Since Jared Triolo joined the Pittsburgh Pirates’ organization after he was selected in the second round of the 2019 draft, he’s established himself as one of the best defenders in the organization.
A product of the University of Houston, Triolo primarily held down third base in his minor league career and won a Gold Glove in 2021 while with the High-A Greensboro Grasshoppers.
Triolo might be the second-best defender in the organization right now. The problem is that reigning National League Gold Glove winner Ke’Bryan Hayes is the best defender in the organization, and he just so happens to play the same position as Triolo.
The soon-to-be 25-year-old was called up to the big leagues for the first time last season. While with Pittsburgh, Triolo played 35 games at his natural third base, 13 games at second and seven games at first. In addition to those three positions, he has experience in the minor leagues at shortstop and in center field.
With Hayes locked in as the starting third baseman, Triolo is preparing to bounce around the infield.
“Most offseasons, it’s primary work at third base and then touching shortstop and the other positions, but now I feel like it’s a little more focused on the other positions while still also getting third base work in too,” Triolo said at PiratesFest.
Triolo will still play third base when Hayes needs a day off and provides a nice insurance policy for the Pittsburgh Pirates if an injury arises.
Still, Triolo is a gifted defender and everything he’s done at his primary position will help him in other positions.
“That was something I kind of picked up on during the season when they would throw me into those spots,” he said. “A lot of it does translate. It’s just about anticipating where the ball’s going to be from a different viewpoint.”
While his calling card has always been his defense, Triolo opened some eyes with his performance at the plate during his time with the Pirates.
He ended his rookie campaign with a .298 batting average, a .388 on-base percentage and a 118 wRC+. In 54 total games, Triolo recorded nine doubles, three home runs, 21 RBIs and was six-for-seven in stolen base attempts.
Looking to sustain the success he showed last season has been another point of emphasis this winter.
“I think every offseason is like that, building off of how you ended the last season,” he said. “For me, I ended up pretty good. Just keeping up with that, keeping in touch with the guys who’ve helped me during the season to that point. Just building off that, finding new drills with that.”
Triolo’s performance down the stretch was a big reason as to why the Pittsburgh Pirates ended the year on the right note and finished the year with 14 more wins than they had in 2022. His contributions helped ensure the Pirates entered the offseason with some momentum.
“Guys just keep talking about how we’re going this way with it. Just seeing, as a rookie, seeing the difference between wins and losses in the locker room was big. Just knowing the feeling of winning games is a lot more fun than losing games up here. It means a lot more.”
If Triolo can prove what he did at the plate was not a fluke, he can push for more playing time. It won’t come at third base, but second base is a job still up for grabs as spring training approaches. Triolo can also pair with Rowdy Tellez in a platoon situation at first base.
Wherever his defensive reps come, expect to see a continued steady presence provided from Triolo, at the very least with his glove.