Where does Corky's mustache fit into the mix? (The Enquirer/Michael E. Keating)

With a couple of big-time catching prospects named Devin Mesoraco and Yasmani Grandal waiting in the wings, the Cincinnati Reds are as loaded behind the plate as any club in baseball. (And let’s not forget the most productive mustache of the group, Corky Miller.)

The big league squad is in good hands behind the plate, as well. Reds catchers Ramon Hernandez and Ryan Hanigan were among the most productive in baseball in 2010, and those two were one of the big reasons for Cincinnati’s success. Dusty Baker talked today about those catchers, and about his plan to divide up the playing time between them in much the same way as he did last year.

Certainly, they were both very good last year, so you can’t fault Dusty for wanting to aim for a repeat:

“They’re both productive,” Baker said. “There (sic) both strong. They both caught well. That’s about a good a tandem as there is in baseball. They get along well, which helps.”

There has been some discussion below about this. I think it’s imperative that Ryan Hanigan be the primary catcher. He’s better defensively and he’s going to get on base more — enough, in fact, to be a legitimate #2 hitter in the majors, in my opinion.

That said, however, Hanigan can’t play 130-140 games. It isn’t good for anyone. Hanigan needs to be playing four times a week, with Ramon playing three, roughly. That seems to be the sweet spot for keeping everyone healthy and productive.

Before you complain — But Chad! Dusty played Hernandez as the primary catcher each of the last two years! He won’t let Hanigan play more than the veteran! — settle down. Many people forget this, but just before he was injured last year, Dusty had recognized Hanigan’s value and was actually starting him more often than Ramon. Then, Hanigan went and broke his thumb and missed six weeks.

That’s to say, I trust Baker.* If Hanigan is playing as well as he did last year (and the year before), he’s going to get the lion’s share of the at-bats.

*Someone bookmark this post. I can’t believe I typed that.