Should Reds Wade Miley and Tucker Barnhart be in All Star Game

MILWAUKEE –– On Friday night, Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Wade Miley and catcher Tucker Barnhart led the Reds to a 2-0 win over the Milwaukee Brewers. Miley threw eight shutout innings and lowered his ERA to 2.80, one of the lowest in the National League. Barnhart improved his batting average to  .273, which would be a career high.

Then on Saturday morning, MLB named injury replacements for the All-Star Game. Miley and Barnhart both had a case to be considered, but neither player was selected by MLB.

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“Everybody loves offense, but Tucker is hitting what, .270?” Miley said. “He’s super productive, I don’t know what they’re looking for. We work really well together.”

Cincinnati Reds catcher Tucker Barnhart (16) visits Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Wade Miley (22) at the mound in the third inning of a baseball game against the Chicago Cubs, Friday, April 30, 2021, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati.

“It’s been so fun to catch Wade,” Barnhart said. “He’s one of my favorite teammates that I’ve ever had, and without a doubt he has earned the right to be mentioned as being an All-Star. I hope he gets consideration if the time comes.”

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Barnhart has won two Gold Glove awards in his career and has established a reputation as one of the best defensive catchers in MLB. In the last week, Barnhart has made a “sneak attack” pickoff throw at third base and a sliding catch on the warning track down the third base line.

Jul 8, 2021; Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA;  Cincinnati Reds catcher Tucker Barnhart (16) catches a foul ball in front of the dugout during the third inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at American Family Field.

Even though he has always been a standout defender, Barnhart hasn't been mentioned as a candidate for the All-Star Game for most of his career.

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“Defense wins games,” Barnhart said. “It may not be the thing that sticks out or is obvious on the back of baseball cards. But in the grand scheme of things, it’s one of the things that wins baseball games. Whatever that means in terms of the All-Star Game, I don’t really know. But that’s the way I play and the way I love to play. That’s the way I’ll always play.”

Milwaukee Brewers' Luis Urias (2) nears home, but is about to be tagged out by Cincinnati Reds' Tucker Barnhart during the seventh inning of a baseball game Thursday, July 8, 2021, in Milwaukee.

The difference for Barnhart in 2021 has been his success at the plate. Among National League catchers with at least 190 at-bats, Barnhart ranks third in the NL in batting average, fourth in on-base percentage and fourth in OPS.

Even though Barnhart has had a better statistical season than Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina, Molina was named an injury replacement on Saturday. Molina later declined an invitation to the game, and MLB chose Brewers catcher Omar Narvaez over Barnhart.

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