Stallings Improving As Third Option For Pirates

Clint Hurdle said they have “no hesitation” calling on Jacob Stallings.

Jeff Hathhorn
March 19, 2018 - 9:49 am
Jacob Stallings

93.7 the Fan

There is no doubt who the Pirates catchers are when camp breaks, but if an injury happens, they are developing a number three.

“If something goes down with one of these first two guys, we have no hesitation to bringing Jacob into play.” Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said of the development of Jacob Stallings.

Known for his defense, the 28-year-old Stallings is hitting .333 this spring and hit safely in 21 of his last 22 games in Triple-A last year.  Stallings credits a better two-strike approach and learning what he needs to do to be successful, not trying to be someone else.

“He’s put in the work and he’s developed a routine and he’s stayed the course with his work and with his plan at the plate,” Hurdle said.  “He’s hitting the ball all over the ballpark.  He’s making contact.  Behind the plate, he’s quiet.  He gives a good target.  He can sequence well.  The arm strength and unload time is major league.”

Stallings threw out two runners against Boston on Sunday and has no past balls in 45 innings.  Last year in Indianapolis, the former 7th round pick of the Pirates had a .996 fielding percentage and threw out 37% of those attempting to steal.

He also believes he has found the secret to calling a good game.

“You have to know the scouting report, but then just trusting my instincts,” Stallings said.  “Going to the pitchers’ strengths before I try to go to the hitters’ weakness, that’s what I’ve learned.  To just trust myself more and not try to memorize the scouting report and just strictly go by the scouting report.”

Stallings also has a plan to earn the respect of the veterans.

“My philosophy is to try and keep my mouth shut and do my job well.  Try to play hard for the older guys and show them that I care and that I want them to do well.  Hopefully they notice that kind of stuff.  That builds trust.”

Two years ago when Jacob was in camp, the news around him was all upbeat about his father, Kevin, being named the next Pitt basketball head coach.  What a difference two years can make.

“It hasn’t been that hard, I’ve tried to just ignore the noise,” Stallings said of dealing with his dad’s firing.  “Just be there for him and my sisters and my mom if they need me.  He’ll be fine.  It was an unfortunate end to the situation, but it happens.  It’s part of the job.  We’ll be alright.”

Not all with his family is unfortunate, his son, Emmitt was born just over a year ago and is almost walking.  Stallings says he puts a smile on his face at home and at the ballpark.

“I can hear him in the stands sometimes with his random yelling,” Stallings said.  “Not like crying, just trying to talk and it turns into a random yell.”

Emmitt’s first words were “Dada, ball and Mama, in that order”. 

Sounds like another athlete in the Stallings family.