This is one in a series of stories breaking down members of the Pittsburgh Pirates 40-man roster.
Joshua Palacios’ path to carving out a significant role with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2023 was an unlikely one.
Last offseason, the Pirates selected the now 28-year-old Palacios in the minor league phase of the Rule 5 draft from the Washington Nationals’ organization. When the season started, Palacios was assigned to Double-A Altoona.
After a brief eight-game stint with the Curve to begin the regular season, the Pirates quickly promoted Palacios to Triple-A. With Indianapolis, Palacios immediately impressed. In 27 games through May 7, Palacios carried a .434/.500/.734 slash. He was in the midst of a 12-game hitting streak when the Pirates selected his contract two days later.
Palacios had two separate stints with the Pirates in the majors last season. The first came from May 9-July 17. After he was briefly optioned back down to Indianapolis, he returned to Pittsburgh at the end of July and remained on the active roster through the end of the regular season.
Statistically, Palacios wrapped up his 2023 season with the Pirates with a .239 batting average to go along with a .692 OPS. He slugged 10 homers, drove in 40 runs and went a perfect five-for-five in stolen base attempts across 91 games played.
Palacios’ most memorable moment from this past season came on his 28th birthday. Facing the Philadelphia Phillies, the Pirates were tied at 4-all in the 10th inning. Palacios stepped to the plate with a runner on base and delivered a two-run walk-off homer to lift the Pirates to victory.
That blast was indicative of what Palacios brought to the 2023 Pirates. He often shined brightest during big moments and brought an infections personality which was felt by everyone in the Pirates’ clubhouse.
Looking at the Pirates’ outfield mix heading into next season, Palacios has an opportunity to crack the roster as a fourth-outfield option. With that being said, the Pirates are looking to add to their outfield this offseason, and Palacios does have the flexibility to be optioned.
As it stands before any external additions, Bryan Reynolds and Jack Suwinski will take two out of the three outfield positions. Henry Davis, Ji-Hwan Bae, Canaan Smith-Njigba and Connor Joe can also spend time roaming the outfield grass when needed.
While Palacios’ results on the back of his baseball card were largely unspectacular, he did bring certain elements that aren’t so easily quantifiable. Maybe that will count for something.