Now, this last pick is honestly more of a vanity pick than anything, but something that I believe needs to happen for the sake of his development. No matter how you slice it, Andrew Knizner needs to see some MLB playing time this year. If the Cardinals have any plans to keep him on the team and not trade him, the 24-year-old needs to be around Yadi more than just in the Spring.
Knizner was drafted a round after Tommy Edman in 2016 (7th round) and is another third baseman converted to catcher. While he has gotten a lot better behind the plate given that he has only been there for four years, he still has some work to do blocking pitches and framing.
Where Knizner’s strength does lie is in his bat. He may never hit more than 20 homers, but he will be a solid bet to put up a lot of doubles due to his gap-to-gap power. So far this year, AAA has not been a huge challenge for Knizner evidenced by his .322 batting average and .857 OPS. While Knizner may never win a gold glove, he has the chance to be an above average bat at the catcher position, or could hold his own should he move a corner position.
The biggest problem here is that Yadier Molina is going to be here for another two years and Knizner is already 24. In a similar position that Carson Kelly was in before he was traded-ready for the Majors but without a spot.
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The decision now is whether the Cardinals plan to have Knizner in their three-year plan or not. There are other catchers throughout the Minors that have potential, but if they want Knizner to replace Yadi, the two of them need to spend as much time together as they can and Knizner needs to start facing some better competition than he is now.
While the Yadier Molina/Matt Wieters duo is the best duo the Cardinals have had at catcher in the last 10+ years, they need to find a time to bring Knizner into the equation and get him some at-bats. As bad as it would be, the easiest way to find time is in the event of an injury, but at the very least he needs to be up in September.
These three players are not superstars, but they are three players who have enough talent and have worked hard enough to put themselves in the spot where they can contribute to the MLB and possibly carve themselves a solid career. Knizner, Woodford and Edman all should get at least some MLB playing time for the first time in their careers in 2019 and just maybe one of them can harness the good old Cardinal devil magic.