Andrew Knizner was a consistent producer at NC State. For his career, he hit over .300 and showed a patient approach at the plate. Couple that with the fact that he was versatile in the field and you can see why the St. Louis Cardinals selected him in the 2016 MLB draft.
Fast forward a few couple years and not much has changed for Knizner. He’s still hitting over .300, his approach is still solid and he’s showing he can play multiple positions in the field. The only difference is that he’s now doing that in the high level of the Cardinal farm system.
As you recall, Knizner was promoted to AAA in late May. He then followed with an invitation to the MLB Futures Game during All-Star weekend. Now, the question is, when will he get the call to the big show?
A target date to watch for is September 1st. This is when MLB rosters will expand from the normal 25-man roster to the full 40-man roster.
Now usually, if a guy is not on the 40-man roster, then it’s unlikely you’d see him get the call in September (and Knizner is not on the Cardinal’s 40-man.) However, the Cardinals are only 6.5 games out of first place in their division and just 4 games out of the Wild Card. This means they will likely be in the middle of a playoff push in September. That also means that they’ll need to make sure they have enough depth for that run.
Most teams carry at least 3 catchers when rosters expand, but looking at St. Louis’ 40-man, they would only be carrying their starter Yadier Molina, and backup Francisco Pena.
What we’re getting at is that if the Cardinals can keep pace in their playoff race, then when rosters expand, there is an increasingly good chance that they designate someone for assignment and add Andrew Knizner to the roster, both because his numbers dictate it and because they need an emergency backstop.
The kid has hit over .300 in AA and now after a few weeks in AAA, he’s hitting .314. He’s also being touted as a quality defensive catcher and is even starting to show a little more pop. The Cardinals are looking for a protege to bring up while their future Hall of Fame catcher, Yadier Molina is still around to tutor him. All of this may go into motion a lot sooner than thought, but it’s deserved and very much earned by the former Wolfpacker.
Six of NC State’s Eight Draft Picks Have Signed With MLB Teams
Obviously Junior Shortstop Will Wilson and Senior 1st Basemen Evan Edwards signed their Major League Baseball contracts after being taken in the 2019 Draft.
Wilson was drafted 15th overall by the Angels, and couldn’t turn that down, and Edwards was out of eligibility at the collegiate level, signing with the Marlins after being drafted in the 4th round.
In total, NC State’s Baseball team produced 7 draft picks this summer, which tied for the 9th most in College Baseball.
Outside of Wilson and Edwards, 4 Junior NC State Pitchers also signed their Major League contracts.
Jason Parker (Reds) and Andrew Blake (Angels) signed on June 11th, Alec Barger (Atlanta Braves) signed on June 17th, and Michael Bienlien (Detroit Tigers) signed on June 23rd.
Redshirt Freshman Outfileder Thayer Thomas (Round 33/Red Sox) and Sophomore Left Handed Pitcher Evan Justice (Round 39/ Marlins) are the only two Wolfpack players drafted that didn’t signed a contract. The deadline was July 12th.
NC State Produced the 9th Most Draft Picks in 2019
The 2019 College Baseball season is over, but let’s take a moment to highlight the fact that NC State produced the 9th most picks in the 2019 MLB Draft this year. The 8 Wolfpack Draftees ties for 2nd all-time in school history (2017 & 2006), just one shy of the 9 selected in 2009.
JR SS Will Wilson – 1st Round/15th Overall – Nationals
SR 1B Evan Edwards – 4th Round – Marlins
JR RHP Jason Parker – 16th Round – Reds
JR RHP Alex Barger – 17th Round – Braves
JR RHP Andrew Blake – 21st Round – Angels
JR RHP Michael Bienlien – 24th Round – Tigers
FR OF Thayer Thomas – 33rd Round – Red Sox
NC State Signee Blake Walston Signs Contract with D-Backs
2019 NC State Signee Blake Walston (6’4″/172) was drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks with the 26th overall pick tonight in the 1st round back on June 3rd.
There was some speculation on whether or not he would sign with the D-Backs, because he wouldn’t come cheap.
Many scouts believe that in three years, he could be one of the top picks in the draft.
We need to speculate no longer.
Walston will bypass college baseball at NC State, and begin his professional baseball career.
Walston’s signing bonus will net him $2.45 million of guaranteed money.
NC State’s Will Wilson Named Consensus All-American
RALEIGH – Junior shortstop Will Wilson of the NC State baseball team became the program’s first consensus All-American since 2012 after earning honors from DI Baseball and the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) over the weekend.
Additionally, he earned second team honors on the College Baseball Foundation’s inaugural All-America list.
The Kings Mountain, N.C., native owns 11 All-America mentions in his career, the second-most in Wolfpack history behind Carlos Rodon. Rodon was the last consensus All-American prior to Wilson and earned 12 in his career.
Wilson was recently drafted by the Los Angeles Angels as the No. 15 overall pick and is currently with the Orem Owlz, the rookie affiliate for the Angels in Orem, Utah.
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