Blue Jays’ Luke Maile showing strides in Russell Martin’s absence

May 13, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays relief pitcher Roberto Osuna (54) celebrates the win with Toronto Blue Jays catcher Luke Maile (22) at the end of the ninth inning during a game against the Seattle Mariners at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
May 13, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays relief pitcher Roberto Osuna (54) celebrates the win with Toronto Blue Jays catcher Luke Maile (22) at the end of the ninth inning during a game against the Seattle Mariners at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports /
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With Russell Martin on the DL, Luke Maile’s presence behind home plate has been a big spark for the Toronto Blue Jays in the past week.

Luke Maile has 10 starts under his belt as a member of the Toronto Blue Jays. He’s made impressive plays in the absence of Russell Martin.

After the Blue Jays parted ways with Jarrod Saltalamacchia, the Kentucky native was called up to the majors at the end of April after a brief stint with the Buffalo Bisons.

Maile, much like Martin, is making a habit of throwing out runners trying to steal second base.  The 26-year old credits working on his throwing accuracy and it’s paying off so far. Maile has his right foot planted down quickly then gets the ball out to throw as fast as possible.

Maile is a solid defensive player. He threw a cannon to Ryan Goins in the Blue Jays 7-2 victory over the Seattle Mariners on May 13, then he did it again the very next day.

Even manager John Gibbons, who was a former major league catcher himself, was impressed by his efforts for throwing out speedy runners. Maile’s solid defensive plays like the one above is a significant improvement over Saltalamacchia- even though Maile has produced less in the batter’s box.

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Salty’s brief stay in Toronto had him appear in 10 games with a slash line of .040/.077/.040/.117 with 16 strikeouts. In the sabermetrics department, Salty had a K% of 61.5% and a BB% of 3.8%. Maile, on the other hand, is hitting just .032/.118/.032/.150 with one stolen base and five strikeouts. His K% is14.7% and his BB% is 5.9%. Both players each have a hit to their name this season.

The numbers from the slash line are somewhat similar but Maile’s sabermetrics stats is much more noticeable. He is showing some patience in the batter’s box. Their weight runs created (wRC+) is a major difference.

Maile’s wRC+ is -62 whereas Salty’s wRC+ was -82 which is a 20 point differential overall. Don’t let Maile’s numbers bother you since he is still trying to find his groove when he bats, it’s just a matter of time and patience. Maile has an understanding of how difficult it is to produce offensively when you only start once-or-twice a week.

Salty had the chance to learn the preferences of the Blue Jays pitchers during spring training while Maile did not since he was with the  Tampa Bay Rays.

In fact, Martin is a fan of Maile’s defensive plays. Most of the time both catchers sit in the dugout and discuss the different pitches and batters he faces. He’s been listening to the pitchers as much as he can, even with the help from Martin.

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It’s safe to say that Maile has found himself a new role after he was in the mix for a starting job with the Rays. They added Jesus Sucre and Derek Norris during the offseason to fill the void for the injured Wilson Ramos. Maile was shown the door before the Blue Jays claimed on off waivers.

Much like the bats and the bullpen, Maile is quietly contributing to the Blue Jays recent surge.

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