With the big league club already in question (read: status of Yadier Molina), it is easy to assume that Brayan Pena will be St. Louis’ starting catcher. The question with St. Louis then is who will follow as his backup.
The organization has the likes of Eric Fryer, Mike Ohlman, and Carson Kelly in the wings. So the first question is, who will NOT be in Memphis to address the need for a starting backup to Pena should Molina start on the disabled list (worst case scenario)?
Let’s start by assuming that Molina does start on the DL. My projection then for STL is that Pena’s backup will be Eric Fryer. Having established that, I can now look at Memphis.
Mike Ohlman- Starter
With Fryer starting in STL, I believe the best option for Memphis’ starter behind the plate will be Ohlman. Now, I’ve gushed enough already about my opinions of Ohlman and how excited I am to watch him grow this season. Something that I haven’t yet mentioned will be his impact upon his backup…
Carson Kelly- Backup
2016 will be a very, very important year for Kelly. He must use this season at Memphis to grow and learn more about the position as he is clearly the organization’s best choice for the future behind the plate. Kelly could well be the heir to Molina and it will serve him well to learn from Ohlman.
Do I think this limits Ohlman? No way. Do I think Kelly hits the ceiling or moves to STL this season? Maybe but I’m less inclined to those feelings. In short, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Fryer, Ohlman, and Kelly shuttle back and forth between Memphis and St. Louis this season to get each of them exposed to the majors.