5. Tucker Barnhart (2014-present)
Tucker Barnhart comes in at No. 5 on our list. Now, while some may feel that Barnhart doesn’t belong on this list, it may turn out to be that No. 5 is too low. So, part of putting Barnhart this high is based on his potential.
Tucker Barnhart committed to play for Georgia Tech out of high school. Several teams passed on Barnhart during the 2009 MLB Draft, assuming he’d play college baseball for the Yellow Jackets. The Cincinnati Reds took a flyer on Barnhart after he fell to the 10th round, and have been handsomely rewarded for their gamble of their Gold Glove catcher.
Tucker was on the Opening Day roster to start the 2014 season due to Devin Mesoraco being on the disabled list. Barnhart played only 21 games that season, however, as Mesoraco and Bryan Pena took most of the catching duties that season.
Mesoraco continued to be a frequent member of the disabled list and that benefited Barnhart greatly, as he was able to showcase his abilities to the Reds front office. Barnhart signed a 4-year contract extension after his 2017 Gold Glove season with the club.
Barnhart appears to be a big piece of the Reds’ rebuild going forward and has become a fan favorite during his time in the Queen City. He led all NL catchers with a 44% caught-stealing percentage during the 2017 season.