Over the last two weeks we have looked at the pitchers that are entering spring training as non-roster invitees. Today we will look into the infielders that will be joining the Cincinnati Reds as a non-roster invitee for spring training and talk about their chances of making the team. Here is the list of guys who fall into that category:
|Ivan De Jesus||2B/3B/SS||5/1/1987|
The Cincinnati Reds picked up Cabrera as a minor league free agent after the 2014 season. He’s spent time with both the Pirates and Tigers organizations. The now 25-year-old catcher has hit well in Double-A, where he has a career.283/.350/.371 line with 119 walks and 121 strikeouts. He’s struggled to throw out baserunners in the minor leagues, not topping the 30% mark since 2009 when he was in rookie ball. The Reds have three catchers on the 40-man roster, so unless there are multiple injuries it would take an incredible spring to see Cabrera come north with the team.
Much like Cabrera, the Reds signed Kyle Skipworth after the 2014 season as a minor league free agent. He was the 6th overall pick in the 2008 draft but he’s struggled mightily to hit at any level, with a career .218/.284/.387 line to go along with 177 walks and 752 strikeouts. His plate discipline has been a big problem throughout his career. He’s shown good power but that’s about all he’s been able to do offensively. He’s in camp to catch some innings early on and hopefully pick up some pointers from the Reds veteran players while in camp.
Cincinnati picked up Chad Wallach in the trade of Mat Latos to Miami back in December. The catcher is relatively new to the position, making the switch in his sophomore year of college. After an initial struggle after being drafted, he hit .322/.431/.457 at two stops in A-ball in 2014 with more walks than strikeouts. Defensively he’s still got some rounding out to do and with no experience above A-ball, there’s next to no shot he makes the club out of the spring.
Ivan De Jesus
Former Dodgers top prospect Ivan De Jesus signed with the Reds as a minor league free agent in the offseason. He’s had plenty of success in the minor leagues, hitting .305/.372/.418 at the Double-A and Triple-A levels in his career. He’s had 80 plate appearances in the Majors, most recently in 2012. The infielder has spent plenty of time at shortstop and second base over the last two minor league seasons with a little bit of time at third base thrown in there. With plenty of upper minors experience mixed in with a little big league time and plenty of infield versatility he could be in the running with a strong spring for a spot on the bench.
One of the more recent signings by the Reds, Chris Dominguez was released by the Giants the first week of February and picked up by the Reds shortly after. The infielder got his first and only taste of the big leagues in 2014 and it didn’t go well as he went 1-17 in his call up, but he did make the one count as he hit a home run. Much like Kyle Skipworth, plate discipline has been an issue for Dominguez who has 134 career minor league walks to go with 724 career strikeouts. He’s hit .278/.312/.446 at the Triple-A level, so he has had some sort of success at the plate in the upper levels. He’s spent a lot of his time at third base on the defensive side of the ball, but in 2014 he played 15 or more games at first base, third, shortstop, left field and right field. There’s a lot of defensive versatility for Dominguez and that bodes well for a potential bench player. His bat leaves a lot to be desired as his plate discipline is quite poor, but he does provide good pop . Don’t write him off as he does enough that with a good spring he could sneak into a bench spot as a super utility player with power off of the bench.
The Reds picked up the now 32-year-old Irving Falu after the 2014 season on a minor league deal. He’s seen time in the Majors in each of the last three seasons, hitting .277/.320/.345 in 130 plate appearances. While in Triple-A last season with the Brewers organization, Falu hit .291/.343/.356 with 21 walks and 22 strikeouts over 282 plate appearances. He doesn’t have much power, but he walks as often as he strikes out and makes a ton of contact. Over the last two seasons he’s spent time at shortstop, second base, third base and right field. With some good defensive versatility and a very contact oriented bat, a good spring could put Falu in the running for a spot on the Reds bench.
Another polished hitter that the Reds brought in on a minor league contract following the 2014 season, Josh Satin has experience in each of the last four years in the big leagues. He had a great start in 2013 with the Mets before tailing off and hitting .279/.376/.405 in 221 plate appearances. In the 2014 season he hit .289/.386/.439 at the Triple-A level with 61 walks and 79 strikeouts, but he didn’t hit for much power despite playing in the Pacific Coast League. Defensively he’s spent time in the last three seasons playing first base, second base, third base and left field at the minor league level. He’s only played at first and third base at the big league level.He’s struggled, granted in a limited sample size, at the big league level with the exception of the 2013 season, but his plate discipline would be a welcomed addition to the Reds bench if he can translate it well from the minor leagues. He provides some defensive flexibility which also would be beneficial as a utility player. With a good spring he could be in the running or a spot on the bench.
After testing the free agent waters following the 2014 season Neftali Soto returned to the Reds and signed a minor league deal. He’s really struggled at the big league level, going 3-42 in two seasons. The 2014 season at Triple-A was the best he has had at the level, hitting .302/.350/.406 for Louisville in 303 plate appearances with 21 walks and 41 strikeouts. With how the Reds have used him in the past, it’d be surprising if he got much of an opportunity to make the club out of spring training, but he can provide some position flexibility, covering the corner infield spots and even being an emergency third catcher if needed.
Who fits a need?
The Reds aren’t really looking for a catcher unless two injuries pop up as they already have three catchers on their 40-man roster. Everyone else would fit a need of sorts. The team needs back up middle infielders who have a clue with the bat and that could be De Jesus or Falu. The team could use corner infielders who can back up Frazier and Votto or provide some pop off of the bench and that could be Dominguez or Satin. Neftali Soto has hit for plenty of power in the past and if that guy shows up in the spring he too could fill that need. De Jesus or Falu would seem like the favorites as they can play shortstop if needed and that tends to go a long way with how the Reds build their bench.