Cincinnati Reds: Projecting Triple-A Louisville Bats’ starting lineup

Scenes from the Louisville Bats opening night at Louisville Slugger Stadium.
Scenes from the Louisville Bats opening night at Louisville Slugger Stadium. /
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Cincinnati Reds catcher Chris Okey (68) catches a foul ball.
Feb 24, 2019; Tempe, AZ, USA; Cincinnati Reds catcher Chris Okey (68) catches a foul ball. Mandatory Credit: Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports /

Louisville Bats starting catcher (1)

Chris Okey (C)

The Cincinnati Reds have only two catchers listed in their Top 30 prospects according to MLB Pipeline; Tyler Stephenson and Jackson Miller. Stephenson will begin the season with the big league squad and likely platoon with two-time Gold Glove winner Tucker Barnhart. The Reds brass are hoping Stephenson can add some pop to the Cincinnati lineup.

Miller, who’s an incredibly athletic ballplayer, is very raw. The 19-year-old was taken with the 65th overall pick in last year’s MLB Draft. Miller is a high school catcher, and after seeing long path that Stephenson took to be major league-ready, it’s fair to expect a similar ascent from Miller.

So, that leaves Chris Okey as the likely starter for the Louisville Bats this season. Okey was a second-round pick of the Reds back in 2016 and is known more for his defense than his bat. Okey has an above-average arm, but injuries and a .201 career batting average in the minor leagues have not done him any favors.

Okey was thought to be one of the top catching prospects in this draft class, and that possibility still exists. However, Okey will have to hang his hat on defense and find a way to become at least an average hitter if he ever hopes to break into the major leagues.

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Deivy Grullón is another name to keep an eye on. One of the top international signings in 2012, Grullón possesses a plus, plus-arm and raw power at the plate. Grullón has just 12 major league at-bats to his name and if he remains on the 40-man roster, he has the potential to start for the Louisville Bats behind the plate on May 4th.