Miguel Montero enters Saturday’s game against the Pirates batting .289 with a .354 wOBA in 94 plate appearances. The backup catcher’s turnaround is a welcomed sight after a weak 2016 in which he only sported a .299 wOBA.
Maddon seems to be maximizing Montero’s value by inserting the catcher into the lineup against particularly weak pitching. According to Baseball Prospectus’s oppRPA+ — the amount of runs a pitcher gives up compared to league average, scaled to 100 — Montero’s plate appearances have come against the fourth-worst group of pitchers. Indeed, pitchers who have faced Montero this year have given 13 percent more runs than average.