This minor league deal could have a major impact for the Reds in 2022

Former Philadelphia Phillies catcher Andrew Knapp (5) is now part of the Cincinnati Reds organization.
Former Philadelphia Phillies catcher Andrew Knapp (5) is now part of the Cincinnati Reds organization. / Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports
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Just before the MLB lockout, the Cincinnati Reds made five under-the-radar signings.

Pitchers Brandon Bailey and Trey Wingenter and outfielders Allen Cordoba and Trey Amburgey signed minor league deals with invitations to spring training.

The Reds signed Andrew Knapp to a minor league deal.

The most interesting signing, however, was the minor league deal catcher Andrew Knapp inked.

The former second-round pick put up the worst numbers of his career in 2021, but in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, Knapp posted an OPS of .849 in 33 games.

Knapp was once a top 10 prospect in the Philadelphia Phillies organization, and actually made his MLB debut against the Cincinnati Reds in 2017.

Knapp was the first backstop taken in the 2013 MLB Draft, but Tommy John surgery during his first season as a professional slowed the California native's development.

Despite a career-OPS of just .636, Andrew Knapp is more highly regarded for his offense than his defense.

During his five seasons in the big leagues, Knapp has gunned down just 19% of would-be base stealers.

Per FanGraphs, Knapp isn't the best at framing pitches, and the 30-year-old has -30 defensive runs saved.

Longtime Reds' catcher Tucker Barnhart, who's now with the Detroit Tigers, has has 20 DRS during his career.

An interesting note when looking at Barnhart's stats, however, is that his pitch framing numbers did not improve until David Bell arrived along with catching coach J.R. House.

Perhaps House will be able to work with Knapp to improve his pitch framing this spring.

The Reds need a backup catcher for Tyler Stephenson.

Andrew Knapp is an intriguing addition to the Cincinnati Reds as the team is on the hunt for a backup to starting catcher Tyler Stephenson.

The one plus that Knapp offers is the ability to swing the bat from the left side.

Knapp is a switch hitter who fairs much better versus right-handed pitchers (.219/.320/.341) than he does against southpaws (.196/.292/.258).

The Reds recently signed Aramís García and also have Mark Kolozsvary on the 40-man roster as well.

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Andrew Knapp brings major league experience and a left-handed bat; two things that will surely catch David Bell's eye once spring training begins.