Las Vegas, Nevada —— Over the weekend, Baseball Census observed veteran catcher Ryan Hanigan play in a four-game series for the Triple-A Pacific Coast League affiliate of the Colorado Rockies, the Albuquerque Isotopes, on the road in Sin City against the Las Vegas 51s.
On Wednesday afternoon, the Rockies promoted Hanigan to the big leagues as a replacement for injured starting catcher Tony Wolters. Here’s what you should expect from Ryan Hanigan, a big league veteran now entering his 11th season of Major League action, and first with the Rockies: we’ve got a full series of notes on Hanigan taken from the series in Las Vegas, plus at-bat video and a few swing GIFs for the veteran. You can also visit Ryan Hanigan’s player page for more photos, stats, etc., by clicking here.
Ryan Hanigan scouting report
At this point in his career, Ryan Hanigan is what he is: a veteran, emergency backup catcher that ought to provide little long-term value at the big league level but could be incredibly important to a team to stem the unfortunate stream of unforeseen catcher injuries for a few weeks. In other words, he’s up in the big leagues to do exactly what the Colorado Rockies need him to do: steer the ship from behind the plate for a week or two while Wolters recovers from a concussion sustained earlier this week in San Diego.
That said, there’s quite a bit to like about Hanigan’s defense, his dealings with a pitching staff, and his impressive knowledge of big league hitters thanks to his decade of experience at the game’s highest level. He’s a good game caller, as you’d hope at his age, and a better pitch framer than I expected with a low-set squat and—like Wolters—an uncanny ability to bring low balls back up into the zone somewhat convincingly. His throwing mechanics are good, too, but likely his best trait is that difficult-to-quantify ability to deal with pitchers. Hanigan is no-nonsense and intense—not unlike Wolters—and should be a shot in the arm for the Rockies’ young pitching staff for however long he’s with them in The Show.
At the plate, no one will confuse Ryan Hanigan for a power hitter, or for a guy who will hit for average over the course of a season, but he takes good at-bats. He’s patient and comfortable in working deep counts, and I’m impressed with his plate coverage and situational hitting awareness. Then again, his big league career totals include an exceptional 247 walks against just 264 strikeouts in 2,157 plate appearances, so he’s virtually always been guaranteed to put together a good at-bat regardless of outcome.
In his Denver Post piece on Hanigan’s call-up, Groke calls the veteran “old-school,” and he’s dead right: Hanigan is a grizzled old vet in every sense of the term, and he’ll fit right in with workman-like Dustin Garneau for a week or two as the Rockies’ interim catching corps. He won’t be up for long, he’s certainly not the flashiest catcher around, and goodness knows Rockies folks are counting down the days until they can finally, fully pair Wolters with top prospect Tom Murphy, rather than this Garneau-Hanigan mashup. But until that happens, Ryan Hanigan ought to give the Colorado Rockies a puncher’s chance for a week or two coming off the bench.
Ryan Hanigan scouting report video
Here’s a look at our most recent Ryan Hanigan baseball video, taken over the weekend while the Isotopes were in Las Vegas:
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Ryan Hanigan scouting report GIFs
In addition to our video clips, we broke out some Ryan Hanigan baseball GIFs for a deeper look at swing mechanics, etc.:
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