JASON DELAY, CATCHER
Born: March 7, 1995
Height: 5’11”
Weight: 185
Bats: Right
Throws: Right
Drafted: 4th Round, 118th Overall, 2017
How Acquired: Draft
College: Vanderbilt
Agent: N/A

WTM’s PLAYER PROFILE
The Pirates drafted Delay as a senior catcher out of Vanderbilt.  Baseball America had him ranked 256th in the 2017 draft class and called him an effective pitch framer who does a great job of handling a pitching staff.  He’s also effective at blocking pitches in the dirt and his quickness behind the plate helps him control the running game.  He had his best season at the plate in 2017 with a .309/.381/.444 slash line; his numbers during his first three collegiate seasons were much weaker.  Delay has a similar profile to Jacob Stallings, as a senior catching from a major college with strong defensive skills but a dubious bat.  His selection probably had more to do with the fact that the Pirates took prep players with their first four picks and were likely to need some extra bonus pool money to sign them.  They saved some by signing Delay for $100,000, which was $350,500 below the slot amount.

2017
R+:  252/375/327, 107 AB, 5 2B, 1 HR, 13 BB, 13 K
A-:  063/118/125, 16 AB, 1 2B, 2 K

With fifth-round pick Deon Stafford at Morgantown, the Pirates sent Delay to Bristol.  He just held his own at the plate, with no power but good plate discipline.  He threw out 39% of base stealers and had only two passed balls.  The Pirates had to do some shuffling with their lower level catchers at the end of the season due to injuries and that got Delay a promotion to Morgantown, where he caught five games.

2018
A+:  247/325/301, 219 AB, 4 2B, 1 3B, 2 HR, 21 BB, 51 K, 2-2 SB

The Pirates jumped Delay up three levels to Bradenton, where he split time with Arden Pabst until Pabst moved up to Altoona.  Delay became the starter after that.  Delay had a big month of May, posting a .904 OPS, but didn’t come anywhere close to that in any other month.  After May he had only three extra base hits, and no home runs, in 144 at-bats.  He hit LHPs well in a small sample size, with an .852 OPS, but he posted only a measly .530 OPS against RHPs.  Delay threw out 38% of base stealers.

2019
AA:  234/286/398, 231 AB, 12 2B, 1 3B, 8 HR, 13 BB, 63 K, 1-1 SB

Delay shared the catching duties at Altoona with Pabst.  He had a rather odd season at the plate.  Overall, he hit for power for the first time, at the cost of fewer walks and more strikeouts.  His hitting, though, came in one stretch.  He had a huge month of May, with a 1.077 OPS.  He followed that with a .377 collapse in June; in fact, his second best month (July) was just .680.  He had significant trouble with LHPs for some reason, posting just a .508 OPS against them.  He did well against RHPs, at .755.  He showed good receiving skills and threw out 24% of base stealers.

2020
DNP

2021
AA:  117/117/150, 60 AB, 2 2B, 23 K
AAA:  265/342/500, 34 AB, 2 2B, 2 HR, 4 BB, 10 K

The Pirates didn’t assign Delay anywhere until mid-June.  He got limited playing time with both Indianapolis and Altoona, and went out for the season with an injury in early August.  He hit well for Indy, not at all for Altoona.  He threw out 19% of base stealers on the full season.

The Pirates’ previous front office had a remarkable inability to draft catchers who could hit anything.  The current regime has added a number of catchers to the system and the holdovers are gradually getting replaced.  Delay is still around, though, due to his strong defense.

UPDATE:  The Pirates called Delay up in mid-June when Duane Underwood, Jr., went on the COVID list.  Delay started the first game of a doubleheader then was immediately optioned back to AAA.  He returned, though, when Tyler Heineman went out for family reasons and stayed when Heineman returned, with Michael Perez being optioned.

CONTRACT INFORMATION
2022: Major league minimum
PLAYER INFORMATION
Signing Bonus: $100,000
MiLB Debut: 2017
MLB Debut: 6/14/2022
MiLB FA Eligible: N/A
MLB FA Eligible: 2028
Rule 5 Eligible: N/A
Added to 40-Man: 6/13/2022
Options Remaining: 3
MLB Service Time: 0.000
TRANSACTIONS
June 13, 2017: Drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 4th round, 118th overall pick; signed on June 20.
June 13, 2022: Contract purchased by the Pittsburgh Pirates.
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