Knizner, who went 2-for-3 with two runs in a Grapefruit League loss to the Nationals on Friday, is 4-for-8 with a double, two RBI and four runs overall across three spring games.
Knizner finally appears to have a clear path to the primary backup role at catcher with veteran Matt Wieters, who effectively blocked him the last two seasons, no longer on the roster. Consequently, the 26-year-old's strong early start is reason for cautious optimism, especially since Knizner has a relatively extensive minor-league track record of success at the plate to support the notion he could thrive with extended opportunity. Through his first 75 major-league plate appearances over the last two seasons, Knizner has generated a .232/.280/.362 slash with five extra-base hits (three doubles, two home runs), 11 RBI, four walks, two steals and eight runs.
Knizner is preparing for the possibility of filling a variety of roles this coming season and has reported to spring training with a holistically impressive mindset, Zachary Silver of MLB.com reports. "Kiz has really done a nice job," manager Mike Shildt said. "He's off to a good start to camp, he's in a good place physically and mentally."
The 26-year-old doesn't quite know whether he'll open the season back in the minors or as Yadier Molina's backup, but he dove into film study of late-inning game situations this offseason in an attempt to be better prepared for whatever comes his way. Knizner has also stepped up his immersion into scouting reports and has already familiarized himself with the Cardinals' first two scheduled opponents of the regular season, the Reds and Marlins. There's more talk than in previous springs of Molina operating in a legitimate timeshare behind the dish as the club prepares for an eventual future that doesn't include the 38-year-old backstop, and Knizner, with his 26 games of big-league experience and familiarity with the pitching staff, seems much more prepared to step in occasionally for Molina than offseason additions Ali Sanchez and Tyler Heineman.
The Cardinals added Knizner to their 28-man roster Wednesday ahead of the team's wild-card series with the Padres, Jeff Jones of the Belleville News-Democrat reports.
Knizner is slated to serve as the Cardinals' No. 3 catcher behind Yadier Molina and Matt Wieters during the three-game series. The 25-year-old appeared in eight games during the regular season, going 4-for-16 with four RBI.
Knizner was optioned off the Cardinals' active roster Friday.
Knizner had been filling in as the backup catcher with Matt Wieters out with a bruised toe, going 4-for-16 at the plate. He'll head back to the team's alternate training site now that Wieters is ready to return.
Knizner entered Tuesday's win over the Reds on Tuesday as a pinch hitter in the top of the sixth inning and went 2-for-2 with a two-run infield single and a run.
The rarely-used catcher made the most of his playing time opportunity, extending the Cardinals' lead to 13-0 in the sixth inning with his single. Knizner has not logged any starts since Matt Wieters' went on the injured list Aug. 20 with a toe issue, and he has just 17 plate appearances on the season overall.
Knizner will be Matt Wieters' primary backup at catcher while Yadier Molina (illness) remains out of action.
Knizner did not see any action over the first five games of the season and has primarily been serving as a bullpen catcher. He'll now ascend to the job of primary backup for the time being, which should afford him some opportunities behind the dish in coming games.
Knizner was named to the Cardinals' Opening Day roster on Thursday, Anne Rogers of MLB.com reports.
The promising backstop showed enough in summer camp to finish making his case for a spot that could see him fill a few different roles. Knizner will be available off the bench, as an occasional spot starter in place of the aging top duo of Yadier Molina and Matt Wieters and as a bullpen catcher whenever needed. The Cardinals were intent on allowing Knizner to continue his development in a year without minor-league baseball, with president of baseball operations confirming that was one of the team's priorities.
Knizner has made a strong case to serve as a bat off the bench and potential third catcher during the regular season, Anne Rogers of MLB.com reports.
As part of MLB's unique 2020 format, teams will be allowed to take a three-man taxi squad on road trips, and one of those players must be a catcher. That opens up an opportunity for Knizner, who Rogers points out could also be available for home games in a pinch-hit capacity or in-game replacement and as a bullpen catcher to warm up relievers. Additionally, the advanced age of Yadier Molina and Matt Wieters, the two backstops ahead of him on the depth chart, could also help lead to the occasional spot start for Knizner, who slashed .226/.293/.377 during his first taste of big-league action last season but also put together an impressive body of work as a hitter during his six minor-league stops.
Knizner is part of the Cardinals' player pool that will report to summer camp July 1, Anne Rogers of MLB.com reports.
Knizner's presence in the player pool is of little surprise, and he's expected to be part of the expanded Opening Day roster as well. The 25-year-old projects to slot in behind veterans Yadier Molina and Matt Wieters behind the dish, and he could potentially see time at the designated hitter slot that will be available in the National League for the 2020 season.
Knizner is viewed less as the organization's catcher of the future than Ivan Herrera, Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.
Hummel answers a question from a reader about whether Knizner is a future trade chip due to the presence of Herrera by noting he believes the former can still be an important member of the Cardinals. In addition to serving as a potential backup catcher and first baseman, Knizner could be a natural to fill a designated hitter role if it's instituted in the National League beginning in the 2022 season. The 25-year-old has essentially been in a holding pattern at Triple-A Memphis for the last two seasons while Yadier Molina continues to serve as the unquestioned top catcher when healthy, although Knizner did log his first 18 games of big-league action in 2019. It's also worth noting Knizner is significantly further along his developmental journey than Herrera; therefore, depending on a variety of factors, including the likelihood of a cancelled 2020 minor-league season and expanded rosters at the big-league level this year, Knizner could still put in at least two seasons at the major-league level before Herrera is ready to make his Cardinals debut.
