Andrew Knizner vs. Tres Barrera
I wrote about this spring showdown between catchers in a separate article, as manager Oliver Marmol and several pitchers have reportedly complimented Tres Barrera’s work behind the plate. Andrew Knizner came into spring as the incumbent backup catcher who looked to have little competition, as the Cardinals seem to have soured on Ivan Herrera and likely plan to start him at Triple-A.
The Cardinals signed Barrera in January, and he appeared to be a prime candidate to provide minor league depth. But Barrera’s success behind the plate combined with Knizner’s massive struggles in the box this spring could thrust Barrera into the major league backup job or at least give Knizner a short leash.
So far, Knizner has managed a paltry .111 average in 36 at-bats over Spring Training, and with the team fully aware of Knizner’s underwhelming major league career so far, even for a backup catcher, the Cardinals might want to give Barrera a longer look. Gone are the days of iron man Yadier Molina, so the team will have to tread unfamiliar ground in playing the backup catcher more often.
I’m still betting on Knizner making the roster over Barrera given the fact that the latter has played in only nine games so far, but he could still accrue substantial time if Knizner can’t find his stroke.