SJU's Deon Stafford turning heads in Pirates organization

Matt Leon
June 15, 2018 - 12:40 pm
Saint Joseph's University's Deon Stafford Jr. played with the West Virginia Power this season, which has earned him a spot in the South Atlantic League All Star Game.

Ron Black

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Deon Stafford, Jr. was one of the most dangerous hitters to come through Saint Joseph's University in recent memory. 

His college success led to the Pittsburgh Pirates drafting him in the fifth round last year. This year, the catcher has spent the entire season with the West Virginia Power, the Pittsburgh Single-A squad in the South Atlantic League.

"It's been a great honor to be drafted by the Pirates, giving me a chance," Stafford said. "Just having a lot of fun here, every day getting better."

Stafford has had a fine season for the Power. In 47 games, he is batting .288 with five home runs and 27 runs batted in. He recently had a stretch where he had multiple hits in six of seven games. 

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The offensive numbers are impressive, but Stafford said he is focusing a lot these days on the other part of the game.

"The catching part of it," he added. "Being a catcher, there is so much more that goes into it that a lot of people do not understand. Defense is definitely the most important thing to being a catcher [because] you affect the team in many aspects. So definitely working behind the plate to get better and perfect the craft."

Stafford's play this season has turned heads as he has earned a spot in the June 19 South Atlantic League All-Star Game. Accolades like that are nothing new for Stafford as he piled them up during his time at St. Joseph's. He said his college years were critical in getting him where he is today.

"[St. Joseph's head coach Fritz Hamburg] did an amazing job preparing me for this level of baseball," Stafford said. "It was an honor to be with him. He definitely helped me mature as a player and as a person. His advice — I mean, I can reach out to him whenever I feel [the need] to and he will be more than happy to help me out. My time on Hawk Hill was awesome and it definitely prepared me."

Stafford and the Power open a home series with Delmarva Friday night.

You can follow Matt on Twitter @Mattleon1060.