Catcher Aramís García got off to nice start on Saturday night versus his former team. García, a non-roster invitee to Cincinnati Reds spring training, clubbed two home runs against the Oakland Athletics, and in doing so has a leg up on the competition to be Tyler Stephenson's backup in 2022.
The Reds traded catcher Tucker Barnhart to the Detroit Tigers after the 2021 season concluded. The absence of Cincinnati's longtime backstop has opened the door for several players to be the team's No. 2 catcher during the upcoming season.
Aramís García mashed two home runs for the Reds on Saturday night.
Aramís García is a former second-round pick of the San Francisco Giants. García was viewed as a bat-first catcher when he was selected with the 52nd overall pick in the 2014 MLB Draft, but the former Conference USA Player of the Year never reached his full potential.
García made his major league debut at the age of 25 in 2018. In 19 games, García had a dubious rookie season that saw him post a .492 slugging percentage and a wRC+ of 117, but the right-handed hitting catcher also had a 47.7% strikeout-rate.
García's brief appearance in the bigs during 2019 yielded much worse results, however, his stats at Triple-A Sacramento (.271/.343/.488 with 16 home runs and 55 RBIs) were solid. García was designated for assignment after the 2020 season and was actually replaced by former Reds catcher Curt Casali as the backup to eventual Hall of Famer Buster Posey.
Aramís García has a very good chance to latch on with the Cincinnati Reds this season. The only other catcher on the 40-man roster aside from starter Tyler Stephenson is Mark Kolozsvary. Though he was called up to the big leagues last season after his appearance in the Summer Olympics, Kolozsvary has yet to set foot on the field for an actual major league game.
It's far more likely that the competition to be the Reds No. 2 catcher comes down to García and former Philadelphia Phillies backstop Andrew Knapp. Neither of the two catchers has a great major league resumé, but Knapp being a switch-hitter may benefit him given. However, García slashed .318/.377/.636 in at Triple-A in 2019 versus left-handed pitchers.
One things for sure, going 2-for-4 with two home runs and five RBIs will not negatively impact Aramís García's chances of making the roster, and it puts pressure on the trio of Kolozsvary, Knapp, and Chuckie Robinson to up their game during Cactus League play.