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.
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.