In a season where almost everything has gone wrong, Knizner has been one of the bigger bright spots of a club that is in need of good news - and yet, not very many people are talking about him.
As of August 15th, Andrew Knizner had a 104 wRC+, which tied with Danny Jansen for 18th among all catchers with at least 150 PA, and ahead of guys like Alejandro Kirk, Salvador Perez, and Gabriel Moreno. All four of those guys were names that Cardinals fans dreamed of potentially being the club's catcher in 2023. Knizner has outperformed all of them offensively.
Most catchers hit for below-league average at the plate, so having your backup catcher put up above-league-average numbers at the plate is extremely valuable. If you're a fan of more traditional stat lines, Knizner is slashing .253/.282/.473 with 9 HR and 26 RBI in just 47 games this season. To add even more context, Knizner's .755 OPS is better than any offensive season Yadier Molina had after 2016.
I am by no means trying to say Knizner has been a better player than Molina was during the last six years of his career, but he has been a much better hitter than Molina was, and that is a huge asset coming off the bench. I can't think of a single backup catcher of that quality during Molina's tenure.
There is potential that Willson Contreras catches fewer games next season, and if that is the case, Knizner's bat is more than good enough to slot into the Cardinals' lineup on a consistent basis. His rise this season also makes it easier for the Cardinals to use Ivan Herrea as a trade chip in their search for starting pitching, something they should strongly consider now. The Cardinals have a wealth of catching depth in the lower levels of their system, so they can afford to part with Herrera and roll with Contreras and Knizner for the next few years.
Knizner is loved within the Cardinals' clubhouse and is someone that the Cardinals' pitchers trust. In an offseason where so much transition is expected within the pitching staff, keeping someone like Knizner around is in the club's best interest for turning things around.