STEVE BARON, CATCHER
|Born: December 7, 1990
Drafted: Supplemental 1st Round, 33rd Overall, 2009 (Mariners)
How Acquired: Minor League Free Agent
High School: John A. Ferguson School (Miami, FL)
Agent: Magnus Sports
WTM’s PLAYER PROFILE
|Seattle drafted Baron in the supplemental first round on the basis of strong defensive skills. He’s shown that throughout his time in the minors, including caught-stealing rates that have generally been above 40%. His bat has been a different matter. He struggled severely for much of his career, with terrible walk and K rates. He started taking more pitches when he got to AA and at least put up some respectable on-base percentages. He made the transition to organizational catcher with the Mariners and got one brief callup. He spent 2018 with the Cardinals and again got a brief callup. The Pirates signed him to a minor league contract for 2019.
Baron struggled at the plate in his debut, although the assignment to the Appalachian League was challenging compared to going to the Arizona League. Baron hit very little and had major problems with strikeouts. He did throw out 54% of base stealers. Baseball America rated him Seattle’s 25th best prospect after the season.
The Mariners sent Baron initially to low class A, but he was overmatched there and they moved him down once the short season leagues started play. He didn’t hit there, either, striking out in nearly a third of his at-bats on the entire season. He threw out 46% of base stealers overall.
The Mariners sent Baron back to low A and his struggles at the plate continued. They nevertheless promoted him to high A at the end of June, but he got hurt and missed most of the rest of the year. The strong defense continued, as he threw out 44% on the season.
Baron returned to low A, where his hitting improved a little, including a bit more power and a drastically reduced K rate. He threw out 48% of base stealers. Baron again missed most of the final two months due to injury.
Baron spent the season at High Desert in the California League, where even the best hitting environment on the planet couldn’t help him. The strong defense continued, with a 41% CS%.
Baron returned to High Desert, where he played only semi-regularly. His hitting improved a little, but the team had an .814 OPS, so his .667 figure wasn’t good. He got a July promotion to AA, where he also played only semi-regularly.
Seattle sent Baron back to AA, then promoted him to AAA after two months. His hitting improved, in the form of a much higher walk rate in AA and just better hitting in AAA. The Mariners called him up to the majors in September after Mike Zunino got hurt and he appeared in four games.
Baron spent the season in AA, except for one AAA game in which he didn’t get a plate appearance. His hitting remained better than it was earlier in his career, with a far higher walk rate. After the season, Seattle released him and he re-signed with them on a minor league deal.
Baron spent much of the season in AAA before getting sent down to AA in August. He played about half the time. After the season, he became a free agent and signed with St. Louis.
Baron spent most of the season as a backup in AAA. The Cardinals called him up briefly in May when Carson Kelly got hurt and he got into two games. He became a free agent again after the season.
Baron had his standard season at Indianapolis, playing well defensively and having a terrible time at the plate. The Pirates called him up for September to provide a third catcher. He ended up getting a little playing time when Elias Diaz when out with an injury and then got hurt himself in the next-to-last game of the season.
The Pirates outrighted Baron to AAA after the season. He’ll likely become a free agent.
|2019: Major league minimum
|Signing Bonus: $980,000
MiLB Debut: 2009
MLB Debut: 9/9/2015
MiLB FA Eligible: N/A
MLB FA Eligible: 2025
Rule 5 Eligible: N/A
Added to 40-Man: 9/8/2015
Options Remaining: 2 (USED: 2016)
MLB Service Time: 0.047
|June 9, 2009: Drafted by the Seattle Mariners in the supplemental 1st round, 33rd overall pick; signed on July 8.
September 8, 2015: Contract purchased by the Seattle Mariners.
November 2, 2016: Designated for assignment by the Seattle Mariners; released on November 9.
November 18, 2016: Signed by the Seattle Mariners as a minor league free agent.
November 6, 2017: Became a free agent.
December 22, 2017: Signed by the St. Louis Cardinals as a minor league free agent.
May 17, 2018: Called up by the St. Louis Cardinals.
June 5, 2018: Designated for assignment by the St. Louis Cardinals; outrighted to AAA on June 7.
November 2, 2018: Became a free agent.
December 18, 2018: Signed by the Pittsburgh Pirates as a minor league free agent.
September 3, 2019: Called up by the Pittsburgh Pirates.
October 25, 2019: Outrighted to AAA by the Pittsburgh Pirates.