Tucker Barnhart was a 10th round selection of the Reds in the 2009 draft out of Brownsburg HS in Brownsburg, Indiana. Interestingly enough, he will play a game up with the Reds before he will with the Louisville Bats. Topping out at double-A Pensacola last season, Barnhart played just shy of 100 games as the Blue Wahoos main backstop for the 2013 campaign.
Known as a defensive-minded backstop, Barnhart has never been mistaken for the offensive version of Johnny Bench in the box. Just a tick under six feet tall, batting from both sides of the plate, Barnhart has shown an adeptness at willing to walk. Like most catchers, his plate discipline has been widely improved from being behind the plate for the entirety of the game.
With Tucker tweeting that he was off to Cincinnati, one can only assume this means Devin Mesoraco will be heading to the disabled list due to a strained oblique. Brayan Pena, who was acquired in the offseason via free agency from the Detroit Tigers, will be the number one catcher in the meantime. As much as the future has seemingly been invested in Mesoraco, it can never hurt to have a surplus of catchers in a system with experience.
Nick Christiani was the Reds 13th round selection in that very same 2009 draft out of Vanderbilt University. Unlike his potential batter mate, Christiani has been a mainstay with the Louisville Bats for the past three seasons. He has been the prototypical “steady” reliever, not posting numbers that demand his immediate promotion up to the show, but enough progress that the club has kept him around.
He made his big league debut last August against the Milwaukee Brewers before pitching in two additional games subsequent to that. Coming into Spring Training, he was considered a longshot to make the Opening Day roster should the health of the back-end of the bullpen been restored. Fortunately, for Christiani, he posted a 1.64 ERA in 11 innings of work, making himself a valuable asset with his durable arm.
News of Christiani’s promotion came via his girlfriend over Twitter earlier this afternoon. Like Barnhart, this will be the first time Christiani is appearing on an April roster.
Both men’s stays may not be overly long, but don’t rain on their parade as both long-time minor leaguers have finally made an Opening Day roster.