The Pittsburgh Pirates announced their NLDS roster on Thursday morning. Other than a few minor surprises, it was very similar to what most people expected it to be.
The first surprise was leaving Travis Snider off of the roster in favor of Garrett Jones. Neither player would have been a huge factor in any starting lineups, but Snider has had more success as a pinch-hitter this season. In 44 pinch-hitting at-bats, Snider has nine hits, three of them being home runs. Jones only has 29 at-bats as a pinch-hitter and has just four hits. The main difference between Snider and Jones off the bench has been the power. Jones hasn’t hit a pinch-hit home run yet while Snider has three. For this reason, the Pirates should have chosen Snider over Jones.
The next surprise was choosing John Buck over Tony Sanchez as the second catcher. One can only assume the Pirates decided to go with Buck over Sanchez because of his experience. Buck has eight years of MLB experience and Sanchez is just a rookie. However, Buck has very little experience catching the Pirates’ pitching staff — he’s only made six starts at catcher for the Bucs. Sanchez has 12 starts at catcher and has a lot of experience catching Francisco Liriano. Sanchez has been the primary backup catcher since Michael McKenry got injured a few months ago. Basing a roster on experience seems silly to me, and Sanchez is the Pirates’ future catcher in all likelihood once Russell Martin becomes a free agent. The Pirates need to show that they have confidence in him to at least be the primary backup in the postseason. It isn’t like Buck has done anything to force his way on the roster.