ANDREW Robert KNIZNER
Nickname:   N/A Position:   C
Home: N/A Team:   CARDINALS
Height: 6' 1" Bats:   R
Weight: 200 Throws:   R
DOB: 2/3/1995 Agent: N/A
Uniform #: 7  
Birth City: Glen Allen, VA
Draft: Cardinals #7 - 2016 - Out of No Carolina State Univ.
YR LEA TEAM SAL(K) G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO OBP SLG AVG
2016 APP JOHNSON CITY   53 185 35 59 12 1 6 42 0 0 21 21 .423 .492 .319
2017 TL SPRINGFIELD   51 182 27 59 13 0 4 22 0 1 14 27 .371 .462 .324
2017 MWL PEORIA   44 179 18 50 10 1 8 29 1 1 9 22 .325 .480 .279
2018 PCL MEMPHIS   17 54 3 17 5 0 0 4 0 0 4 8 .383 .407 .315
2018 TL SPRINGFIELD   77 281 39 88 13 0 7 41 0 1 23 40 .365 .434 .313
2019 PCL MEMPHIS   66 246 41 68 10 0 12 34 2 0 24 37 .357 .463 .276
2019 NL CARDINALS   18 53 7 12 2 0 2 7 2 0 4 14 .293 .377 .226
2020 NL CARDINALS $134.00 8 16 1 4 1 0 0 4 0 0 0 5 .235 .313 .250
2021 NL CARDINALS   63 161 18 28 7 0 1 9 0 0 20 39 .281 .236 .174
Personal
  • Knizner was a third baseman at North Carolina State until his sophomore year in 2015.

  • June 2016: Andrew was the Cardinals 7th round pick, out of NC State. He signed for $185,300 with scout Charles Peterson.

  • Growing up near Richmond, VA, Andrew wasn't one of those year-round baseball kids at risk of burning out before reaching the pros. He played baseball, basketball and football, and there was a time he thought he might be throwing footballs on Saturdays. 

    "I always wanted to play college football, and in the NFL," reveals Knizner. "That was my dream, my first love."

    His father, Mike, developed a passion for the sport, growing-up in Pittsburgh. So his son comes by his Steelers fandom honestly. His uncle Matt was a quarterback for Penn State and part of the Nittany Lions undefeated national championship team. But the closest Andrew comes to football glory was reaching a couple semi-final games in the state playoffs with Hanover High School in Virginia.

     

  • Knizner did not give up all association with football. For a little over a year, he has been dating Ally Rahn, a Miami Dolphins cheerleader. But after three seasons with the Dolphins, she apparently is not trying out again.

    Says Knizner, "She always tells me she made it to 'The Show' before me". 

  • 2017: Knizner was invited to play in the AFL Fall Stars Game.

  • July 2018: Top prospects Andrew Knizner of the Cardinals and Luis Ortiz of the Brewers have been named replacements for the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game at Nationals Park in Washington. Knizner will take the spot of A's catcher Sean Murphy, who was placed on the disabled list on. The right-hander Ortiz will fill in for righty Forrest Whitley of the Astros, who left his start with an injury.

  • In 2018, Knizner finished in Triple-A, hitting .315 over 17 games at the level. A career .310/.373/.460 hitter in 242 Minor League games, Knizner knows how to consistently barrel the baseball, and the hope is that this will translate to more over-the-fence power as he gains experience. 

    He still has gains to make behind the plate, especially with his receiving skills, but there's little doubt about Knizner's capacity to stick as a catcher.
  • In 2018, the Baseball America Prospect Handbook rated Andrew as the 10th-best prospect in the Cardinals organization. They moved him up to #8 in the spring of 2019. And he was at #7 in the winter before 2020 spring training. Andrew was back at #8 in the spring of 2021.

  • July 17, 2019: Andrew was so excited that the ball he hit off Chris Archer landed in the outfield, he clapped his hands coming out of the batter’s box … and then realized he had to get on base.  After sprinting to first, he made it to second with ease, celebrating his first Major League hit, along with the Cardinals dugout. The ball was getting an inscription the next day as Knizner took batting practice in Cincinnati, and he hopes to have it soon. He said he’ll give it to his mom to put on the mantle in the family living room.

