Most pitchers will tell you that having an experienced catcher behind the plate will greatly improve their performance on the mound. The Cincinnati Reds now have a former World Series champion receiving pitches down at Triple-A Louisville.
Sandy León, who was part of the World Champion Boston Red Sox in 2018, signed a minor league deal with the Reds and will head to Triple-A Louisville. Leon will join Chris Okey, Chuckie Robinson, and Joe Deluca.
León was cut loose by the Cleveland Guardians earlier this spring after being told that he would not make the team's Opening Day roster. While León failed to get a hit during spring training, it's his defensive ability that has always been the 33-year-old's calling card in the majors.
Catcher Sandy León signed a minor league deal with the Reds.
After trading Tucker Barnhart to the Detroit Tigers shortly after the 2021 season ended, it was obvious that the Cincinnati Reds were ready to plow ahead with Tyler Stephenson as the team's everyday catcher.
Reds manager David Bell essentially had an open competition during spring training in Goodyear to see who would be Stephenson's backup in 2022. Aramís García won the competition going away as his offensive explosion during Cactus League play left the likes of Andrew Knapp and Mark Kolozsvary in the dust.
But, while the Reds allow Kolozsvary to get more experience at Double-A Chattanooga this season, it became imperative for the for the Reds to find an experienced backstop to be standing by at Triple-A Louisville in case Stephenson or García sustained injury.
The three catchers currently on the Louisville Bats' roster are little more than emergency catchers. Okey, a former second-round pick, might be the best of the bunch, but he's little more than defensive-minded catcher who can fill in for a game or two. None of the three catchers have even a game of major league experience between them.
Sandy León will add some catching depth to the Cincinnati Reds organization, but perhaps more than that, the veteran backstop can bring some wisdom to the club's young group of pitchers; specifically Graham Ashcraft.
The Reds do not a great deal of talented pitching prospects at Triple-A right now, but Ashcraft would certainly qualify as one. In two games this season, the right-hander has a 1.08 ERA and nine punch outs in 8.1 innings of work.
A handful of other hurlers (Randy Wynne, Kyle Zimmer, Joel Kuhnel, and Daniel Duarte) will benefit from having a seasoned catcher hanging the signs behind the plate as well. This is a fantastic signing that may have a ripple-effect beyond just the depth it provides for the Cincinnati Reds organization.