The Cincinnati Reds signed Luke Maile to a one-year deal this past offseason. After the 2022 season saw Tyler Stephenson battle injuries, the Reds needed consistent play behind the plate. Maile has exceeded expectations and is having a career-year with his hometown Reds.
Maile, along with Stephenson and Curt Casali, have all seen time behind the dish this season. Lately, however, with Joey Votto now back from injury and Christian Encarnacion-Strand added to the roster, Stephenson has received the majority of starts.
But even in a limited role, Maile continues to produce. Does the Covington Catholic graduate have long-term future in Cincinnati?
Reds catcher Luke Maile will be more than one-and-done.
Luke Maile, a career .210 hitter, is batting .232 with four home runs and 13 RBIs this season. The Cincinnati Reds catcher has been a force against left-handed pitching, slashing .303/.324/.606.
Maile was the Reds first offseason signing last winter, but the club also inked Curt Casali to a one-year deal with a team-option for 2024. However, Maile has outplayed Casali this season and has shown to be solid both at the plate and behind it.
Defensively, Maile has always shined. According to Baseball Savant, Maile's pop time (the time in which is takes a catcher to throw the ball to second base) is 1.94 seconds. That ranks him in the 66th percentile among all big league backstops.
Tyler Stephenson is the only catcher on the Cincinnati Reds 40-man roster who'll assuredly be back in 2024. Taking a look at the Reds farm system, there aren't many backstops who'd be ready to contribute next season.
According to MLB Pipeline, the Reds have three catchers among their Top 30 prospects. Neither Logan Tanner (No. 15) nor Alfredo Duno (No. 20) are ready for The Show, while Daniel Vellojin has an OPS below .700 while playing at Double-A Chattanooga.
After a 2022 season, in which the Reds used seven different catchers, having consistent play behind the plate has been a welcomed addition to this year's ball club.
As the Cincinnati Reds look to contend in 2024, catching is an important piece needed for their young starting rotation. The Reds should absolutely bring back Luke Maile in 2024.