Taking a Guess at the Pirates’ Wild Card Roster

The Pittsburgh Pirates will release their Wild Card rosters tomorrow morning at 10 AM. Clint Hurdle gave a few hints on the makeup of the roster, but wouldn’t reveal any names until tomorrow. Based on what we know, I wanted to do a prediction on who might be on the team. Below is just my guess, based on what Hurdle said in his press conference today, along with a look at how the Pirates handled the roster during the final month of the season.

Pitchers (9)

Edinson Volquez

Mark Melancon

Tony Watson

John Holdzkom

John Axford

Jared Hughes

Justin Wilson

Vance Worley

Bobby LaFromboise

Last year the Pirates carried nine pitchers in the Wild Card game. Clint Hurdle said that they would carry nine again this year, although the names won’t be announced until tomorrow.

The last two spots for the pitchers are where I feel things could be up in the air. Last year the Pirates carried a second starting pitcher, in the event that things didn’t go well for the starter. They would have had Vance Worley as a backup plan if there was a tiebreaker on Monday. I think he will still be the backup plan.

The final spot, which I have going to Bobby LaFromboise, depends on whether the Pirates want a third lefty in the bullpen. I went with LaFromboise as my guess over Jeanmar Gomez because the Giants have a lot of left-handers, which means carrying three guys makes a lot of sense.

Catchers (3)

Russell Martin

Chris Stewart

Tony Sanchez

I wrote earlier about how Russell Martin said he feels good enough to play. In that article, Clint Hurdle talked about how the Pirates will probably carry three catchers.

Infielders (6)

Ike Davis

Gaby Sanchez

Neil Walker

Jordy Mercer

Josh Harrison

Clint Barmes

All of the usual starters, plus Barmes as the backup shortstop. I’ll go into this more in the next section.

Outfielders (7)

Andrew McCutchen

Starling Marte

Travis Snider

Gregory Polanco

Jose Tabata

Chase d’Arnaud

Andrew Lambo

The Pirates carried 17 position players in September. With nine pitchers in the Wild Card game, that only leaves room for 16 position players. After running through all of them, I got down to three guys for the final two spots: Brent Morel, Andrew Lambo, and Chase d’Arnaud. I keep going back and forth on this. Part of me thinks they’ll go with Morel because of his ability to back up third base. I think d’Arnaud has a good shot to make the team due to his availability as a pinch runner. Andrew Lambo actually got more playing time than either of them in September, and got more time than Jose Tabata. It’s possible Tabata could be in this mix as well. I think the cut will come from this group, and the actual player cut will depend on what the Pirates are prioritizing.

Tim started Pirates Prospects in 2009 from his home in Virginia, which was 40 minutes from where Pedro Alvarez made his pro debut in Lynchburg. That year, the Lynchburg Hillcats won the Carolina League championship, and Pirates Prospects was born from Tim's reporting along the way. The site has grown over the years to include many more writers, and Tim has gone on to become a credentialed MLB reporter, producing Pirates Prospects each year, and will publish his 11th Prospect Guide this offseason. He has also served as the Pittsburgh Pirates correspondent for Baseball America since 2019. Behind the scenes, Tim is an avid music lover, and most of the money he gets paid to run this site goes to vinyl records.

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Monsoon Harvard

I don’t recall Pedro Alvarez ever officially going on the DL. He would make for a good pinch hitter in reserve.
Otherwise, I would keep Brent Morel over D’arnaud.

Joe Sweetnich

Wonder if Clint changes his mind on the roster based on the Wild Card Game tonight (KC vs OAK)?


And why would that be? Just curious…..?


…extra long pitcher

Joe Sweetnich

12 Inning game, KC nearly used all their pitchers even though they didn’t have to bat

Jesse Cleaver

I agree chase over morel. You would need two infielders to get hurt for him to enter the game. Chase at least provides situational value as a runner. Also I’m going Locke or Framboise over Gomez. Loogy appearance will be needed and Lcoke could throw 100 pitches if necessary in extra innings…Gomez maybe 50.

Signor Somaro

Is Ike still ill? Maybe they carry Morel, D’Arnaud and Lambo but not Ike?


Morel will definitely be on the roster instead of d’Arnaud. Hurdle likes to have two back-up infielders and he trusts Morel’s defense way more than he would trust d’Arnaud.

The first 8 pitchers Tim listed are “locks” for the roster. For the 9th pitcher slot, I will be shocked if it’s not Gomez or Locke instead of LaFromboise. You can make arguments for any of those 3, but Hurdle will go with Gomez or Locke because he likes to have 2 long reliever options in case of injury or if the game goes to extended extra innings. Worley is the only guy from the top 8 that can pitch more than 2 innings. I would go with Locke because he’s lefty, he can pitch more innings than Gomez, and he’s a better pitcher in my opinion than Gomez (although every Pirate fan including myself will have a total sense of doom if Locke or Gomez pitch in this game!).


I have to agree with you on Morel. D’Arnaud has never been very consistent in the field and he mostly played the outfield this year. He still could be on the team though; it all depends on whether Hurdle values a pinch runner or another left handed pinch hitter – meaning Lambo. Since Gaby is likely to start against Bumgarner, that would make Lambo the third lefty off the bench, so he may be the man out (edit: assuming they bring 9 pitchers.)


We don’t need as many long relievers for this game, though. Normally we’d have four pitchers (the guys in the rotation) who wouldn’t be used in relief, but that isn’t the case in a one game playoff. We have about eight guys for relief, so we probably won’t need two or three long relievers unless Volquez gets completely lit up or the game goes for 15 innings.


Imagine if the Royals/A’s game went 15 innings???

You need someone who can go long. and not just Worley

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