Since this is the mid-season write-up, it's just a quick overview of the player. When we get to the preseason re ranking in the offseason, they'll be a lot more involved.
All stats are current as of 8/4/2019.
All write-ups were published during all-star week.
Prospect #2: Catcher Andrew Knizner
Memphis Redbirds/St. Louis Cardinals
Drafted in the 7th round of the 2016 draft
I feel like I've been writing about Knizner for forever. What I know for sure is, I was wrong to put some other prospects ahead of him on the preseason D35. I also know that I love the strides he's made behind the plate in 2018. He still gets a little stabby and sideways while trying to frame the outside pitch, especially to lefties, and maybe even a little more-so on pitches down in the zone, but every start it gets better and better.
And here I go bitching about the organization again....
I love that Knizner was added to the 40-man and brought to the big leagues while Yadier Molina was on the DL. I love that he got a start right away. What I didn't like is that he only played twice over a ten game period with the big club. Then, upon being sent to the minors, Kiz only played eight of the teams next thirteen games. I don't think it's a great idea to have your star catching prospect only play ten out of a possible twenty-three games. As a matter of fact, it seems counter-productive. Knizner is back with the big league club with Yadi back on the DL. It'd be stupid to use him as sparingly as the Cardinals used him the first time around.
When Knizner does play and is getting the majority of the reps at catcher, he's an impressive baseball player. He doesn't strikeout a lot, and he walks plenty. He has a great swing that is short and direct, and he gets terrific plate coverage with it. He uses his quick and compact swing to drive the ball to the gaps, especially the right-center field gap. He never tries to do too much with the ball and, aside from those elite heaters up in the zone that basically no one can hit, Kiz doesn't appear to have a "cold zone", per se.
In the past, I've asked to see more power for Knizner. That's because I believe that there's more power to be drawn from both his swing and his body. The 2019 season has been a positive step towards that. He's out-pacing his doubles total, and he's hitting more home runs, all without compromising his approach. Also of note, Kiz is hitting some absolute BOMBS at Memphis, not just the balls the sneak over the wall. It all appears to be coming together for this young man. I don't have the slightest idea what the future holds for the Cardinals catching situation moving forward. Yadier Molina has expressed that he wants to play beyond his current contract, and that he expects to play his normal-majority if/when he is playing beyond that contract. What I do know is, Andrew Knizner will be able to handle whatever role that is thrust upon him. He has the brain and baseball IQ for it. He has the skill and the talent for it. Now, you just hope that we get to see it in a Cardinals uniform and not the uniform of, oh, say, the Arizona Diamondbacks as Yadi runs rough-shot on the catching position...
It's been nice to see Andrew Knizner and Matt Wieters split time at catcher while Yadier Molina is on the IL. When Yadi comes back in the coming days, Knizner will certainly find his way back to Memphis. II believe that Kiz has built a solid foundation in the majors, and I'm anxious to see how the Cardinals handle the catching situation moving forward now that it's clear that they're better off using Yadi less frequently.
Thanks to Fangraph for the stats!
Thanks For Reading!!