Tyler Heineman was signed to a minor league deal with the St. Louis Cardinals. The catcher made quite the impression in Tuesday’s game.
Heineman entered Tuesday’s game to run for Yadier Molina after he walked in the fourth inning. He stayed in the game and went behind the plate. Jon Berti got on base for the Marlins, taking a walk.
Moments later, Heineman caught Berti stealing with a throw to Max Moroff.
In the sixth, Luis Marte singled to right field. Nasim Nunez struck out. Heineman then threw a laser to Jose Rondon to tag Marte out stealing.
Heineman got on base taking a walk in the top of the seventh. Delvin Perez replaced him on the base path.
Not a bad first spring outing for Heineman. While he is projected to be one of the catching corp for Triple-A Memphis, Heineman certainly made a case to be considered a backup to Molina with St. Louis. Andrew Knizner has been projected to finally get that back-up role to Molina, but it may not be a sure thing when you consider Heineman’s abilities.
While Knizner may struggle behind the plate at times with the defensive side of catching duties, you can see Heineman is a legit option to back up Molina. It was great to see another catcher with the Cardinals have the ability to nab runners attempting to steal on him. Granted it was Heineman’s first spring training game with the Cardinals, and there was a lot of good luck involved. Heineman has played a similar role for the San Fransisco Giants and Marlins.
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Knizner still seems to have some issues with wild pitches and passed balls. That can lead to frustration and Molina not feeling comfortable enough to take a needed day off.
One thing is for certain, Heineman’s ability to throw out players trying to run on him was fun to see. It would be amazing to have a backup just as flashy behind the plate as Molina. Heineman’s potential is certainly fun to watch.
Throw in Ali Sanchez and the back-up catching competition could get very heated in the coming days.
Watching Heineman continue to progress and see where it will take him this season is something I am looking forward to seeing play out this summer.