Cincinnati Reds President of Baseball Operations, General Manager Dick Williams today announced that C Tucker Barnhart has agreed to terms on a 4-year contract extension through the 2021 season with a club option for 2022. A press conference will be held at 2:30 p.m. today in the field level interview room at Great American Ball Park.
Barnhart, 26, following this season would have been eligible for arbitration for the first time while under team control through 2020.
"Tucker has made us proud on the field with his play and off the field with his community involvement," Williams said. "He worked his way up through our system, improving every step of the way, and has established himself as an elite defensive catcher and a productive offensive player. Switch hitting catchers who can impact the game defensively are tough to find."
The 10th-round pick in the 2009 first-year player draft has been the Reds' starting catcher since May 2016, when Devin Mesoraco suffered a season-ending shoulder injury. Barnhart led the club with 96 starts behind the plate last season while making 98 starts so far this year.
Over the course of the last 2 seasons, Barnhart has built a reputation as one of the best catchers in the Major Leagues. This year he leads all Major League catchers in fielding percentage, caught stealings and assists, and his 2.9 Defensive WAR leads all National League players while ranking second among all Major League position players. As calculated by Fangraphs, Barnhart leads all Major League catchers in defensive value and in defensive runs saved.
With just 1 error this season, Barnhart has followed a career-high 52-game errorless streak with an active 50-game errorless streak. Over the last 2 seasons, he has thrown out 39 percent of the baserunners attempting to steal, including 44 percent this season to lead the National League and rank second in the majors.
Offensively, Barnhart is on pace to establish career highs in batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage and is nearing career bests in games played, hits, doubles, HR and RBI.
He is a native of nearby Brownsburg, Indiana and a candidate to win his second consecutive Joe Nuxhall Good Guy Award in voting of the local chapter of the Baseball Writers' Association of America.