Yesterday the Cincinnati Reds announced their spring training roster (though they can still add invitations). Anyone on the 40-man roster gets an invite automatically, but the team also extended invites to 19 non-roster players. Eight of those players were pitchers and the remaining 11 were position players. Today I wanted to look at who I think is the most and least likely to win a spot on the roster among those players.

The Pitchers

Who got invited: Nate Adcock, Jonathon Crawford, Nick Howard, Jon Moscot, Robert Stephenson, Nick Travieso, Michael Lorenzen, Jose Mijares

Among those pitchers on Jose Mijares is left handed. Nate Adcock is a right handed reliever and the remaining guys are all right handed starters.

The favorite to win a roster spot

While the Reds have two starting rotation spots open only Jon Moscot has any Triple-A experience among that group and it’s made up of less than 20.0 innings. Unless Moscot, Stephenson or Lorenzen just go out and have an incredible spring, I just think the lack of Triple-A experience will keep them out of contention. A good performance won’t be enough to win them a job. Crawford, Howard and Travieso have yet to pitch beyond the Low-A level, and while there’s a chance the latter two could jump to Double-A to begin 2015, they are in spring training to take things in, get some experience and learn from the older group.

The two relievers are where the favorite will come from among the pitchers. The bullpen needs help after the 2014 season saw few reliable options for the Reds. Both pitchers have big league experience. Nate Adcock has a 3.86 ERA in 105.0 innings split over three seasons. He has a big time arm, topping out over 97 MPH in 2014 at the big league level and is a groundball pitcher. He’s struggled with throwing strikes on a consistent basis in his career, but when he does, he has plenty of stuff to get big leaguers out. Jose Mijares has spent parts of six seasons in the big leagues and has a 3.23 ERA in 259.0 innings. He didn’t pitch at all in 2014 after opting out of his contract with the Red Sox in spring training last year. He did pitch in the Venezuela Winter League this year, throwing in 36 games with a 1.61 ERA between the regular season and the playoffs thus far. With the Reds search for a left handed reliever last season, Jose Mijares would be my favorite from this group to grab a roster spot heading into spring training.

The Position Players

Who got invited: Ramon Cabrera, Kyle Skipworth, Chad Wallach, Ivan De Jesus, Irving Falu, Josh Satin, Neftali Soto, Brennan Boesch, Ryan LaMarre, Felix Perez, Jesse Winker

Three catchers lead the list to join the three that are already on the 40-man roster to give the pitchers plenty of guys to throw to early in the spring and all are newcomers to the system. Two middle infielders, De Jesus and Falu find themselves with invites in their first season as Reds. Josh Satin and Neftali Soto round out the infielders. Outfielder Brennan Boesch, Ryan LaMarre, Felix Perez and Jesse Winker will all be getting to spring training early to work with the big leaguers.

The favorite to win a roster spot

The Reds catching position seems locked up with the guys on the 40-man roster. Unless two guys get injured during the spring, a catching position won’t be open. Jesse Winker isn’t going to be placed on the bench and since a starting spot isn’t available, he is heading to camp to get experience and learn from the veterans.

The infield and outfield both seem to have a roster spot that could be up for grabs. Among the players yet to be named only Ryan LaMarre and Felix Perez don’t have big league experience. That puts them at a slight disadvantage, but the guys that do have big league time are all non-roster invitees for a reason at this point in their career and like those two, have something they need to prove. Brennan Boesch tore through the minor leagues in 2014 but has struggled in the big leagues recently and isn’t really a center field option. He does bring a left handed bat with power potential off of the bench. Ryan LaMarre can play a strong center field and handle both corners well. He also brings speed on the bases, but LaMarre has struggled with the bat for the past few seasons. Felix Perez can handle center in a pinch, but defensively he fits much better in the corners. As a left handed bat he brings something that LaMarre doesn’t, but he lacks the speed to be a true asset off of the bench.

The team likes to have someone who can back up shortstop, That would seem to give Irving Falu and Ivan De Jesus a nod as potential favorites since both could cover the position. With the addition of Eugenio Suarez and maybe Kristopher Negron on the roster, the ability to play shortstop may not come into play. What could though is the ability to play first base as well as other positions given the relative health of Joey Votto. While Votto says he’s healthy and the Reds say he’s healthy, the team still probably feels they need someone other than their backup catcher to play first base (or so I hope they feel that way, because it’s a poor plan otherwise). That could give the edge to Neftali Soto or Josh Satin, both of whom play both corner infield positions and could provide backup services at first base for Votto if he were to need a day off once a week.

