Cincinnati Reds: Ryan Hanigan Is Among MLB's Most Underrated Catchers

Scott L. HutchinsonCorrespondent IMay 22, 2012

ST. LOUIS, MO - APRIL 19: Bronson Arroyo #61 and Ryan Hanigan #29 both of the Cincinnati Reds return to the dugout against the the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium on April 19, 2012 in St. Louis, Missouri. The Reds defeated the Cardinals 6-3.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

At the start of the 2012 season, Cincinnati Reds' rookie catcher Devin Mesoraco was considered by many to be a possible favorite for the National League Rookie of the Year award. Forty-one games in, however, the 23-year-old prospect has yet to earn an everyday job behind the dish.

So, what's the hold up?

Fellow catcher Ryan Hanigan may just be one of the most underrated backstops in the game.

While he's not the type to put up earth-shattering numbers, the six-year veteran has quietly been one of Cincinnati's most dependable assets, both offensively and defensively, for several years. Now, Hanigan is finally getting a chance to showcase his talent more regularly, and he's not letting the opportunity pass him by.

With a .325 average and 27 hits through his first 25 starts, the 31-year-old is making it hard for Dusty Baker and company to find Mesoraco consistent playing time.

Even more impressive than his individual stat line is the fact that 16 of the Reds' 22 victories have come in games which Hanigan has started—a number that speaks volumes about his ability to call games behind the plate.

While it may only be a matter of time until Mesoraco passes Hanigan on the depth chart, there is no denying Hanigan's importance to the ball club. Catcher is one of the most critical positions on the baseball diamond, and there are a plethora of major league teams that would love to have Hanigan's services.

There is no telling what Hanigan's MLB future may hold, but for now, Reds fans should just consider themselves a lucky bunch.

Related

    Reds’ Slump Has Extended to Joey Votto

    Cincinnati Reds logo
    Cincinnati Reds

    Reds’ Slump Has Extended to Joey Votto

    Jay Jaffe
    via Fangraphs

    Mets' Dream Rotation Rebuilding Hype

    MLB logo
    MLB

    Mets' Dream Rotation Rebuilding Hype

    Danny Knobler
    via Bleacher Report

    The Reds Have a Baseball Unicorn

    Cincinnati Reds logo
    Cincinnati Reds

    The Reds Have a Baseball Unicorn

    Wesley Jenkins
    via Redleg Nation

    Red Sox Triple-A Team Bans People Named Tyler and Austin

    MLB logo
    MLB

    Red Sox Triple-A Team Bans People Named Tyler and Austin

    Bill Baer
    via HardballTalk