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This Day in Baseball and Rangers History for February 3

* 20 days until the Feb 23, 2024, spring training season opener with KC
* 54 days until the Mar 28, 2024, regular season opener against the Cubs

Today there are no history bits connected to Feb 3. We have a birthday for a new guy on the 40-man roster and a thumbnail profile.

Happy 28th Birthday Andrew Knizner!


Andrew Knizner Thumbnail Profile (Jan 11, 2024: 1-year $1.825MM; 2 waiver opts)

Andrew Knizner (per BR Bullpen, pronounced KIZZ-ner) grew up in Virginia and played his college ball for NC State, where he was named to the Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American team as a 3B. He switched to C prior to his sophomore season, and in his junior year, batted .292 with 6 HRs and 30 RBIs, along with a .991 Fld%, throwing out 16 of 37 base runners. Knizner was drafted after his junior year by St Louis in the 7th round of the 2016 draft as #226 overall.

Knizner came up through the Cardinal MiLs in 3 years, with BAs above .300 at each level and was named to MiL all-star games at each level through AA. In 2017, he played in the AZ Fall League with a .358 BA in 17 games. In 2018, after a late-season move to AAA, he hit .313/.368/.430, with 7 HR and 45 RBIs. He was selected to the 2018 Futures Game.

Knizner began 2019 in AAA, but was called up to the Cardinals on Jun 2. After a month-long down-and-up, he hit his first ML HR on Jul 24. Knizner has 5 ML seasons with St Louis, where he has been used as a backup C and has seen somewhat limited action. He saw little action in his first 2019 season, and virtually no action in the COVID shortened 2020 season. In his last 3 ML seasons, Knizner's BA has been below .250, and he has had relatively few HRs. Each of the last 3 seasons has, however, generally shown improvement over the prior year. On May 6, 2023, the Cardinals announced that Knizner would take over as their primary catcher, as they intended to shift Willson Contreras to DH. But that did not work out, and Contreras returned to catching by May 15. The Cardinals non-tendered Knizner after the 2023 season.

Year ... G .... AB .... BA .... OBP .. SLG ... OPS .. OPS+ .. bWAR .. oWAR .. dWAR .. Fld% .. CS%
2021 .. 63 ... 161 .. ..174 .. .281 ... .236 ... .517 ..... 46 ....... -0.3 ....... -0.4 ...... 0.4 ..... .992 ... 23%
2022 .. 96 ... 260 .. .215 .. .301 .. .300 ... .601 ..... 74 ........ 0.6 ........ 0.6 ....... 0.6 ..... .990 ... 25%
2023 .. 70 ... 224 .. .241 .. .288 .. .424 ... .712 ..... 92 ........ 1.0 ......... 0.7 ....... 0.8 ..... .998 ... 13%

Knizner is generally at or slightly above LgFld% at C, and he was generally at or slightly below League Caught Stealing % at C, until last year's rule changes, when his Caught Stealing % dropped to 13% compared to league average 19%. But Bobby Wilson can work magic. FWIW, Knizner apparently pitched (presumably in a blowout) 0.2 innings with a 0.00 ERA and 1 hit.

Andrew Knizner (BR)
Andrew Knizner (BR Bullpen)
Andrew Knizner (Wikipedia)
Andrew Knizner (Spotrac)
Texas Rangers 2024 Payroll (Spotrac)