thought was that Vilade is a depth acquisition for when they DFA Swaggerty. But in general the goal of adding OBP is appropriate. And even if Vilade is simply AAA depth, having a AAA team that plays the game the way they want the MLB team to play would seem to have a small positive effect. I.e., if they want the MLB team to be better with plate discipline, prioritizing that in the minors even with organizational players seems good.


Yeah, their current lineup has way too much SLG and not enough OBP. They just give outs away.


Le Sigh…

Wilbur Miller

The Pirates already have this guy, except they call him Jared. What’s the need for two?
Seriously, the other 29 GMs have some conception of “replacement player” as a guy you don’t need to carry on a roster because they grow on trees. But Cheringtoon thinks every stiff who goes on waivers is The One who’s going to make fans forget the first 200 stiffs he claimed who turned out to be stiffs


Wilbur – FG had him ranked #3 in the Rockies system in their 1/22 ranking with a 45FV. Jared Oliva hasn’t ever been ranked that high.

You seriously have problems with EVERY move Cherington makes. The Quintana and Vogey signings last year were absolute gems. Give the guy his due. He’s not terrible.

Wilbur Miller

I didn’t criticize those two moves. The ones I have criticized have just about all been disasters.
And FG isn’t exactly infallible. They’re probably talking to the same scouts as BA.
I’m still puzzled that a lot of fans aren’t picking up on just how horrific a job this nitwit has done. Just go down the bbref page for the 2022 team, looking at all the guys with OPS+ figures of 50 and below. Then go to one of NH’s bad teams. He brought in plenty of slugs, but nothing remotely like the refuse this clown has dragged in. Cheringtoon’s performance has been almost impossibly bad. I doubt you could bring in such awful players if you tried.


I don’t think Cherington is necessarily good, but what Wilbur does is damn intolerable.

He did the same nonsense with Huntington. Maybe in his mind he actually thinks he’s smarter than Cherington, which he’s not. It’s a miserable act.


You’re complaining about a member of the press complaining about a very bad organization and its foolish personnel decisions? You want to read a fan blog or objective analysis?


Who is a member of the press?


Other than playing the same position, Oliva and Vilade are two very different players.

Wilbur Miller

Functionally, no, they’re not. They’re RH-hitting, low-ceiling 5th OFs. Actually, that’s not fair to Oliva, who’s a legit CF. And he’s already on a MiL contract. So he’s more useful than Vilade.


The market disagrees with you; one was claimed and the other wasn’t. Oliva may be the better defender, but Vilade is considerably younger with a much better hit tool and plate discipline. The upside here goes to Vilade, hands down.

Now an argument could be made as to the worthiness of a 40-man roster spot, but this can only be determined when we know the opportunity cost.

Wilbur Miller

No, the market doesn’t disagree with me, only Cheringtoon does. Given his comically bad track record with waiver claims, that’s a point in my favor.

And “ceiling” shouldn’t be measured by outdated BA rankings. Vilade’s had two full years in AAA and he’s been a below average hitter, far below in 2022. The whole point of him being drafted in round 2 — i.e., his ceiling — was power, and he’s never hit for power. In fact, he’s steadily hit for less and less power as his career has gone along. He’s a corner outfielder who’s below average defensively and whose offense profiles badly for his position. His ceiling is AAA OF depth and Oliva is more useful there because he’s far better defensively, runs better and has been a better hitter at that level. I wouldn’t trade Oliva even up for Vilade. Not that I care much about Oliva, but it wouldn’t be worth the paperwork.


It only takes ONE team to make a market.

You obviously disagree with the claim, and that’s fine, but your logic and comparisons don’t hold water. If you’re solely looking at past AAA production, then MAYBE Oliva is your man, but if you’re evaluating baseball tools and developmental upside, the easy call here is Vilade. These guys are just simply on two completely different points of the development curve.

Scam likely

The problem is he will make the team and take up playing time from a real prospect, now if he just super 2 fill until June 10th,, they have plenty of those guys in the minors.Shop at the dollar store you get dollar store merchandise.

Wilbur Miller

You’re falling victim to BA Ranking Derangement Syndrome. He was perceived as having the tools when he was in high school. They didn’t develop. He’s not the droid you’re looking for.

And the definition of market price is the price agreed upon by two willing parties with knowledge of the relevant facts. Cheringtoon has shown atrocious judgment with these moves, far beyond Dave Littlefield and Neal Huntington at their absolute worst. If you needed an expert valuation of a work of art, would you go to somebody who fell for the Nigerian minister scam?


You keep referencing BA rankings; I am simply looking at his consistently strong BB- and K-rates plus the fact that he doesn’t swing and miss. He has held his own for his age despite the lack of power to this point. The plate discipline and contact rates are there; not a bad canvas to work with if you think the power hasn’t developed YET.

We are far from needing an expert opinion on his value, although I would argue that this claim is more about future value than current as-is value. Nonetheless, it is more than reasonable to assume that another team would have claimed him based on his age, current skill set, and prospect pedigree. This supports a “market” for his services. A market, or most likely buyer, and market value are two different valuation concepts.


Does anyone remember when Littlefield lost 5 players in the rule 5 draft? Will Cherrington go for a new Pirate record? I know everyone pooh poohs the rule 5 draft as inconsequential, but rarely have teams had as many guys on the cusp of the majors with borderline MLB potential as the Pirates eligible for the draft. A team actually does not have to roster the player the whole year. They can take on the player as a tryout for a couple months. If he does not work out, the cost is minimal for a team with a budget that does not count pennies in the bottom line.

Wilbur Miller

The response you always get is that most of those guys never did anything. Except if one guy out of five has one very good and one solid year, like Chris Shelton did, you’ve easily demolished Cheringtoon’s showing with his dozens of waiver claims. And that’s leaving out Jose Bautista.


Justin Turner derangement disorder. BC’s going to find his diamond even if it kills our interest in the Bucs.

Last edited 10 months ago by mpg43952

He does not provide anything more than what we already have.

We have plenty of talented players for which we cannot or do not want to place on the 40. Adding more “suspect prospects” is not the answer.

I think the Pre-Rule 5 roster has to be set by Nov 15 – time for a GM to be making difficult decisions not just playing frickin mind games.


Don’t the Pirates have enough trouble protecting their own prospects
without adding such a wild card? This makes no sense, to me. Are they just
trying to show the fan base their busy at work?



Will be interesting to see who all gets cut from the 40 man tomorrow plus who all gets added from within the system as well. This move could be just a depth backup plan if other guys that they do not have room for get picked in the Rule 5. Could see him dropped from the 40 man and put through waivers again tomorrow. A whole lot of these kind of guys have been claimed by a lot of teams lately.


The 40 man deadline isn’t until the 15th. We do have 5 or 6 guys in the 60 day but we won’t find out the whole plan today, only whether those guys get squeezed back on.


Put him through waviers on the 14th, no one claims him and, vola, he’s in the system. That’s all BC wanted.


I think that is exactly what they will do with him.


Although, his age and how the Rockies have handled him combined with his hit tool and plate discipline make him an interesting claim at the very least.


a waiver claim involving a not so good player. you don’t say!


And the inept claiming of failed prospects from other organizations continues unabated. Go random guy who should never grace an MLB field!


But why?


They have some leftover Jose Tabata jerseys to use?


He’s a former top prospect infielder turned outfielder. Like catnip to a cat.

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