Laurila: Q&A with Tucker Barnhart on catching

From SABR member David Laurila at FanGraphs on August 15, 2017:

Tucker Barnhart has quietly emerged as one of the better backstops in baseball. He leads MLB catchers in Defensive Runs Saved (14) and fielding percentage (.999), and he’s thrown out 22 of 50 runners attempting to steal. He’s coming around with the bat, as well. The switch-hitter is slashing a solid .271/.340/.398. Lauded for his leadership, Barnhart is becoming an increasingly vital part of the Cincinnati Reds’ rebuild.

A 10th-round pick in 2009 out of an Indiana high school, the glove-first Brownsburg native doggedly worked his way up through the Reds minor-league system. And while he’s still learning in his third full big-league season, he’s also a mentor. Of the 25 pitchers to toe the rubber for Cincinnati this season, 13 are rookies, and a baker’s dozen are younger than his 26 years.

Barnhart discussed his formative years at the position, and his hard-nosed-yet-thoughtful approach, a few weeks ago.

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Originally published: August 15, 2017. Last Updated: August 15, 2017.