The favorite from this group is a tough pick, as I could see several players taking a roster spot, but my gut tells me to lean towards Josh Satin. He’s a good plate discipline guy, has had some success in the big leagues in limited action, can provide a backup for Joey Votto and probably is best suited to be a solid bat off of the bench among the players.

34 Responses

  1. WVRedlegs

    Satin and Boesch seem to be the best bets. But every spring there is a surprise player that hits rather well. Only time will tell.

  2. Art Wayne Austin

    Reds were high on Ramon to come back, did Suarez take his spot?

  3. JMO

    F Perez and Boesch. Satin and Soto as well. J Mijares and Adcock for the BP. If Skip was let go, then our bench would have 2 open spots and IMO, would be a better bench. In that scenario, I would roll with BOTH F Perez and Soto. Boesch and Satin would work as well. If Marshall isn’t healthy to start the year, I would expect Mijares to make it. Adcock could be valuable to the Reds, if he gets his control straightened out.

  4. doctor

    is the thought that Suarez will make big league team? or likely stashed at AAA to get more AAA playing time as the was rushed to majors by Tigers needs. It would seem Negron would be backup SS/2B guy for any days off or short term(week) injury.

    Given the lack of promotion for Soto and release/re-sign, would seem team is keeping hime for AAA filler and Satin would be likley corner IF backup, assuming not a complete disaster of spring training.

    • Doug Gray

      If the Reds put Suarez in the minors then I don’t even know how to respond. Unless he goes out and just flat out looks lost and overwhelmed, there’s no reason to put him in the minors. He should probably be the starting shortstop and if it weren’t for Cozart actually having been a Red last year I can’t think of a reason that anyone would actually start Cozart over Suarez.

      • lwblogger2

        I’d tend to agree with you but the way Walt Jocketty was talking about it on reds.com, it would appear it is Cozart’s job to lose. He did make clear though that Cozart needed to improve his offense if he wanted to keep the regular SS job though.

      • Thegafffer

        Cozart will start the year, but as he is a notoriously slow starter (actually he is awful most of the time) I bet Suarez is playing 3-5 days a week by the end of May. If last year is any indication, whoever is hot in the spring will sit the first 3 games to get icy cold (see: Heisey, Chris).

      • Michael E

        Suarez is only 23, and if they have him in MLB but on the bench, then it would be better to send him to AAA to get ABs and get better.

        The Tigers probably played him too soon. He would be as good as Cosart, but if you’re going to play Cosart, don’t waste a year of low pay time and lack of ABs for Suarez at MLB level.

      • ohiojimw

        Doug, I agree with your assessment but I also believe the Reds won’t cut the cord on Cozart quickly after putting up with him for 3 years without even ever bringing in any legit competition before now.

        And we both know they aren’t going to pay him $2M plus to ride the pine as the good glove no hit 25th man.

        Hopefully during the spring somebody (AL club where his lack of hitting won’t matter as much) will offer enough of a face saving prospect that the Reds will move him.

        Failing that is where I see the scenario of Suarez playing every day at AAA until they can find a way to dump Cozart.

      • Woodrow068

        But. Reds paid Jack Hannahan $2 million a year to ride the pine as the good glove no hit … well 23rd or 24th man.

      • Ryan

        They pay Skip Schumaker $2M to serve as the no glove and not hit 25th man.

  5. Ron

    Who cares? Reds did nothing to improve this off season… actually may have taken a step back. If Votto and Bruce etal. don’t have career years it could be a very long season

    • redmountain

      You are completely wrong about the Reds doing nothing. They are bfringing 19 players to Spring Training, some with a legitimate chance to make the team, or be help at AAA. They probably are not done doing all that they will do.

  6. Daytonian

    Satin and Boesch both have a good chance to make the club.

    • Thegafffer

      Those are not very exciting additions. Negron being able to play INF and OF gives them flexibility to have a DH type, like these guys. I just hope to god they have someone who plays ahead of Schumaker.

