The Reds are going to select the contract of catcher Chris Okey, reports C. Trent Rosecrans of The Athletic. He will join the club’s catching corps, which took a big hit today with the announcement that Tyler Stephenson fractured his thumb and will be out for a month or more. He will head to the injured list in a corresponding move. The club already has a vacancy on their 40-man roster due to Mike Moustakas going on the Covid-IL earlier this week.
Okey was selected in the second round, 43rd overall, by the Reds in the 2016 draft. Considered to be a bat-first catcher at the time, he was ranked as the #14 Reds’ prospect by Baseball America in 2017, with FanGraphs showing a bit more confidence by placing him at #8 in the system. However, the next season, he dropped to #26 on the FG list and off the BA list entirely, as injuries slowed his progress and his bat didn’t quite live up to expectations.
Despite losing some prospect shine, Okey is having a nice season here in 2022. Through 74 plate appearances in 24 Triple-A games, he’s hitting .265/.324/.441. That production is good enough for him to have a wRC+ of 102 on the year, 2% better than the league average hitter, though catchers typically produce a bit less than other hitters. There is perhaps a bit of good luck in there, as his .386 BABIP is well above previous seasons, and he also has a 31.1% strikeout rate on the year. The 27-year-old will make his MLB debut as soon as he gets into a game.
With Stephenson out for the next few weeks, Okey and Aramis Garcia will make up the club’s catching duo. Mark Kolozsvary is also on the 40-man and playing in Triple-A, but the Reds evidently want to get a look at their former second-rounder and see how he fares at the big league level.