Andrew Knizner hasn’t ‘officially’ been declared the back-up catcher for the St. Louis Cardinals, but as manager Mike Shildt said, ‘you can read between the lines.’
Knizner is hitting .280 this spring and has 25 spring training at-bats. The Cardinals starter, Yadier Molina, has 28 and the other two catcher vying for a roster spot have 10 a piece. So yeah, read between the lines. Andrew Knizner is all but locked into a roster spot and the backup catching role.
Yadier Molina, the long-time Cardinals backstop is almost a sure-fire hall of famer. The guy is about to play his 17th MLB season, all with St. Louis. He sports a .293 career average and is one of the best defensive catchers that’s ever played. But he’s 38 years old, and for a catcher that plays almost every day, that’s almost unheard of.
That is why St. Louis is grooming their next back stop. Former NC State star, Andrew Knizner.
“It’s good he’s getting the multiple looks,” Shildt said. “He’s creating familiarity with them. He’s done more than his share to get his opportunity to go play. We know Yadi (Molina) is our guy, but he (Knizner) has been a good teammate over the last couple of years. He’s been patient, taking advantage of his time and he deserves to get his opportunity when it’s appropriate, and he has taken advantage of it.” (St. Louis Post Dispatch)
Knizner was the #6 rated Cardinals prospect coming into the 2020 season after being drafted in the 7th round in 2016.
Over his career at NC State he hit .312 and hit 15 HRs, but the real reason everyone loves his bat so much is that he’s an elite contact guy who will take a walk and rarely strikes out. On top of that, he’s profiling to be an above-average defensive catcher.
Keep an eye out for Knizner this season as he gets his chance to prove he’s the St. Louis Cardinals’ catcher of the future.