Yankees Ranks: Top Five American League East Catchers
When the most productive catcher you’ve had in franchise history is Molina brother No. 3–Jose Molina, you’re in for a bit of rough sledding. This season alone, the Rays used four different backstops, unable to find a single one that really excelled in any one category.
Though Curt Casali caught 84 games, the most of any Rays’ backstop, he hit a dreadful .186/.273/.336 with 8 HR and 26 RBI. The other downfall of Casali’s game was that he allowed 25 stolen bases in 39 attempts for a .641 SB%. Not good.
Bobby Wilson only caught 48 games, but besides, from finishing the regular season as the everyday catcher, he’s the one name most fans will remember from his days in both Los Angeles and Texas. Wilson’s .230/.272/.391 was the best of the rest, but 4 HR and 9 RBI are barely good enough for Wilson to remain with the club as a backup, let alone a starter.
The one small glimmer of hope for the Rays going forward may be 25-year-old Luke Maile. In 42 games played, Maile’s slash line was .227/.252/.361 with 3 HR and 15 RBI. Not exactly Earth shattering, but team officials say his chemistry with the pitching staff, including ace Chris Archer, is second to none.
Other members of the rotation including Alex Cobb, Jake Odorizzi, and Blake Snell have praised Maile’s determination to block balls, quietly induce strikes, and has a stronger arm than most people give him credit for.
Whether that is a ringing endorsement or not, remains to be seen. One thing is certain, though, for the Rays to contend sooner rather than later, they’ll need a guy like Maile to take the next step in the progression of his offensive game.