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Reds Prospects

Don't anoint Reds catcher Mark Kolozsvary as Tyler Stephenson's backup just yet

Team United States catcher Mark Kolozsvary (8) gestures to the field.
Team United States catcher Mark Kolozsvary (8) gestures to the field. / Yukihito Taguchi-USA TODAY Sports
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With Tucker Barnhart off to the Motor City, the Cincinnati Reds are in need of a backup catcher for next year's starter Tyler Stephenson. Don't be so quick to anoint catching prospect Mark Kolozsvary, who showcased his talents for Team USA in the Olympics last summer.

Kolozsvary is one of the Reds top prospects, coming in at No. 26 according to MLB Pipeline. At 26 years old, Kolozsvary is one of the oldest prospects in the Cincinnati farm system. Kolozsvary was a seventh-round draft choice of the Reds in 2017 after backing up Mike Rivera and JJ Schwarz at the University of Florida.

Don't anoint Mark Kolozsvary as the Reds backup catcher just yet.

Mark Kolozsvary, like so many before him, is a defense-first catcher. That's not a bad things. In fact, catcher is one of the few positions in Major League Baseball where managers will still ignore a poor performance at the plate so long as you take care of business behind it.

Kolozsvary played just 59 games in the minors last season, due mostly to the fact that he was representing his country as a proud member of the Team USA baseball squad that took home the silver medal in last year's Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan.

During the Olympic qualifier, Mark Kolozsvary shined, hitting .417/.588/.1.000 in four games. Kolozsvary started every game behind the plate for Team USA and scored five runs on five hits, two of which were home run. In the Olympic Games, Kolozsvary started all six games, but hit just .190.

Kolozsvary will become a fan favorite very quickly, as the 5-foot-8 backstop will remind many folks throughout Reds Country of former catcher Tucker Barnhart. Kolozsvary is a gritty gamer who works well with his pitching staff and isn't afraid to do the dirty work.

Still, Kolozsvary spent just 19 games at Triple-A last season. While his experience in the Olympics will undoubtedly help in his development, Kolozsvary still needs a bit more seasoning before he's relied upon on a regular basis.

Who else could back up Reds catcher Tyler Stephenson?

The Cincinnati Reds have already signed Andrew Knapp and Aramis Garcia to minor league deals, and it shouldn't surprise anyone if the team adds another catcher to the roster before the team descends on Goodyear.

Gone are Tucker Barnhart and Curt Casali; Cincinnati's reliable catching duo for the better part of two-plus seasons. While Reds fans are excited about seeing Tyler Stephenson don the tools of ignorance on a regular basis, the team will certainly need an experienced catcher on the bench.

Next. Could the Reds and Nats work out a trade for Mike Moustakas?. dark

My gut says that Knapp, because he's a switch hitter, will have the inside track once spring training begins. But Garcia's calling card has long since been his offense, despite his career-OPS of just .629. Mark Kolozsvary will certainly be given a chance to earn the role of Stephenson's backup, but he's far from guaranteed to have the job.

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