In this ongoing series that will last most of spring training, we’re going to look at each player that will be in Major League camp with the Cincinnati Reds. Each post will have some information on the player. There will be some background information, profiling, projections, and more. To see all of the posts in the series, you can click here. Today we are going to look at catcher Chris Okey.

Chris Okey’s Background

Acquired: 2nd Round, 2016 Major League Baseball Draft.

Born: 12/29/1994

Bats/Throws: Right/Right

Height/Weight: 5′ 11″ / 200 lbs

Years of MLB Experience: Zero.

Originally drafted by the San Diego Padres in the 31st round of the 2013 draft, Chris Okey opted to go to Clemson and play baseball. The Reds selected him three seasons later with their 2nd round selection. Since then the catcher has worked his way up to the Double-A level.

Chris Okey’s 2018 Season

The season didn’t begin for Chris Okey until late April as he recovered from an injury that kept him out for the first three weeks of the season. When he got onto the field to begin his season it began with the Advanced-A Daytona Tortugas. That essentially worked as a rehab stint of sorts as it lasted just two weeks before he was promoted to Double-A. The then 23-year-old struggled to get his bat going. He only posted one month with an on-base percentage over .300 en route to a .198/.257/.304 line in 78 games played with Pensacola.

Chris Okey’s Playing History

The Cincinnati Reds have been rather aggressive with Chris Okey since he was drafted. Selected in the 2nd round of 2016 the team kept him in Billings for two weeks before calling him up to Dayton. He finished out the season there, playing 42 games for the Dragons and hitting .243/.323/.432. The next season he moved up to Advanced-A Dayton and struggled at the plate in a big way. He hit just .185/.265/.249 in 93 games for the Tortugas. After the season it was discovered that he had been hiding a broken hamate bone and played nearly the entire season with the injury. As noted above, his 2018 season was another in which he struggled at the plate. For his career, over three seasons, he’s hit just .200/.270/.304 and has been strangely promoted aggressively. Behind the plate he’s a quality catcher with a good arm and he handles a pitching staff well. But the bat has been very poor thus far in his career.

Projecting Chris Okey for 2019

Only ZiPS took a shot at projecting Chris Okey for 2019. That’s not much of a surprise given his performance in Double-A last season.

ZiPS Projections | Steamer Projections | Marcels Projections

How could Chris Okey fit in Cincinnati in 2019?

It’s tough to see where Chris Okey will fit in with Cincinnati in 2019. With Tyler Stephenson heading to Double-A, Okey may not even get much time behind the plate unless he goes back to Daytona for more consistent action. At the plate he would need to turn into an entirely different hitter than he’s been thus far in his career to make any sort of noise that would warrant a consideration for the 2019 season in Cincinnati, and even then it would only be in an emergency situation given the depth at the position.

7 Responses

  1. Steelerfan

    Thoughts on him splitting time in AA? With the DH and minor league workloads is that feasible, or does it meaningfully block Stephenson?

    • Doug Gray

      It’s possible, but you probably want Stephenson getting 100 starts behind the plate this year. That would leave Okey with 40 if you had them both in Double-A.

  2. Shchi Cossack

    I always viewed Okey’s signing as a desperation move in drafting for position need rather than drafting best talent. The Mesoraco had fizzled and the contract had only 2 season remaining after 2016. Barnhart was a good backup option, but questionable as a starter and there wasn’t another starting catcher option in the system.

    • Doug Gray

      They year before they took Okey they drafted Tyler Stephenson in the 1st round.

  3. HoF13

    Doug, what is your take on Okey? Where would you put him and what do scouts say about him? He had an OPS of .934 at Clemson – seems incongruous that he’s never hit well any MiLB stop.

    • CFD3000

      I think that’s the key question – not when / what might he contribute in Cincinnati this year (answer:nothing) – but what’s the long term outlook? Okey is only in camp because you need a lot of catchers to work with the many pitchers. But in the long run it’s his bat (and, indirectly, his health) that dictate his advancement and contribution. I’m hoping he starts to figure it out at the plate.

  4. another bob in nc

    You wrote that the Reds have been “aggressive” with Okey. Should we read anything into that?

    Okey dokey?