One of our regular offseason traditions is the Exit Interview, where we look back at each player that got into a game for the St. Louis Cardinals in the past season. This is the 11th season we’ve done this and it’s a good way to get a view of the whole year, not just a short stretch of games. It’s sort of like a performance review before the players went off to their offseason work, spending a little time with Oli Marmol and going over what went right, what went wrong. Stats and grades are only for a player’s time in St. Louis, though splits numbers may include other teams. As always, my sincere thanks to the legend of cardinalsgifs for providing the header image!
Player: Andrew Knizner
Season stats: 96 G, 293 PA, 28 R, 10 2B, 4 HR, 25 RBI, 1 CS, 26 BB, 62 K, .215/.301/.300, 75 OPS+, 0.8 bWAR, -0.3 fWAR
Statcast: .280 xwOBA, 3.5 barrel %, 86.0 exit velocity, 33.2 hard hit %, 21.2 K %, 8.9 BB %
Best Statcast category: Max Exit Velocity (64th percentile)
Worst Statcast category: Pop Time 2B (10th percentile)
Hero/Goat: Hero 2, Goat 2
Positives: Stayed on the major league roster for the entire season for the first time….played in more games in 2022 than in his first three major league stints combined….had two different three hit games….hit .243 with three doubles while Yadier Molina was on the injured list….was pretty evenly balanced between home and away….hit .227 with three homers in the second half….hit .303 with a .894 OPS in August….hit .258 with three homers in games the Cardinals won….went 2-8 with five walks coming off the bench….had an .805 OPS if he hit the first pitch….it was .904 when he was ahead in the count….two of his homers came with two outs in an inning….was 7-21 in the ninth inning and extras….hit .222 with two homers against the Brewers, with the homers coming on back-to-back nights in September….pitched 2/3rds of a scoreless inning.
Negatives: Struggled against left-handers, putting up a .138 average against them….hit .207 with a .560 OPS in the first half….hit .104 in June and .161 in September….had a .450 OPS in games the Cardinals lost….hit .160 with a .376 OPS when behind in the count….had a .519 OPS with runners in scoring position….hit .182 with two outs and RISP….had a .464 OPS in the first three innings of a game….hit .206 against power pitchers….hit .174 against the Cubs….allowed 21 of 28 runners to successfully steal.
Overview: Knizner got the opportunity that he’d probably been waiting for (one that Carson Kelly also had dreamed about) when Yadier Molina went home to Puerto Rico for a good portion of the summer. To say he ran with it, though, would be a decided overstatement. Knizner had flashes at the plate but they were fairly sporadic and the defense, while not terrible, definitely needed some work. Still, he got his feet wet and had the opportunity to be the main catcher for a little bit, which is not something Ivan Herrera can say.
Outlook: The fact that John Mozeliak has been publicly saying they “need a catcher” (to the extent of making it sound like they literally don’t have anyone in the “Catcher” section of the roster) and the fact that he recently went out of his way to say they are optimistic about Herrera can’t be a good feeling for Knizner. There’s been a decided lack of discussion about his role in the early going and it could be that he’s included in any trade the Cardinals might make. If not, it would seem likely he’s the backup to whatever veteran guy they bring in to boost the position, at least until Herrera show he is ready (or shows that he’ll never be ready). It might not be a long run for Knizner in St. Louis, which is a shame.