It was an interesting situation that brought catcher Carter Bins to the Pittsburgh Pirates. When Ben Cherington went to trade Tyler Anderson, a deal was originally made to send the lefty to the Philadelphia Phillies, but it fell through.
They eventually sent Anderson to Seattle, which netted the Pirates Bins.
Known more for his defensive work, Bins has struggled at the plate since joining the Pirates but also took a slight step back behind the plate in 2022.
Bins entered this past season with a caught stealing rate of 24%, but struggled to throw out base runners between his stops at Altoona and Indianapolis — catching people at just a 13% rate.
He did a better job of controlling pitches in front of him, with a better passed ball rate in 2022 compared to the rest of his career, so he didn’t fall off completely defensively.
Bins looked like he could potentially develop more on the offensive side of things, as the catcher put up some impressive numbers in High-A back in 2021, before getting promoted to Double-A. He’s always had a high strikeout rate wherever he has gone, but up until this past season had also come with a really good walk rate (17.1% heading into 2022).
The strikeouts skyrocketed in 2022 (36.7%), but his walk rate was cut by more than half (8.8%). Part of the issue was trying to swing for the fences too much, as he finished with a career high 11 home runs last season, and for the first time since his stop at High-A finished with a slugging percentage over .400 during his time in Indianapolis.
Bins was a part of the mass adding of depth at the catcher position by Ben Cherington. The fact he was sent to Indianapolis over Blake Sabol, who in turn continued to get a chunk of playing time behind the plate, probably shows just how far he has fallen in the organizational depth chart.
The catcher picture is a little clouded at the moment at the top of the system, with just Ali Sanchez and Endy Rodriguez on the 40-man roster currently. If he trends back towards his career average mark of throwing out base runners, he has some value as a backup — especially seeing how many catchers the Pirates went through last season.
When it comes to the minor leagues though, Bins is going to be competing for playing time at one of the deepest positions in the Pirates system. The 2023 season is going to be a big year for Bins to either step up into his place within the organization or start to showcase himself for other teams as a trade option.
Highlight of the Day
Pirates Prospects Daily
By Tim Williams
**In my column today, I looked at what kind of lasting impact adding a veteran like Carlos Santana could have on a young team like the Pirates. An unfortunate editing mistake in this article might have led to a tear in the fabric of space/time. That would be unfortunate timing, to say the least.
**Wilbur Miller took an early guess at the top prospects at each affiliate next season. That Indianapolis roster looks like the 2023 season could be fun to watch, especially in the second half.
**The Pirates designated Lewin Diaz for assignment. I hope that they are able to keep him. I know that he’s limited right now in playing time, due to the presence of Carlos Santana and Ji-Man Choi. I do think that he has some breakout potential at the plate, and it wouldn’t take much offense for him to become a positive value guy. My guess is another team takes a flier on him.
**Blake Sabol is the latest Pirates prospect to be added to Baseball America’s list of the top available Rule 5 picks. Sabol joins Malcom Nunez and Matt Gorski, who were both mentioned yesterday.
**Diego Castillo returned to the lineup and homered twice. John Dreker has the latest updates from winter ball.
**Missed yesterday? Anthony looked at whether the Pirates may have a “type” of pitcher they are targeting.
Song of the Day
Pirates Prospects Weekly
Wednesday is our opinion day. This week, Wilbur Miller and I had columns looking at the impact of the Carlos Santana addition, and the early look at the top prospects for next year’s minor league teams.
Our latest Roundtable hits the site at noon on Thursday.