If you needed anymore of a reminder of just how much of an emphasis the Pirates put on adding catching depth to the system, you’d only have to look at the Greensboro roster to start the season.
Henry Davis was the first overall pick in 2021, and Endy Rodriguez had one of the best minor league seasons across all of baseball — a lot teams would be happy having one of them.
Their depth at the position goes beyond those two as well, as Abrahan Gutierrez was the ‘third’ catcher on the roster when the season started in Greensboro. As Davis and Rodriguez moved on to Altoona, Gutierrez got to take on a more prominent role at his natural position to close out the year.
In his short time with the Pirates, Gutierrez has shown a great approach at the plate (12.87% walk rate between Bradenton and Greensboro since being acquired), while posting a 113 wRC+ in 2022.
His strikeout rate did jump by 10% from his time in Bradenton, so that will be something to monitor going forward. Even so, Gutierrez slashed .257/.356/.411 with 12 home runs and 56 RBI in 2022.
One of the traps of playing in Greensboro is the obvious advantage home games present, but Gutierrez posted near identical slugging percentage and an overall better OPS while on the road (.772 away, .762 home).
Of course, Gutierrez’s calling card is his defense, and he showed that in Greensboro this past season. He allowed only three passed balls in over 300 innings behind the plate, and threw out 25.93% of would be base stealers.
Finding playing time for so many catchers would become problematic for some, but the defensive flexibility that Gutierrez and Rodriguez have shown (Davis did get some time in right field at the end of the season), there does seem to be a scenario to where you could have all three on the roster in the majors one day.
A lot of eyes will be on both Davis and Rodriguez, for good reason, which will allow Gutierrez to continue to fly under the radar and play without as much pressure.
It’s not always the big trade that makes the most impact, sometimes it’s about adding the right player, and Gutierrez is showing why Ben Cherington chased him down in two trades.
Highlight of the Day
— Anthony Murphy (@__Murphy88) July 15, 2022
Song of the Day
When you wake up really early to see the Lunar Eclipse and it’s cloudy and raining in Florida… – Tim
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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.