Miami Nice: Saints Add Pop, Solid Arm Behind Dish in Catcher Chris Chinea

The Saint Paul Saints signed catcher Chris Chinea, a former St, Louis Cardinals farmhand and son of Carlos Chinea, a regular extra on Miami Vice where Don Johnson once slapped him in an episode.

A 26-year-old Miami naive, Chinea spilt last year between Double-A Springfield (83 games) and Triple-A Memphis (six games) in the Cardinals organization. Overall, he hit .279 with 10 home runs and 32 RBI in 89 games. In 294 at bats he scored 29 runs, ripped 15 doubles, one triple, with a .322 on base percentage, and a .439 slugging percentage.

Additionally, he threw out 22.9 percent of would-be base stealers.

St. Louis selected Chinea in the 17th round of the 2015 MLB First-Year Player Draft out of LSU and spent all but the final two games of that season at the Rookie Level with Johnson City. He hit .313 with six home runs and 27 RBI in 44 contests. In 160 at bats he scored 19 runs, had 11 doubles, one triple, a .356 on base percentage, and a .506 slugging percentage for an .863 OPS.

Chinea began his career with a six-game hitting streak and collected an RBI in his first three games. He homered in back-to-back games on August 29 and 30. Thereby, the Cardinals promoted him to the New York-Penn League and played the final two games of the year with the State College Spikes in 2015.

A rocket for an arm, Chinea threw out 35% of base stealers. His impressive numbers earned him an Organizational All-Star nod.

Chinea showcased his skills during his junior season at LSU, where he earned 1st Team All-Louisiana, 2nd Team All-SEC, 1st Team ABCA All-South Region, NCAA Baton Rouge Regional All-Tournament Team and 3rd Team All-American honors.

During his senior year in high school, Chinea was the Miami Herald Player of the Year for Class 1A through 4A and a Baseball America and Louisville Slugger All-American at Gulliver Prep High School.

— Jerry Del Priore

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