Reds’ Barnhart treasures Gold Glove Award, seeks repeat

The Cincinnati Reds had an All-Star catcher in Devin Mesoraco, but they struck gold with a 10th-round draft pick when their star was hurt.

Tucker Barnhart will accept the Rawlings Gold Glove Award as the National League’s best defensive catcher before a regular-season home game.

RELATED: Finnegan confident he’ll return to form

RELATED: Reds minor-leaguer suspended 50 games

The Brownsburg, Indiana native became the third Reds catcher to win the award, joining Johnny Edwards, who won two, and Hall of Famer Johnny Bench, who won 10.

“It was like icing on the cake,” Barnhart said. “It is the biggest award that I could get. Defense is what keeps me on the field. I’ve always taken pride in it.

“It is special to win the Gold Glove relatively early in my career.”

The award capped a dream offseason for Barnhart. Now the mild-mannered 27-year-old seeks to duplicate or surpass last year’s results.

It was a good year off the field for Barnhart as well. He knew before he left for Goodyear last February that he and his wife Sierra were expecting a son. Tatum Ellior was born Aug. 31. The anticipation didn’t interfere with Barnhart putting together the best season of his professional career.

“I got to learn how to be a dad,” Barnhart said. “It is awesome, the best thing ever. He’s growing really fast, that’s for sure.”

Barnhart doesn’t claim to have the strongest arm, yet he led the major leagues by throwing out 28 runners attempting to steal.

“The last two years I’ve focused on shoring up my footwork,” Barnhart said. “It helps me to be more accurate. My arm is strong enough to play but I have to be accurate to have consistent success.”

Barnhart works daily with Reds catching coordinator Mike Stefanski during the season and with instructor Corky Miller in spring training. But he also credits Mesoraco and Stuart Turner, another Reds catcher, for making him better.

“I can’t thank those guys enough,” said Barnhart, who led the majors with a .999 fielding percentage, a Reds record. He also led the big leagues with 89 assists and the National Leagues with 661 wild pitch-saving blocks of pitches in the dirt.

Barnhart had two errorless streaks, 52 and 57 games, around his lone error.

Then, on top of fatherhood and winning a coveted defensive award, the Reds extended Barnhart’s contract four years in September.

As much as he takes pride in defense, Barnhart’s .270 batting average was a career best. He has set personal batting average highs each of his last three years.

“I’m not a guy who is going to hit 20 home runs,” said Barnhart,who hit seven for the second straight year and added a career-best 24 doubles.

Defense remains his calling card and probably always will.

“There are guys that are take-charge by nature but Tucker falls into the category that he has earned the right to take charge,” manager Bryan Price said. “He is extremely confident in his preparation. He can bring out the best in those that he has the opportunity to catch. That combination makes him elite.”

Barnhart got a chance to show what he could do with Mesoraco limited by injury

“There is so much that goes into becoming a great catcher,” Price said. “What is exciting for me is to see the growth in Tucker in such a short period of time.”

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Sports

High School Football: Week 5 boxscores, scores
High School Football: Week 5 boxscores, scores

Allen East 50, Delphos Jefferson 6 Alter 45, Fenwick 20 Anderson 47, Withrow 12 Badin 42, Roger Bacon 35, OT Bellbrook 21, Franklin 17 Bellefontaine 14, Ben Logan 6 Brookville 42, Carlisle 2 Butler 13, Xenia 7, OT Celina 42, Ottawa-Glandorf 24 Chaminade Julienne 61, Carroll 30 Cin. Country Day 28, New Miami 20 Clinton-Massie 34, Bishop Hartley 31 Col...
Glass makes most of second chance to lift Shawnee past Northwestern
Glass makes most of second chance to lift Shawnee past Northwestern

An athlete rarely gets a second chance to be a hero, especially on the football field. But that’s exactly where Shawnee High School junior Robie Glass found himself on Friday night against Northwestern. With Shawnee trailing 35-34 with 39 seconds remaining, Braves sophomore Drew Mitch — playing quarterback for the first time the entire...
Springfield beats Lebanon to stay undefeated
Springfield beats Lebanon to stay undefeated

The Springfield Wildcats reached the midway point of the regular season with a second straight dominant performance, blanking Lebanon 28-0 on Friday at Evans Stadium. How does it feel to be 5-0, a feat unparalleled in the 11-year history of the new high school? That was the question quarterback Raheim Moss faced after the game. "It's a blessing...
Top-ranked Northmont has no answer for Wayne QB McKee
Top-ranked Northmont has no answer for Wayne QB McKee

Wayne quarterback Rashad McKee riddled Northmont’s vaunted defense, throwing five touchdown passes and running for two more in a 49-20 Warriors defeat of the visiting Thunderbolts on Friday night. The midseason Week 5 win snapped Wayne’s (3-2) two-game losing streak and jump-started the Warriors’ season and Division I, Region 3 playoff...
Wright State Raiders: Five questions facing team entering new season
Wright State Raiders: Five questions facing team entering new season

A constant issue for Wright State basketball coach Scott Nagy early last season was getting his players to believe they were as good as he thought they could be. They may have professed confidence, but the results conveyed something else. Nagy’s persistence finally paid off in a mid-December win at Toledo , which was...
More Stories