MLB Playoffs: Three most unlikely Reds players to be postseason heroes

MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA - SEPTEMBER 25: The Cincinnati Reds congratulate teammate Mike Moustakas #9 on a two-run home run. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA - SEPTEMBER 25: The Cincinnati Reds congratulate teammate Mike Moustakas #9 on a two-run home run. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images) /
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Tucker Barnhart #16 of the Cincinnati Reds throws.
MINNEAPOLIS, MN – SEPTEMBER 25: Tucker Barnhart #16 of the Cincinnati Reds throws. (Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images) /

1. Tucker Barnhart, Reds catcher

Of all the players on this year’s Cincinnati Reds team, no one deserves this moment more than Tucker Barnhart. Along with Joey Votto and, perhaps, Raisel Iglesias, no one on this team has had to endure losing like Barnhart. The Reds catcher made his big league debut in April of 2014. This season represents the first winning-season of Barnhart’s major league career.

Now, I’ll be the first one to tell you that Tucker Barnhart should not be in the starting lineup versus Braves lefty Max Fried, but he’s likely to play in Game 1. Barnhart and Curt Casali have platooned behind the plate all season, and I don’t expect that to change once the MLB Playoffs begin.

However, with a right-hander going in Game 2 for the Braves, and Game 3, if necessary, expect Tucker to be hanging the signs for Luis Castillo and maybe even Sonny Gray. Barnhart’s defense is what sets him apart from Casali. While Casali is enjoying tremendous success offensively, Barnhart has once again shown the level of defense behind the plate that earned him a Gold Glove.

Tucker Barnhart has gunned down 36.3% of would-be base stealers this season and has allowed just two passed balls. That’s pretty impressive when you’re on the receiving end of Trevor Bauer and Sonny Gray break balls.

The Cincinnati Reds don’t need Barnhart to be spectacular, but they do need him to be steady. Barnhart also has some pop in his bat from the left-side of the plate. Barnhart has more than doubled his highest barrel-percentage (2018) according to Baseball Savant, meaning that the Reds catcher is putting a better swing on balls this season than he ever has.