Cincinnati Reds Prospect Profile: C Tucker Barnhart


Next up on our list of the Cincinnati Reds‘ top prospects is catcher Tucker Barnhart.

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Name: Tucker Barnhart

Age: 24

Position: C

Acquired: 10th-round pick in 2009 amateur draft

Highest Level: Cincinnati Reds

2014 Statistics (minors): 1 HR, 29 RBI, .246 BA, .319 OBP, .316 SLG


Unlike many of the players in our prospect rundown for the Reds, Tucker Barnhart has already “arrived” in the sense that he made it to the Major Leagues and found his way into 21 games in 2014.  In fact, Barnhart began last season on the Riverfront when Devin Mesoraco was injured, but it was clear that the Reds had Mesoraco penciled in as their starter.  As soon as the (more) veteran was ready to go, Barnhart’s paltry offensive showing had him on his way back down to Triple-A Louisville.  A few trips up and down left Barnhart with 60 Big League plate appearances, over which he batted .185 with just one home run and one RBI.

Back on the farm, Barnhart started slowly but heated up at the plate a bit after the All-Star break and finished with a .246 batting average over 292 Triple-A plate appearances.

As always, Barnhart’s calling card is his game-calling and defense behind the plate, where he fielded at a .992 clip and threw out 35% of would-be base stealers. That figure actually represented a step down in his gunning prowess, as his minor league mark stands at 41%, with a high of 51% in 2010 at Billings.  With the Reds last summer, Barnhart threw out eight of 12 runners attempting to steal, for a whopping 67% caught-stealing rate.

Given his age and offensive challenges, and especially Mesoraco’s emergence as a legitimate star in 2014, Barnhart seems destined to be a defensive backup in the Majors, and he may stick with the Reds in that capacity this Spring.  Mesoraco has proved to be fairly fragile, so Barhart could see decent playing time in the short term.

Long-term, the Reds have other catching prospects in the pipeline, so Barnhart might find it hard to stick in Cincinnati over several seasons.  On the bright side, he has already displayed the early markings of a future manager: strong defensive catcher, weak hitting, good signal caller.

Riverfront ETA: 2015

Next: Cincinnati Reds Prospect Profile: 3B Seth Mejias-Brean

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