      • Michael E

        What invitees are exciting Gaffer? Answer, none, or they’d be signed and on a team from the get go.

        That said, I am very interested in how Boesch performs. He had streaks where he mashed for weeks at a time with Detroit and then got benched or platooned. I think he just needed a change of scenery and more steady ABs. He could be a big surprise. Satin also is intriguing, but not quite at the level of Boesch.

      • Thegaffer

        Point taken, but most years non-roster players are not depended on to take serious playing time from signed players. I don’t think we had any non roster position players make it in a few years. This year that needs to be the case, unless we see Skip as comeback player of the year.

  7. gusnwally

    While I agree they are not very exciting additions they may be valuable. If they are just decent players it could be all we need. Let’s not kid ourselves, if Joey and Jay don’t return to their top form all is lost.

    • Michael Smith

      If they dont return to top form even with big additions the team would be sunk.

  8. Ryan Lykins (@ryan_lykins)

    With the amount of guys here to choose from to fill out the bench it really is perplexing how Skip still has a roster spot. I do believe every player mentioned would have a better season than Skip if given the chance. It is a shame he hasn’t been cut. Maybe he will start the season on the DL after having surgery this off season.

      • Thegaffer

        He has a career 1.7 WAR, over 10 years and is now 34. Heisey has 2.7 in 5 years for reference. Votto has never had less than 4 WAR in any year. That injury at least kept him off the field.

      • Tom Gray

        WAR schmore. Schumaker is better than he showed in 2014 based on his career. He’s near the end of it but he’s better than 2014 would predict.

      • MrRed

        But what are you basing that on, Tom? He’s another year older and coming off shoulder surgery. Why would he get better? And more importantly, why would you expect him to be better than younger, more athletic and healthier options?

      • redsfan06

        Up until 2014, Schu had a good OBP, which the Reds could use. So they need to take a look at him in spring training. If he isn’t fully recovered, they should DL like they did with Hannahan last year to open up a roster spot.

        The combination of age and trying to come back from an injury makes him a candidate to be another Ludwick. I know…I know, Ludwick was actually one of the Reds better hitters in the LF mess last year. But it was still a poor performance. If Schu can’t do any better, I would just as soon see the Reds release him and give someone else a chance. Like Ludwick, Schu has no redeeming qualities in the field to make up for ineffective hitting.

  9. aceistheplace2

    I’m honestly confused as to why Boesch was ever cut/not resigned with any of the teams he was with (DET NYY LAA), or even why he wasn’t in the majors at least as a bench player. Doing a very quick look at his career numbers, yes it seems as if hes has fallen a bit (who doesnt with age), but he can honestly be a very good bat and player. See last year (granted it was AAA) he absolutley destroyed it. I honestly think having Boesch on the bench would be an upgrade to Heisey (with honestly no offense to Heisey or his fans, I liked the guy).

    He will make a significant impact as either a platoon player with Byrd, a 4th OF, or a platoon with Bruce if he doesn’t return to career norms.

    • Doug Gray

      In the last three years he’s shown that he will swing at anything thrown within a foot of the plate and at the big league level, you simply can’t do that and be successful.

      • Carl Sayre

        There are way to many players on this team that could be said about. There seems to be a mindset towards aggressive (stupid) PA. That is why I can’t understand the disdain I see on here for Votto having plate discipline. Know the strike zone, swing at strikes it is a simple concept. It is not however a simple thing to do that is why they get the big bucks. I have seen reams with less discipline at the plate I just don’t remember who it might have been.

    • Kevin Michell

      Interesting. Baker was used mostly as a reliever last year, I wonder if he’d be looked at as a starter in Spring Training. I can’t say I like the idea of him being the fifth starter or taking AAA starts away from our prospects, though.

  10. JoshG

    man, I sure am thinking I’d rather have Aoki for 4.7m this year with a 5.5m option for next year than Byrd ( and Minus Lively)

    • JoshG

      and I was actually in favor of the Byrd trade, but Aoki for the similar money(possibly less $ if Byrd’s vesting option kicks in). And Aoki would address the bigger ( than HR power) OBP issue

      • Grand Salami

        Yeah, I thought we’d be paying twice the amount for Aoki. Now we are down a good AA starter and we still don’t have an OBP guy outside of our two breakout stars and Votto.