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Jacob Stallings Trade: Scouting Reports On Every Pirates, Marlins Player Involved

On a very busy Monday (Nov. 29), the Pirates and Marlins made one of the most significant trades of the past month.

Pittsburgh sent Gold Glove catcher Jacob Stallings to Miami in exchange for three players: righthander Zach Thompson and two prospects, outfielder Connor Scott and righthander Kyle Nicolas.

For the Pirates, it's a continuation of a sell-off of productive big league talent with multiple years of team control. Stallings won't be a free agent until 2025. He joins second baseman Adam Frazier, righthander Jameson Taillon, righthander Joe Musgrove and first baseman Josh Bell as veterans jettisoned by Pittsburgh over the last year amid a full-scale rebuild.

The Marlins have been quite busy in November, signing free agent outfielder Avisail Garcia to a four-year deal and inking righthander Sandy Alcantara to a five-year extension.


Jacob Stallings, C
Age: 31

Stallings is yet further evidence to the long-held scouting adage that catchers develop more slowly than any other position. He didn’t become an MLB starter until the coronavirus-shortened 2020 season. And it wasn’t until this year, as a 31-year-old, that he topped 250 plate appearances in a season. Stallings won the Gold Glove this year and carries a solid defensive reputation. As a hitter, he’s always been better at the bottom of an order. He makes a decent amount of contact, but doesn’t really drive the ball. Since 2019, he’s a .251/.331/.374 hitter. His career high in home runs (eight) was set this year. Stallings gives the Marlins an easy way to move on from Jorge Alfaro as the team’s primary catcher. Stallings just reached arbitration and will not hit free agency until 2025.

Related: See the 10 best prospects in the Marlins system entering 2022

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Pirates' Kyle Nicolas Stands Out At Minor League Camp

The 23-year-old received some praise from one of the organization's top prospects.


Zach Thompson, RHP
Age: 28

Thompson was a surprise addition to the Marlins starting rotation in 2021. A fifth-round pick of the White Sox out of Texas-Arlington in 2014, he’d been moved to the bullpen by the White Sox in 2018. He signed with the Marlins as a minor league free agent and moved into the Triple-A Jacksonville bullpen. In June he was called up to the majors, and in his MLB debut he made his first start since Aug. 2, 2017. Thompson bounced back and forth between the Marlins bullpen and rotation for the rest of the season. He succeeded by throwing a lot of cutters. He rarely missed bats but didn’t give up a lot of hard contact. He fits as a swingman who can bounce back and forth between roles, but in Pittsburgh he may get a larger chance to start.

Related: See the 10 best prospects in the Pirates system entering 2022

Connor Scott, OF
Age: 22

For a first-round pick, Scott has had a slow start to his career, but the arrow has started to point in the right direction. He was the 13th overall pick in 2018, but in his first two seasons he showed very minimal impact at the plate. He returned from the pandemic layoff stronger, which allowed him to better drive the ball. He’s always had solid bat-to-ball skills, but now he’s able to line balls into the gap more often. He should be able to stay in center field, and if his power continues to tick up, he has a shot at being a big leaguer, albeit one without a ton of impact. Scott was set to rank 15th in the Marlins preseason Top 30.

Kyle Nicolas, RHP
Age: 22

Nicolas was slated to rank 19th on the upcoming Marlins Top 30. The supplemental second-round pick in 2020 out of Ball State has a plus fastball that combines solid velocity (93-95 mph and touching 97) with a high spin rate and a flat vertical approach angle, and it generates lots of swings and misses. He also throws a curveball, slider and changeup, with both breaking balls showing promise. His control needs to improve.

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