Reds vs Pirates: Preview, pitching matchups and prediction

PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 29: Aristides Aquino #44 of the Cincinnati Reds rounds the bases after hitting a home run. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA - SEPTEMBER 29: Aristides Aquino #44 of the Cincinnati Reds rounds the bases after hitting a home run. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images) /
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SAN FRANCISCO, CA – SEPTEMBER 09: Jacob Stallings #58 of the Pittsburgh Pirates is congratulated at home plate. (Photo by Stephen Lam/Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO, CA – SEPTEMBER 09: Jacob Stallings #58 of the Pittsburgh Pirates is congratulated at home plate. (Photo by Stephen Lam/Getty Images) /

Patience paying off for the Bucs and Jacob Stallings

No one is ever going to accuse Pirates catcher Jacob Stallings of being an overnight success. It’s been a long and winding road for the 30-year-old backstop, but he just might have finally laid claim to the catching position in Pittsburgh.

Originally a 42nd-round pick of the Reds in the 2011 MLB Draft, Stallings decided to return to the University of North Carolina instead of signing with Cincinnati and it was a smart decision. The following year he was a seventh-round selection of the Pirates. However, Stallings never appeared in more than 15 games in a Pirates uniform until 2019, his age 29 season.

During his 71 game audition last summer, Jacob Stallings made the most of his opportunity. He slashed .262./325./382 with six homers and 13 RBIs in 191 at-bats. Even more impressive, Stallings gunned down 40% of would-be base stealers which was well above the 26% league average last year.

This year he’s been even better. Slashing .303/.391/.395 with a homer and 12 knocked in, Stallings is once again making the opponents running game virtually nonexistent by nailing 43% of potential base robbers. Run at your own risk this weekend Redlegs.

Who knows if Stallings will ever be an All-Star, but he seems like the kind of guy you root for. It’s been a slow and I’m sure frustrating trip through the Pirates farm system, but it appears his perseverance is finally paying dividends.

Next. The next great Reds hitter