Pirates Claim Outfielder, Designate Nik Turley

The Pirates have claimed outfielder Troy Stokes, Jr., off waivers from Detroit.  To clear roster space, they’ve designated left-handed reliever Nik Turley for assignment.

Stokes, who’ll turn 25 in three weeks, was Milwaukee’s fourth round pick out of high school in 2014.  He advanced very gradually through the minors and has not played in the majors.  A right-handed hitter, he’s shown some power and draws walks, but strikes out a lot and doesn’t hit for average.  His line in six year in the minors is 250/351/411, all of it for the Brewers.  The Tigers picked him up on waivers in September 2019.  Stokes has shown some power, hitting 20 longballs in 2017, mostly in the Carolina League, and 19 in 2018 in the Southern League.  He struggled in the Pacific Coast League in 2019, batting 233/341/385 in a year in which the league hit 277/354/477.  He’s shown some speed, stealing 129 bases in 159 tries.  The Brewers played him mostly in left, where defense has been his strong point; he won a minor league Gold Glove in 2018.  He only made the Brewers’ top 30 list in 2019, when he ranked 15th in a bottom-feeding system.  He fractured a hamate in August 2020 and spent the shortened season on the injured list.

Depending on further moves, Stokes has a good chance of making the Pirates out of spring training as an outfielder.  The Pirates have only four outfielders on the 40-man roster and Jared Oliva almost certainly needs time in AAA.  Hopefully, the team has figured out that its practice of playing middle infielders in the outfield has been a disaster.

The Pirates first acquired Turley off waivers in November 2017.  He missed all of 2018 and 2019 due to a combination of a PED suspension and Tommy John surgery.  He did borderline decently, considering the layoff, in the pandemic season, posting a 4.98 ERA and 5.60 xFIP.  Turley has no options left and can elect free agency.

UPDATE:  Stokes has two options left.