Cincinnati Reds: Curt Casali is one of the best additions to this year’s team

CINCINNATI, OH - AUGUST 19: Gorkys Hernandez #7 of the San Francisco Giants scores a run ahead of the throw to Curt Casali #38 of the Cincinnati Reds in the seventh inning at Great American Ball Park on August 19, 2018 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Reds won 11-4. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - AUGUST 19: Gorkys Hernandez #7 of the San Francisco Giants scores a run ahead of the throw to Curt Casali #38 of the Cincinnati Reds in the seventh inning at Great American Ball Park on August 19, 2018 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Reds won 11-4. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /
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Back in May, the Cincinnati Reds traded for catcher Curt Casali. The addition of Casali was one of the best moves the Reds made this season.

Most Cincinnati Reds fans had no idea who Curt Casali was when he was traded to the Redlegs on May 31st. He was basically a career backup catcher since being drafted in 2011. He’d bounced around several different minor league teams, and was likely to be no more than a temporary replacement for the recently traded Devin Mesoraco. Little did anyone know, but Casali has put together a solid campaign this season and has been one of the best additions to the Reds roster in 2018.

The Reds acquired Casali in exchange for cash from the Tampa Bay Rays. After being drafted by the Detroit Tigers in the 10th round of the 2011 MLB Draft, Casali was traded to the Rays in 2013. He spent four partial seasons at the big league level with the Rays, slashing only .199/.285/.385 in 161 games.

Fast forward to this season with the Reds, and in his 30 games played, 18 of them starts, Casali is slashing .333/.422/.526. He has 3 home runs and 11 RBIs on the season. In his first start with the Reds this season on June 2nd, Casali went 2-for-3 with a home run.

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Curt Casali isn’t just the primary catcher for a particular pitcher either. He’s caught Matt Harvey, Tyler Mahle, Anthony DeSclafani, and just yesterday was behind the plate during the gem thrown by Luis Castillo. The Reds are 12-6 when Casali is hanging the signs.

Yesterday afternoon, with fellow catcher Tucker Barnhart manning first base, Casali went 3-for-4 with 2 RBIs and 2 runs scored. Over his last 7 games, Casali is slashing .444/.500/.667, has 1 home run and 4 RBIs.

Casali is arbitration eligible after this season but is under team control through 2021. One of the Reds’ top prospects, Tyler Stephenson, is currently at Class-A Advanced Daytona and has been battling injuries since becoming part of the Cincinnati Reds organization.

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With Barnhart firmly entrenched as the starting catcher for the Reds, don’t expect Casali to displace the Gold Glover, who’s signed through 2021 with an option for the 2022 season. However, it’s nice to know that when Tucker needs a day off, Casali is there to step in.