On September 20, the Cincinnati Reds placed rookie catcher, Tyler Stephenson on the injured list. As a result of this, they selected the contract of Mark Kolozsvary, their Triple-A catcher. Kolozsvary has had a very eventful and successful 2021 season leading up to this point.
In spring training, Kolozsvary even hit a home run off of reigning Cy Young winner, Shane Bieber. He was selected to participate in the 2021 Olympics as a member of Team USA. And now, he has been called up to the big leagues for a team in the hunt for the playoffs.
Time Spent with Team USA
— Nick de la Torre (@delatorre) May 23, 2021
During the 2021 season, Kolozsvary was selected to participate in the Olympics as a member of Team USA. Kolozsvary joined a very decorated and talented group of players that would represent their country. He earned the starting catcher role ahead of two other talented players in Matt Wieters and Tim Federowicz.
Kolozsvary excelled during the WBSC Baseball Americas Qualifier. He started all four games of this round for Team USA, leading the team in home runs with 2. He also slashed .417/.588/1.000 in his four games of this round.
Earning a spot on Team USA is on the bucket list for almost every American-born baseball player out there. Kolozsvary did just what these players dream of. And he did an incredible job to represent the USA well.
2021 Impact and Beyond
Reds catcher Tucker Barnhart is due $7.5 million dollars for the 2022 season. It is a club option. With the emergence of Tyler Stephenson, who has put together a tremendous rookie campaign, it is unlikely that the Reds will pick up Barnhart’s option. Doing so will leave the Reds with a hole at the backup catcher spot for the 2022 season.
That is where Kolozsvary will come into play. Kolozsvary has just enough experience and talent to be able to fill that role. A majority of the work will go to Stephenson, but a 162 game schedule can be grueling and Stephenson will need to rest to be at his best abilities.
As a professional, Kolozsvary hasn’t been spectacular as a hitter. In 244 career games as a part of the Reds farm system, he holds a slash line of .222/.330/.354. In those 244 games, he has only tallied 17 home runs and 48 doubles. Kolozsvary will need to make significant improvements to compete at the plate at the Major League level.
What Kolozsvary does do well is defense. During his minor league career, he has only committed 20 errors in over 1800 innings caught. In 2021, he currently holds a fielding percentage of .994, an exceptional number. In 2021, he has thrown out nearly 1/3 of base stealers as well.
While Mark Kolozsvary will probably not be a league-altering player for the Reds, there is a role for him, and he will fill that role well. He will be the Reds’ backup catcher for the foreseeable future and the Reds as well as their minor league teams, have full confidence in him in this role.
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