By Jay Blue
Blue Jays from Away
Now that the season is over, the crew at Blue Jays from Away will take a look at the Blue Jays one by one and review how each player’s season went, whether he met expectations (or not) and look at how he fits into (what we think of) the Blue Jays’ plans going forward.
The Blue Jays started the 2017 season with Jarrod Saltalamacchia as their backup catcher. The Jays picked up catcher Luke Maile on waivers from the Tampa Bay Rays just after the start of the season and stashed him in triple-A Buffalo. When Saltalamacchia struck out more often than, well, pretty much anything and wasn't getting great reviews for his defence, the Blue Jays brought up defensive specialist Maile from Buffalo where he was hitting .195/.214/.195 (so yeah, we hope they brought him up for his defence).
From the end of April until the beginning of July, I'd be comfortable saying that Maile played more than some people might like. He played in 33 games and hit .121/.154/.202 with a pair of doubles and a pair of home runs in 104 plate appearances.
Right knee inflammation put him on the DL and he returned in August, playing a week in Dunedin and then another week in Buffalo before rosters expanded and he was called back up to Toronto. In the final month of the season, Maile was definitely better with the bat, hitting .226/.250/.323 with three doubles in 32 plate appearances.
Overall, Maile's numbers at the plate aren't great with a .146/.176/.231 slash line and he walked in only 2.2% of his plate appearances while striking out in 25.7%. He was so bad at the plate that his wRC+ (weighted runs created plus, with 100 being a league average creation of runs) was 0. Yup. 0. That's unbelievably bad. Fortunately, Maile is good defensively. Pitchers seem to like throwing to him and he threw out 35% of potential base stealers (well above the league average of 27%).
Maile is still on the Blue Jays' 40-man roster and is in line to back up Russell Martin yet again. Even though minor leaguers Danny Jansen and Reese McGuire are close to the majors, the Blue Jays haven't signed a plethora of high-minor league catchers to fill the gaps in the system leading me to believe that both Jansen and McGuire will get playing time in Buffalo and that Maile is currently slated to be the back up catcher in the majors. That said, I think that Maile will not be asked to play an everyday role in case of an injury to Martin. Having Jansen and McGuire playing (mostly) every day Triple-A will allow the Jays to call one of them up to play every day in the majors with Maile remaining in a backup role.
Maile is not eligible for arbitration likely until 2020.
2017 Regular Season Grades
Jay Blue: D
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The 2017 Toronto Blue Jays Minor League Handbook is now available! Visit the Handbook page for more information!