TYLER HEINEMAN, CATCHER
|Born: June 19, 1991
Drafted: 8th Round, 249th Overall, 2012 (Astros)
How Acquired: Waiver claim (from Blue Jays)
Agent: Beverly Hills Sports Council
WTM’s PLAYER PROFILE
|Heineman was a regular only in his junior year at UCLA, but had a big season and went to Houston in round 8 of the draft. He’s a switch hitter who has a good eye and generally puts the ball in play, but he has little power. Behind the plate he’s around average and he’s good at controlling the running game. He’s thrown out 35% in the majors and 37% in the minors. The Pirates claimed Heineman off waivers from Toronto.
Heineman had a big debut in the New York-Penn League, leading the league in batting average, with great plate discipline. He also threw out 41% of base stealers. Baseball America ranked him 30th among Astros’ prospects.
Houston jumped Heineman up to the California League and he had a good year, although you have to take the high-offense environment into account. He threw out 42% of base stealers.
In AA, Heineman’s hitting tailed off sharply, especially his power. The plate discipline remained good. His CS% was 46%.
The Astros sent Heineman back to AA to start the season, then when his hitting improved they promoted him in May. He hit just passably in the high-offense Pacific Coast League.
Heineman spent the full season in AAA, catching about half his team’s games. His hitting again was just decent.
Just before the season Houston traded Heineman to Milwaukee for future considerations. He again spent the season in AAA, where he split time behind the plate three ways. His hitting was about the same, taking the location (Colorado Springs) into account; he was below the team’s average in all the slash stats.
Heineman spent most of the season in AA, still showing a very good eye but not hitting the ball with a lot of authority. After the season he became a free agent and signed a minor league deal with Arizona.
The Diamondbacks sent Heineman to AAA and he started hitting far better than ever before, including good power. In early June, the D’backs traded him to Miami and he continued hammering the pitching in AAA. The Marlins called him up in early September and he made his major league debut, but they removed him from the roster after the season and he became a free agent. Heineman signed as a minor league free agent with the Giants.
During the pandemic year, San Francisco sent Heineman to their alternate training facility and then called him up at the beginning of the season. He got into 15 games with the Giants. They removed him from the roster after the season and signed a minor league deal with St. Louis.
Heineman went to AAA, then the Cards released him July. He quickly caught on with the Phillies and spent the rest of the season with their AAA affiliate. He got limited playing time at both locations. He became a free agent again after the season and signed a minor league deal with Toronto.
Heineman got into two games with the Jays’ AAA affiliate, then got called up. He saw limited playing time with Toronto. In mid-May, the Jays put Heineman on waivers and the Pirates claimed him. He initially replaced Andrew Knapp and shared the catching job with Michael Perez. Eventually, he shared the job for much of the second half with Jason Delay. Heineman was strong defensively, throwing out 32% of base stealers and doing very well at framing. His hitting, obviously, was terrible.
The Pirates have identified improving at catcher as one of their top priorities; whether they’ll actually try to improve at the position remains to be seen. Heineman and Delay are basically the same guy — very good defense and no offense at all — which makes them suitable as depth guys, not as major league regulars or backups. Under Ben Cherington, though, the Pirates have been happy to tolerate absolutely any level of offensive ineptitude.
|2022: Major league minimum
|Signing Bonus: $125,000
MiLB Debut: 2012
MLB Debut: 9/4/2019
MiLB FA Eligible: N/A
MLB FA Eligible: 2028
Rule 5 Eligible: N/A
Added to 40-Man: 9/3/2019
Options Remaining: 2 (USED: 2020)
MLB Service Time: 1.127
|June 5, 2012: Drafted by the Houston Astros in the 8th round, 249th overall pick; signed on June 22.
March 26, 2017: Traded by the Houston Astros to the Milwaukee Brewers for future considerations.
November 2, 2018: Became a free agent.
November 12, 2018: Signed as a minor league free agent by the Arizona Diamondbacks.
June 4, 2019: Traded by the Arizona Diamondbacks to the Miami Marlins for cash considerations.
September 3, 2019: Contract purchased by the Miami Marlins.
October 16, 2019: Outrighted to AAA by the Miami Marlins.
October 31, 2019: Became a free agent.
January 6, 2020: Signed as a minor league free agent by the San Francisco Giants.
July 23, 2020: Called up by the San Francisco Giants.
November 1, 2020: Outrighted to AAA by the San Francisco Giants; became a free agent on November 2.
November 14, 2020: Signed as a minor league free agent by the St. Louis Cardinals.
July 1, 2021: Released by the St. Louis Cardinals.
July 3, 2021: Signed as a minor league free agent by the Philadelphia Phillies.
November 8, 2021: Became a free agent.
March 13, 2022: Signed as a minor league free agent by the Toronto Blue Jays.
April 11, 2022: Called up by the Toronto Blue Jays.
May 16, 2022: Claimed off waivers from the Toronto Blue Jays by the Pittsburgh Pirates.