    “All the guys were joking that I’m officially a big leaguer after the hit,” Knizner said. “Now I can settle in and worry about putting together good at-bats. I don’t have to worry so much about pushing a hit through. Now that I have an official batting average, even though it’s not great, I can go up there and relax.”  (Rogers - mlb.com - 7/18/19)

  • Aug 5, 2021: There wasn’t much catcher Andrew Knizner needed to say. He began his night with a prodigious blast, letting the bat simply fly out on the follow through of his first homer of the season and the Cardinals’ first run. And he punctuated it with a cheeky fist pump, after he corralled a ball in the dirt in front of him and nabbed Joc Pederson trying to take second to erase Atlanta's leadoff man in the seventh inning.

    And there wasn’t much Knizner felt like he was obliged to say. Just days prior to his rare start in the series finale loss to the Braves, his maternal grandfather, Robert DeBernard passed away. Robert was a veteran of the National Guard and later worked three decades in public works.

    “That was a special moment for me,” Knizner said. “He was with me with that swing. Happy I could hit that one. I wish he could have seen it in person, but I know he was watching.” (Z Silver - MLB.com - Aug 6, 2021)

Batting
  • Knizner is an above-average hitter and hits the ball as hard as any Cardinals player. His 110 mph maximum exit velocity was fourth best on the team in 2020 even though he had only 17 plate appearances. Knizner hits more line drives than fly balls, but he has the strength for double-digit home run power if he can lift the ball in the air more. (J.J. Cooper - Baseball America Prospect Handbook - Spring, 2021)

  • Andrew's bat separates him from other catchers. He keeps his barrel in the zone, uses the whole field and has the hand-eye coordination to make frequent contact and limit his strikeouts despite an aggressive approach.

    Knizner’s line-drive stroke provide for a 55 hit tool. He has 45 grade, almost-average power limit his home run output, but he has the strength to elevate to his pull side and reach double-digit homers. (Kyle Glaser - BA Prospect Handbook - Spring, 2020)

  • Andrew is an offensive catcher with all the tools to hit. He turns around good velocity with a quick bat, recognizes off-speed pitches and uses the whole field. His swing is more geared for line drives to the gaps, but he can turn on inside fastballs for home runs 

    Knizner is aggressive and doesn’t walk much, but he doesn’t strike out either with good hand-eye coordination and natural timing. (Kyle Glaser - BA Prospect Handbook - Spring, 2019)

  • Andrew produces impressive righthanded power with plenty of bat speed. He does a fine job of barreling the baseball. His bat is his carrying tool. His swing is geared for line drives to any part of the park. But he can elevate a ball and hit it out to his pull side.

    "He has one of the most efficient swings and highest exit velocities in the Cardinals system," Peoria manager Chris Swauger said in 2017. "It really shows what his potential can be. With him, it is never mechanics—it is rhythm and timing. It is a lot of fun to be teaching upper-level nuances to a player in low-A ball."

  • Andrew displays very good pitch recognition.

  • As of the start of the 2022 season, Andrew had a .191 career batting average with 3 home runs and 20 RBI in 230 at-bats in the Majors.
Fielding
  • Knizner has a strong arm—average strength for a big league catcher.

    Andrew is athletic, but a fringe-average defensive catcher still working to improve. He moves well laterally, has an average arm and calls a good game, but his rough hands make him a well below-average receiver and pitch-framer. He is still working on controlling his blocks, as well.

    He has a 45 grade for his Fielding. He has shown better understanding of pitch-calling, but—like everyone else—pales in comparison with Yadier Molina. (Spring, 2021)

  • As a freshman at NC State in 2014, Molina's heir apparent played third base. Andrew Knizner was named freshman All-America, hitting .330. He showed enough promise to earn at-bats the ensuing summer in the prestigious Cape Cod Baseball League.

    It was also when NC State associate head coach Chris Hart called with an idea: "What would Knizner think about becoming the Wolfpack's starting catcher next season?" While Andrew had good arm strength and quick hands, he didn't run well, and range was going to be an issue at higher levels.

    "I had never caught, never owned catching gear, never owned a catcher's mitt," Knizner remembers thinking when Hart called. "It kind of caught me off guard, but I told him I'd be willing to try whatever the team needs."

