This is one in a series of stories looking at members of the Pittsburgh Pirates’ 40-man roster.
Out of all of the DFAs and roster moves, the one constant that has stayed for the Pirates has been left-fielder Ryan Vilade. For the most part, Vilade has been a forgettable name, but he has survived for one reason or another.
In a room that is stacked with outfielders right now (eight), the Pirates and Ben Cherington have got to have some sort of plan for Vilade.
Maybe it’s another insurance plan, or maybe it’s the fact Vilade offers a right-handed bat, or just maybe it’s Cherington and company thinking they can fix the former second-round pick.
Nonetheless, the Grapevine, Texas native was claimed by the Pirates on Nov. 9 from the Colorado Rockies.
Vilade has had just six major league at-bats in 2021 and has yet to register a hit.
Signing for $1.4 million in 2017 after the Rockies drafted him, Vilade got to work in rookie ball.
Vilade participated in 33 games (146 plate appearances) and slashed .308/.438/.496 with an OPS of .934. Vilade also struck out 21.2% of the time while also drawing walks at a good clip with 18.5%.
Up until ’21, Vilade seemed to stay on a consistent trend, with 2019 being his best year in that span.
In ’19, Vilade carried a wRC+ of 128 and a slash line of .303/.367/.466 with 71 RBIs (career high). After ’19, Vilade didn’t get past an 87 wRC+.
In June of 2022, Vilade suffered an undisclosed injury in Triple-A but managed to get 430 plate appearances at that level.
The Texas native couldn’t get things going pre or post-injury in ’22, and as a result, he managed to have his worst season to date.
Vilade had a wRC+ of 80 with a slash line of .249/.345/.352 with a career-low OPS of .697.
According to FanGraphs, Vilade still has two minor league options left, so unless he manages to wow the staff, I’d imagine he starts in Triple-A Indianapolis.
The Vilade acquisition will certainly not get the Pittsburgh Pirates to the world series, but it’s also not a detriment to the franchise.
Vilade is most likely a Triple-A filler that can be used in an emergency situation when needed.