This was pointed out by a loyal citizen of Redleg Nation in last night’s game thread, and I thought it deserved wider mention. From ESPN’s Rob Neyer:

Does anyone know why it’s taken Reds catcher Ryan Hanigan so long to get a real shot in the majors? The guy’s got a .383 career on-base percentage in the minors — including .376 in Triple-A — and if last night’s performance against the Dodgers is any indication, he’s got a killer throwing arm. Hanigan turns 29 in a few weeks, and don’t be surprised if he’s still playing when he’s 39.

What I love about this is that Hanigan was not drafted out of college. What a great story. The Reds signed him as an undrafted free agent. That’s one reason why he has never been given a real shot. The blue-chippers get the benefit of the doubt; undrafted free agents do not.

The second reason is that, well, he’s still not really getting a real shot. Or, at least, he wouldn’t be getting a shot without the injury to Ramon Hernandez. Pin that one on Dusty Baker.

19 Responses

  1. Steve Price

    Shall we start a list of what to pin on Dusty?

  2. RiverCity Redleg

    Once you’re labled as a “non-prospect” it is near impossible to shake it, regardless of your performance on the field. It’s ridiculous!

  3. GregD

    I agree RCR.

    Do we pin it on Jocketty or Baker?

  4. Andy

    Every time I see someone attempt to steal against Hannigan, I think to myself, “You don’t run on Ryan Hannigan.” By the time I finish the sentence the runner is on his way to the dugout.

  5. RiverCity Redleg

    Unfortunately Greg, I think that issue is baseball-wide.

  6. BenL

    It’s not at all clear to me that his progression through the minors was artificially slow. Looking at his minor league offensive numbers, they improved dramatically from 2006 to 2008: 2006 AA OPS .609, 2008 AAA OPS .811. It’s possible this is a case where him spending more time in the minors that a typical player did him good.

    That being said, he’s clearly the best option at catcher now, and there is no good excuse for him not being behind the plate more days than not whether Hernandez is injured or not.

  7. Matt WI

    This is a prime example of what was made apparent in “Moneyball”… As RCR said, there is a baseball wide mode of thinking, and once a certain paradigm has settled in, it’s near impossible to shake. See: Dusty Baker and fast CF’s named Willy. I can’t believe that it’s so hard to get some progressive thinking in the front office. What is it about nine years of losing makes them want to keep doing the same thing?

  8. Glenn

    River City couldn’t be more right. Once they’ve tagged you with the non prospect label its virtually over for a player. Hanigan is very lucky to have gotten any chance at all in becoming a starter in the major leagues.
    You just have to wonder how many guys are there out there, like Hanigan. The way they do things today, I doubt very seriously if Pete Rose would have been given a chance to be the player he became.

  9. Jared

    I think the “non prospect” deal is true to an extent, but if I was labeled as such, I’d definitely want to be playing for the Reds for the last 15 years.

    I’m calling it earlier than ever before. Baseball season is over.

  10. RedinFla

    We’ve really liked Hanigan at our house since Spring training. Was it Hal McCoy who wrote that he “works with the pitchers like a lion tamer”? He plays the game with a determination that you can read on his face regardless of what’s going down around him.

  11. Steve Price

    I do think it’s very difficult to get notice if a player is a non-traditonal athlete, a low draft pick, or a free agent signee.

    However, as much as a fan of Pete Rose as I am (a poster of him sits above me in my office at work), I feel the Pete’s not an athlete is more a legend than most anythng else. His date was a famous Cincinnati local athlete and, if I recall, his uncle is who signed him to a Reds minor league contract. There were some contacts there.

    Also, it was probably easier then to get a look being a non-athlete than today when every scout is looking for the same five natural abilities.

    Keep in mind that Rose was a very good minor league hitter. At age 20, in Class D, he hit .331 with 20 doubles and 30 triples. At age 21, in A, he batted .330 with 31 doubles, 17 triples, and 95 walks. What’s amazing to me is that they didn’t make him play AA and AAA, but talent was always there…and he was playing 2B, not the outfield.

  12. preach

    My pure piece of speculation is that it might have been easier for Pete to get a look because he was a second baseman when he came up. Had he been a corner infielder/outfielder which traditionally is a power position, he may have not have made the jump that he did. Hannigan is in a position that people want to hit for power, and that may have contributed to his “all glove-no stick” reputation.

  13. preach

    “he hit .331 with 20 doubles and 30 triples” A hustling second baseman. what a novel concept.

  14. GRF

    Hannigan is one of the bright spots to the season. I am hoping by the time Hernandez comes back, Hannigan will be the established player in Dusty’s mind entitled to the bulk of the playing time.

  15. GregD

    I expect him to bounce back, but Hanigan has not been himself since Hernandez has been hurt.

    2-for-16, 1 bb, 6 k
    On the season, he is batting over .300 with 24bb and 18k.

  16. Matt WI

    Ctrent says “I wouldn’t walk Jesus there” when talking about Chris Welsh suggesting the Reds might walk Manny with the bases loaded. That’s outstanding.