PITTSBURGH — While the Pirates as a team had a season worth forgetting, two individuals on the club are being recognized for their high quality play in the field. Rawlings Baseball announced on Thursday afternoon that both Jacob Stallings and Adam Frazier are finalists for Gold Glove awards.
Stallings, who was deemed the club’s most valuable player this season by the local chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America, was named a finalist along side Tucker Barnhart of the Reds and Willson Contreras of the Cubs.
Entering his first season as the top man on a MLB depth chart, Stallings was one of many Pirates who were asked to step up and have a career year in 2020. In the end, he was one of the few who was able to do so, posting the second highest WAR on the team (1.1) due largely to his excellence behind the plate.
The 31 year old backstop finished the shortened season with the second most defensive runs saved (7) by those that play his position. Stallings threw out a third of the runners who attempted to steal a base on him in 2020, good for a tie for ninth best in all of baseball.
Of course where Stallings thrived the most was at framing pitches. Following a solid second half of the 2019 season, Stallings' ability to steal strikes from opposing teams was becoming well known throughout the league. Those who still weren’t aware of his skills quickly found out in 2020, with him ranking near the top of all pitch framing metrics.
Although the Gold Glove nomination is the first of his career, it’s hardly unexpected. Derek Shelton voiced his thoughts on Stallings being considered for the award in late September saying he’d be a well deserving recipient.
“He’s done an outstanding job,” Shelton said. “You’d be hard-pressed to find someone that’s caught and thrown the ball better than he has this year. Definitely should win there.”
Meanwhile, Frazier receives his second straight nomination as a finalist at second base. This season Frazier is paired with Nico Hoerner of the Cubs and Kolten Wong of the Cardinals. Wong won the award last season over Frazier and Ozzie Albies of the Braves.