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2022 Marlins Season Preview: Jacob Stallings

Miami Marlins catcher Jacob Stallings (58) runs to first base on a single in the 1st inning of the spring training game against the Washington Nationals at Roger Dean Stadium.  Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

The Miami Marlins made a bold but necessary move when they acquired Gold Glove-winning catcher Jacob Stallings from the Pittsburgh Pirates.

2021 Season

MLB: Chicago Cubs at Pittsburgh Pirates Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The 2021 season was the first in which Stallings was a full-time MLB catcher (played 112 games). He was the best defensive catcher in baseball, allowing no passed balls all year and leading the league in Defensive Runs Saved.

On the offensive side, Stallings has his limitations. He is an extremely slow baserunner without much power. But compared to other catchers, especially the guys who the Marlins have used in recent years, he provides a lot of value.

Let’s compare Jorge Alfaro’s 2021 offensive numbers to Stallings:

Jorge Alfaro: .244 BA, .283 OBP, .342 SLG, .625 OPS, 4 HR, 30 RBI, 72 H

Jacob Stallings: .246 BA, .335 OBP, .369 SLG, .704 OPS, 8 HR, 53 RBI, 92 H

In November, Stallings was traded to the Marlins in exchange for Zach Thompson , Kyle Nicolas, and Connor Scott. The Marlins were able to upgrade themselves from one of the worst catching situations to one of the best (he ranked 8th among MLB catchers on MLB Network’s Top 10 Right Now show). The move hurt their pitching depth, but demonstrated their commitment to putting together a contender for 2022.

2022 Expectations

Stallings is 32 years old entering his 7th major league season (first with Miami). His current contractual situation is messy as he and the Marlins were unable to agree to terms prior to last week’s arbitration deadline. Stallings filed at $3.1 million while the Marlins filed at $2.45 million. Unless they reach an extension, there will be a midseason arbitration hearing to determine his salary.

The Marlins have team control of Stallings through 2024 and he will be a free agent in 2025.

Stallings is expected to bat near the bottom of the Marlins order. His spring training stats (as of March 31): 4 G, .273 BA, 2 RBI, 3 H, .273 OBP, .455 SLG, .727 OPS.

Stallings is one of the best framers in baseball, a skill that will benefit every Marlins pitcher, especially those with inconsistent command like Edward Cabrera and Jesús Luzardo. Payton Henry is on track to begin 2022 as his backup with Alex Jackson and Nick Fortes as Triple-A catching depth in case of injuries.

The Marlins should be excited to have added somebody with Stallings’ abilities and intangibles.


Over/Under 25.5 runners caught stealing by Jacob Stallings this season?

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