Defensive-minded catcher Chris Okey gets one last chance to make the Reds roster

Cincinnati Reds catcher Chris Okey (68) catches a foul ball.
Cincinnati Reds catcher Chris Okey (68) catches a foul ball. / Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

It's been a long road for Chris Okey. The former University of Clemson backstop was taken by the Cincinnati Reds in the second-round of the 2016 MLB Draft. Okey was one of six Cincinnati minor leaguers to receive an invite to spring training, and this may be the 27-year-old's last shot to make the Reds roster.

Tyler Stephenson is firmly entrenched as the Reds starting catcher. However, David Bell will need to find someone to fill in for last year's rookie when he needs a day off. Okey will be in a battle for one of the final roster spots.

Chris Okey will get one more chance to make the Reds roster.

The Cincinnati Reds had high hopes for Chris Okey. Taken with the 43rd overall pick in 2016, Okey put up solid numbers for the Clemson Tigers from 2014-2016. Okey hit .301/.392/.504 while cracking 31 round trippers during his time in South Carolina.

The numbers while playing at Clemson were solid, and Okey was viewed, by some scouts, as a the best all-around cacher in the 2016 draft class. Unfortunately, that potential at the platte didn't translate once Okey made the leap to professional baseball.

Okey's bat has regressed, and his future as a major leaguer is in doubt. However, the departure of Tucker Barnhart opens the door for Chris Okey. He will have to bring his A-game though, as Cincinnati has a lot of backstops on the roster who'll be vying to be Stephenson's backup.

Okey is now viewed as a defense-first catcher, but that's a very common trait among the other backstops on the Cincinnati Reds roster. The front office brought in Aramis Garcia and Andrew Knapp this offseason; both signed minor league deals with invites to spring training. Mark Kolozsvary is also on the Cincinnati 40-man roster, and had a breakout showing in the Olympics last year.

The only one of that bunch who stands out is Knapp, as the former Philadelphia Phillies catcher is a switch-hitter. That bodes well for his candidacy, as Bell will likely be looking for a left-handed hitting backup catcher to offset his right-handed hitting starter.

Next. Looking at the Reds short-term and long-term RF options. dark

Still, the fact that Okey received an invite to spring training shows that the Reds are not yet ready to give up on him. In that same draft, Cincinnati selected Nick Senzel with the second-overall pick. So far, that draft looks like a disaster.