    Hart confesses that he knew what Andrew's answer would be. "His character and makeup, on and off the field," Hart says, "are the best we've ever had in the program."

    "He was pretty good in the drills; his first bullpen was a different story," says Hart." "Our pitching coach even said, "I don't know if he can do this."

    In essence, Andrew was starting from a deficit; all those years not spent catching were missed opportunities to ingrain muscle memory. That meant he and Hart were trying to build a Division I catcher from the ground up.

    "The receiving part comes fairly natural, but blocking is unnatural." Hart says. "It takes a lot of reps to say, "I'm not going to catch this ball and let it hit me in the chest."

    But Knizner stuck with it. Longevity isn't just a gift. It also requires work. Not just working hard, but smart. So "Kiz" has tried to adapt accordingly.

    "The number one thing with all catchers is to try and conserve your energy and be as quiet as you can behind the plate," Kiz observes. "Early on, I was working so hard every game, but now I've learned how to pace myself and be smoother and a bit quieter back there."

    "You watch Yadi catch, and everything's so smooth and fluid. That's why he's able to catch for virtually a month without taking a day off, because his body isn't expending as much energy to do the same things other catchers do."

  • Though Andrew has been catching only since 2015, he has steadily improved his receiving and blocking skills. He's a hard worker, so he should end up being at least an average catcher. His locking, hands and footwork are a bit rough. He’s a smart leader who calls a good game and works hard behind the plate, showing the intangibles to catch.

  • Knizner pays attention to each hitters' tendencies and how they react in game situations, and knowing his pitcher's strength and weaknesses and what to execute.

  • Andrew works hard for his pitchers. He has the arm to play catcher and the footwork, and with extensive attention during 2018 spring training he started to become more deft and creative handling pitchers.

  • Spring Training 2021:  Andrew will tell you that the work he put in the 2020 offseason—the meticulous study of game film in order to improve his pitch-calling skills—was incumbent upon him in order to better his chances for the Major League roster.  He’ll tell you that it was nothing out of the ordinary for a young catcher looking to improve over the winter.

    His manager has a slightly different viewpoint.  “He took an extra step,” Cardinals manager Mike Shildt said. “What he did in the 2020 offseason was beyond a typical offseason. This is a little unusual step that he took that I applaud him for and is important for him.” 

    In March, Knizner caught Carlos Martínez for the first time and proceeded to work with five different pitchers through jams in the loss. It’s part of the reps the Cardinals want to see from Knizner. How can he call a game on the fly, and how can he adapt to different looks from different pitchers if a game starts to get sidetracked?

    Martínez, for his part, doled out one of the more complimentary praises a Cardinals catcher can receive.  “He looks like Yadi,” Martínez said.

    “I think in the past, all my attention was just on making that team, and not saying I'm not focusing on making the team or anything like that, but I'm trying to take it to the next level,” Andrew said. “And I think that's what it takes to be a championship-type player, is going the extra mile and doing that extra credit. And that's what I'm really trying to focus on.”  (Silver - mlb.com - 3/21/2021)

  • 2021: Not to be lost in the Cardinals’ pitching prowess is who is catching the baseballs they hurl.  Since replacing Yadier Molina (right foot tendon strain) following the veteran’s initial exit on April 23, Andrew has caught two shutouts as of May 2.  Opponents are averaging 2.13 runs per game in his eight starts, never surmounting the five-run mark.

    What’s more, over 85 percent of Carlos Martínez’s 913 career innings have been thrown to Molina.  All of a sudden, he’s pitching the best he has in years to Knizner. 

    “He's done his homework, he’s got a good clarity of playing, worked well,” manager Mike Shildt said pregame. “And also works with the guys prior to the game and understands what he wants to do with the starter. Then the game starts, and if adjustments need to be made, he's made them. Just going out and playing,” Shildt said. “Playing his game.” (Silver - mlb.com - 5/2/2021)

Running
  • Andrew has only 30 grade speed.
Career Injury Report
  • August 5-12, 2018: Knizner was on the DL.

  • May 19, 2022: Knizner was hit hard on the mask by two foul balls against the Mets and left the game in the fifth inning. He was replaced by Yadier Molina.