LUKE MAILE, CATCHER
|Born: February 6, 1991
Drafted: 8th Round, 272nd Overall, 2012 (Rays)
How Acquired: Free Agent
College: University of Kentucky
Agent: Pro Star Management, Inc.
WTM’s PLAYER PROFILE
|Maile was drafted out of Kentucky as an offense-oriented catcher, as he showed good power in college. That power has never surfaced in the pros and he’s struggled badly at the plate since he reached AAA. For the most part, Maile had good walk and K rates in the minors, but he’s had a great deal of trouble making contact in the pros. He’s hit LHPs a little better than RHPs in the majors, but hasn’t hit well at all against either. Maile has been consistently strong at controlling the running game. He’s also regarded by scouts as a good receiver and pitch framer, but according to Baseball Savant he’s been below average at framing in four of his five major league seasons. He signed a major league free agent deal with the Pirates.
Maile had a solid debut in the New York-Penn League splitting his time evenly between catcher and first. His walk rate was good and he threw out 29% of base stealers.
Maile caught half the time in low A and also served as DH in about a third of his games. His hitting continued to be solid, although it wasn’t overly impressive for a college draftee at that level. He threw out 51% of base stealers.
The Rays moved Maile up to AA, where he was the primary catcher. His hitting was about the same as before, with a higher K rate. His CS rate was 32%. Baseball America rated him the Rays’ 23rd best prospect after the season.
In AAA, Maile fell off sharply with the bat, although he maintained good walk and K rates. Tampa Bay called him up for September and he caught in 15 games. BA rated him 27th in the Rays’ system after the season.
Maile stayed in AAA through mid-July, when the Rays called him up for the rest of the season. His hitting in AAA improved a little, but remained weak. In the majors, he hit for a little power but otherwise struggled, with terrible walk and K rates.
At the beginning of the season, Tampa Bay designated Maile for assignment and Toronto claimed him off waivers. The Jays called him up from AAA in late April and he stayed with them until he injured his knee at the beginning of July. He went through a rehab in August and returned to Toronto in September. Maile didn’t play a great deal in the majors, as he was behind Russell Martin for much of the season and Miguel Montero in the second half. He struggled badly at the plate, but threw out 35% of base stealers with the Jays.
Maile spent the season with the Jays, mainly as Martin’s backup. He had easily his best hitting season in the majors, with much-improved patience but still a very high K rate. He threw out 30% of base stealers.
Maile again spent the season with the Jays, although he missed August and half of September with an oblique injury. With Danny Jansen and former Pirate prospect Reese McGuire also available, he didn’t get much playing time. When he did play, he went back to struggling severely at the plate. He threw out 40% of base stealers. After the season, Toronto non-tendered him and the Pirates signed him to a major league contract.
The Pirates signed Maile to address their severe shortage of catching after they non-tendered Elias Diaz. It’s not clear that he’s an upgrade over Diaz, who has far more offensive upside, although Maile is a better receiver. Maile has an option left, but the Pirates added only catchers very similar to him — i.e., good-field, no-hit — on minor league deals. It’s very likely Maile will make the team as the backup catcher.
UPDATE: Shortly before the 2020 season finally got underway, Maile suffered a fractured finger. He was expected to miss the season.
|Signing Bonus: $133,200
MiLB Debut: 2012
MLB Debut: 9/1/2015
MiLB FA Eligible: N/A
MLB FA Eligible: 2022
Rule 5 Eligible: N/A
Added to 40-Man: 9/1/2015
Options Remaining: 1 (USED: 2016, 2017)
MLB Service Time: 3.099
|June 11, 2009: Drafted by the Boston Red Sox in the supplemental 43rd round, 1308th overall pick.
June 5, 2012: Drafted by the Tampa Bay Rays in the 8th round, 272nd overall pick; signed on June 8.
September 1, 2015: Contract purchased by the Tampa Bay Rays.
April 2, 2017: Designated for assignment by the Tampa Bay Rays.
April 6, 2017: Claimed off waivers from the Tampa Bay Rays by the Toronto Blue Jays.
December 2, 2019: Became a free agent.
December 16, 2019: Signed by the Pittsburgh Pirates as a free agent.