The Pittsburgh Pirates have agreed to re-sign defensive specalist Tyler Heineman to a minor league contract.
The Pittsburgh Pirates have come to terms with backstop Tyler Heineman on a minor league deal. While the deal is non-guaranteed, Heineman has a decent shot of making the Opening Day roster as the backup catcher, assuming the Pirates sign a better backstop. Jason Mackey broke the news:
Heineman was acquired by the Bucs last May when they claimed him off waivers from the Toronto Blue Jays. Between his short stint with the Blue Jays and time with the Bucs, Heineman was a .217/.276/.268 batter. Heineman only walked 4.6% of the time but had an outstanding 9.8% strikeout rate, which is about the only silver lining when it came to his offense. Overall, Heineman had a .248 wOBA and 57 wRC+.
While Heineman didn’t provide any value with the bat, he was extremely valuable behind the plate. He only caught 436.1 innings but racked up +5 defensive runs saved and +4.8 framing runs. Heineman was well above average at preventing stolen bases as well, with a 31% caught-stealing rate. He doesn’t have the strongest arm but was in the top 71st percentile of catcher pop-time. On top of that, he only allowed four passed balls. On average, he allowed a passed ball every 109 innings.
Heineman is definitely a better option to have on the roster than either Michael Perez or Andrew Knapp, like the Pirates had last year. Sure, Heineman might not provide a whole lot more value than either Knapp or Perez when it comes to batting, but his defense could be invaluable to a young pitching staff. It should definitely boost the confidence of the young arms when they’re pitching to a guy who can steal them an extra strike, block a pitch in the dirt, or call a decent game.