The first day of the Cincinnati Reds team preview saw us cover the pitching staff. Since then, the Reds made a deal sending Dan Straily to the Marlins for 3 prospects and completely shaking up the landscape of the staff.
With all of these talented arms, they’re gonna have to be able to throw to someone. Let’s take a look at the catching situation for the Cincinnati Reds.
The official depth chart has the catchers listed Tucker Barnhart, Devin Mesoraco, and Stuart Turner respectively. Turner, the least known of the 3, is a former 3rd round pick in the 2013 draft from the Minnesota Twins. Turner has yet to crack the big leagues and is a career .241 minor league hitter.
Mesoraco suffered another hip injury last season, sidelining him yet again after just 16 games. He’s played in total 39 games since his all star campaign in 2014. That same all star season, in only 110 games, the Punxsutawney Pennsylvania native had an impressive .273 batting average to go with 25 hometuns and 80 RBI. Proving that he was the catcher for the future and ultimately earning himself a 4 year/28million dollar deal. Injuries have since doomed him and many believe if he plans to continue his career, a position change will need to be conducted.
Tucker Barnhart was a pleasant surprise in 2016. Plucked as a defensive specialist, the 5’11 switch hitting catcher hit .257, drilled 7 homeruns and 51 RBI’s in 115 games. He proved he can possibly be an everyday backstop and undoubtedly a reliable backup. Hard to believe he would win the starting job over a healthy Mesoraco but it is old news that 2 quality catchers are needed on every roster. He is here to stay.
Other catching news
- The Reds carry 2 catchers inside their top 30 prospect list, 2015 first round pick Tyler Stephenson, and 2016 second round pick Chris Okey.
- Stephenson is a youngster, only 20 years old. That’s why all Reds fans should relax when they take a look at his numbers. Nothing jumps off of the page just yet, but many scouts have him eventually being a solid everyday catcher. Stephenson is a big guy and has the ability to hit to all fields. His ETA to the bigs looks to be around 2019.
- Chris Okey is at #13 on the prospect list, and has more pop than the #11 Stephenson. Okey was drafted out of Clemson and should give him a bit of an edge when it comes to development. The Reds believe he can develop 4 average tools and many see him not hitting for a great average but relying more on his pop. His ETA is also 2019.
- The Reds have been rumored to sign a veteran catcher this offseason incase one of the two big league catchers aren’t ready to go or face injury before opening day. Quality free agent catchers are still out there including Matt Wieters, and a few ex Reds like Brayan Pena, Dioner Navarro, and Ryan Hanigan.
I’d say Mesoraco playing a full season is bold right? Sure. Fine then. Devin Mesoraco plays 100+ games and hits 20+ homeruns. Stays in the .260-.265 range.
Next segment I will cover 1B and what to look forward to from that position in 2017.