Pittsburgh Pirates: Projecting the Team’s Bench

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PITTSBURGH, PA – JULY 07: Luke Maile #14 and Jacob Stallings #58 of the Pittsburgh Pirates walk in from the bullpen during summer workouts at PNC Park on July 7, 2020 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images)
PITTSBURGH, PA – JULY 07: Luke Maile #14 and Jacob Stallings #58 of the Pittsburgh Pirates walk in from the bullpen during summer workouts at PNC Park on July 7, 2020 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Justin Berl/Getty Images) /

Catcher Luke Maile

Catcher Luke Maile is another newcomer to the Pittsburgh Pirates. While minor league free agent signing John Ryan Murphy is pushing Maile to be the back up to Jacob Stallings, Maile still appears to be the front runner to get the nod.

As the new Pirate regime puts emphasis on defense behind the plate, Maile finds this mold. Despite a porous .198/.252/.304 slash line in his career, he does own a 2+ fWAR season while in Toronto, this is due to his defense.

Maile has a lifetime +21 DRS behind the dish. His pop time to second base was above league average in 2019 ranking in the 55th percentile among all catchers in baseball. He also rates out as a plus pitch framing, owning a 9.7 FrmaingRuns in his MLB career. Essentially, this means Maile has saved his teams nearly 10 runs that otherwise would have been scored without his framing ability.

While you always like to have some pop off the bench, when it comes to a team’s back up catcher defense always outweighs the offense. Just as it does with a team’s starting catcher. That is why Maile will likely get the nod as the back up to Stallings.

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