The Cincinnati Reds have seen some great catchers through the years. Obviously, there's Hall of Famer Johnny Bench, but recently the Reds have been anchored behind the plate by players like Devin Mesoraco, Tucker Barnhart, and Tyler Stephenson.
Cade Hunter is hoping to join the likes of those terrific backstops in the near future. Hunter was the Reds fifth-round draft pick in the 2022 MLB Draft and is currently playing at High-A Dayton after spending the first-half of the season with the Daytona Tortugas.
A New Jersey native, Hunter played college at Virginia Tech. Hunter had his mind made up after his first visit to the university and said Hokies' head coach John Szefc's mantra of "Build it in Blacksburg" reminded him an awful lot of his favorite basketball team, the Philadelphia 76ers, who coined the term "Trust the Process".
Poised Reds prospect Cade Hunter catching success in first minor league season.
The coronavirus pandemic cut Cade Hunter's first year short at Virginia Tech, and a hamate injury in 2021 limited the former Hokies' catcher to just 18 games. But some swing adjustments that summer while playing in the Cape Cod League allowed Hunter to tap into his potential in the batters' box.
Hunter hit .330/.440/.637 with 17 home runs and 66 RBI during his third season at Virginia Tech. That performance propelled Hunter up draft boards last summer and saw the Reds grab him with the 153rd-overall pick.
Since being drafted, Cincinnati has used Hunter both behind the plate and in the outfield. A catcher throughout his prep and college career, Hunter was given the chance to showcase his skills as an outfielder during instructs and has played over 30 games in left field this season in the minor leagues.
Cade Hunter is that rare left-handed hitting catcher that scouts absolutely love. The 22-year-old has plenty of pop pull-side, but said that he tries to focus on hitting the ball the other way as well.
Hunter has spent some time with longtime minor league catcher Corky Miller in the past and has plans to work with the grizzled veteran later this fall. While Hunter has spent time on the outfield grass this season, the majority of his starts have come behind the dish.
When asked about which pitcher he's worked with this season has some of the best stuff, Cade Hunter didn't hesitate, "I've got to give a shout out to my guy, Zachary Maxwell."
Maxwell, who's currently playing alongside Hunter at High-A Dayton, has an elite fastball that sits in the high-90s and can hit triple digits. Maxwell is striking out nearly 15 batters per nine innings this season and has allowed just one home run 33 games out of the bullpen.
Cade Hunter, who's good friends with fellow catcher and 2022 draftee Logan Tanner, is looking to climb the ladder through the Cincinnati Reds farm system in the coming years. With more seasoning in the minors, look for Hunter to be a prospect on the rise next season.