Knizner would be a surefire addition to the Cardinals' roster were it to be expanded to 30 players for the 2020 regular season, Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch opines.
Goold's assessment comes within a response to a reader question of which players would benefit if there were an extra four roster spots at manager Mike Shildt's disposal. Under such a scenario, Knizner would be the third catcher behind Yadier Molina and Matt Wieters on paper. However, if the minor-league season were canceled altogether, it's conceivable the Cardinals would treat Knizner as more of a "2A" option alongside Wieters in order to continue giving the projected backstop of the future semi-regular at-bats. Knizner's Grapefruit League body of work this year underscored that he could use the reps against big-league arms, as he hit just .154 (4-for-26) before spring training was suspended.
The Cardinals optioned Knizner to Triple-A Memphis on Thursday.
Knizner is viewed within the organization as the eventual successor to Yadier Molina, but the 25-year-old will head back to the farm to begin the campaign while the veteran enters the final year of his contract. With Knizner out of the running for an Opening Day job, Matt Wieters has made the club as the Cardinals' backup catcher.
Knizner was hitting .154 (4-for-26) before spring training was suspended, and while he's slated to start the season at Triple-A Memphis, he hopes his next big-league opportunity arrives promptly, Corey Miller of KSDK.com reports. "Where I'm at now, where my skills are at, I feel great about where my body is at, so physically, mentally and skills-wise, I feel really good," Knizner said. "I think the point I'm at now in my career is needing that big league experience. I need that consistent playing time in the big leagues to continue to grow and be that consistent producer."
As his Grapefruit League numbers indicate, the 25-year-old backstop was scuffling at the plate, but he remains the heir apparent to Yadier Molina. However, Molina is projected for another heavy workload this season, while Matt Wieters was re-signed on a one-year deal to be the backup for a second straight season. Knizner will thus get regular playing time in Memphis, where he has logged a combined 83 games over the last two seasons. He did get his first taste of big-league regular-season action last season, slashing .226/.293/.377 across 58 plate appearances over 18 games.
Knizner went 1-for-4 with a two-run homer in a losing effort in Game 2 of a doubleheader against the Reds on Sunday.
Knizner was recalled from Triple-A Memphis prior to the game and flashed his power with a 368-foot blast to left field the third inning. The 24-year-old is hitting just .196 in 46 at-bats with the Cardinals this season but fared much better in the minors, slashing .276/.357/.463 with 12 long balls in 66 games .
Knizner was recalled by the Cardinals on Sunday.
Knizner has made a few brief major-league appearances with the team this season but is now set to close out the campaign with the Cardinals. He's flashed his potential at the plate in August with Triple-A Memphis, hitting five home runs and two doubles in 13 games. While he may be the catcher of the future for the club, he doesn't figure to get much playing time to close the season behind both Yadier Molina and Matt Wieters.
Knizer is 6-for-8 with a double, three home runs, four RBI, a walk and five runs for Triple-A Memphis over his last two games.
That tally includes a 4-for-4, two-homer night Friday versus Omaha. The 24-year-old backstop slashed an unsightly .190/.261/.310 with the Cardinals during a 13-game cup of coffee earlier in the season, but he's hitting a solid .290 (9-for-31) since returning to the Redbirds on Aug. 12.
The Cardinals optioned Knizner to Triple-A Memphis on Monday.
St. Louis didn't have a need for Knizner as a third catcher with the team bringing back top backstop Yadier Molina (thumb) from the 10-day injured list. During his month-long stint with the big club, Knizner appeared in 11 games, going 8-for-35 (.229 average) with a home run and four RBI.
Knizner went 1-for-3 with a home run, two walks, two RBI and an additional run Wednesday in the Cardinals' 14-8 win over the Pirates.
Knizner connected on his first career home run during the Cardinals' big nine-run second inning, which proved to be the difference in the high-scoring contest. The rookie has been working as the No. 2 catcher behind Matt Wieters lately, but Knizner will likely be optioned to Triple-A Memphis when Yadier Molina (thumb) likely returns from the 10-day injured list at some point in August.
Knizner is 1-for-7 with a double over his first two games since being recalled from Triple-A Memphis on July 11.
The two-bagger came during Wednesday's win over the Pirates and served as his first major-league hit. The 24-year-old backstop's latest promotion is the byproduct of Yadier Molina's thumb injury. Knizner projects to continue splitting time with Matt Wieters in a same-handed platoon while Molina remains sidelined.
Knizner was recalled from Triple-A Memphis on Thursday.
Knizner is needed again as the Cardinals' backup catcher after Yadier Molina returned to the injured list with a strained thumb tendon. Knizner has gone 0-for-7 in his first two big-league games but owns a solid .277/.360/.421 slash line for Memphis this season. He'll likely be stuck on the bench behind Matt Wieters for most games until Molina returns.
|Last 7 Games|
|09/01||@ CIN||W 16-2||2||1||2||0||2||0||0|
|08/28||vs CLE||L 2-14||1||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|08/19||vs CHC||L 2-4||2||0||0||0||1||0||0|
|08/19||@ CHC||W 9-3||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|08/18||@ CHC||L 3-6||1||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|08/17||vs CHC||L 4-5||3||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|08/16||@ CHW||L 2-7||4||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|More Batting Stats|
|Minor League Batting Stats|