This is really just a chance to talk about Joey Thomas. Of the four catchers on the roster, Thomas started 51 of 58 games, with Mason DeAnna doing the most work outside of Cincinnati’s starter.
Thomas did well in replacing an established backstop in Woody Wallace, hitting well enough to maintain a spot in the lineup, while playing very well on defense. We’ll start with that section of his game, which was what propelled him onto the Johnny Bench Award watch list. Trying to steal on the junior from Mason, Ohio was a fools errand for opponents, as he led the American Athletic Conference with 27 runners caught stealing. With 59 attempts against him in total, he gunned down 45.8 percent of would be thieves. If you compare that to MLB levels (an imperfect comparison to be sure, but the best we’ve got), Thomas’ success rate puts him at an elite level. In addition to catching many base stealers, Thomas also fielded his position fairly well, committing only five errors in 334 chances for a .985 fielding percentage. He also had 50 assists and 279 put outs.
Now to the batters box. Thomas was not a middle of the order juggernaut, but he made decent contact and was respectable. He slashed .258/.305/.326, which shows he still needs to develop more power and a better eye, as he had 13 walks compared to 44 strikeouts, while hitting 12 doubles and not a single home run. That means that for his upcoming senior year, he’ll need to improve his eye and plate discipline and get the barrel on the ball a bit more.
As for DeAnna, the sophomore didn’t have much time to be more than a backup. He played in 18 games and started in seven, slashing .194/.242/.326 across 31 at-bats. In limited defensive opportunities (52 chances) he did not commit an error and caught one player stealing.
As for freshmen Josh Wooten and Wyatt Schwing, they did not get their feet wet and will remain the generation in waiting at catcher.