In this ongoing series that will last most of spring training, we’re going to look at each player that will be in Major League camp with the Cincinnati Reds. Each post will have some information on the player. There will be some background information, profiling, projections, and more. To see all of the posts in the series, you can click here. Today we are going to look at relief pitcher Alex Powers, a non-roster invitee.
Alex Powers’ Background
Acquired: Originally drafted by the White Sox, 25th round, 2013. Signed by Cincinnati to a minor league contract in 2016.
Height/Weight: 6′ 4″ / 205 lbs.
Years of MLB Experience: None
Alex Powers was originally drafted by the Chicago White Sox in 2013. He played in their organization for two seasons before being released and never pitching beyond Low-A. In 2015 he played independent league baseball for New Jersey. The Reds signed him to a minor league contract in February of 2016 and he’s pitched in Advanced-A and Double-A for the organization ever since. Following the 2018 season the Reds sent him to the Arizona Fall League where he struck out 15 batters with four walks in 10.1 innings.
Alex Powers’ 2018 season
In 2018 Alex Powers had what has to be described as his breakout season. Serving as the closer for Double-A Pensacola he racked up 18 saves and posted a 2.34 ERA. In his 42.1 innings pitched he allowed just 3 home runs, 30 hits, walked 11 batters, and he struck out 55. The 26-year-old right-hander was then sent to the Arizona Fall League where he pitched in nine games for Scottsdale.
Alex Powers’ Playing History
Throughout his career, Alex Powers has always missed bats at the minor league level. His career strikeout rate is 10.7 batters per 9-innings pitched. His strikeout rate has never been lower than 8.9 batters per 9-innings at any stop in his career. But his walk rate has fluctuated a little bit over the years – but it’s been quite strong at times, too. He has been a bit of a late bloomer when it comes to performance at the upper levels.
Projecting Alex Powers for 2019
With plenty of depth in the bullpen, and without any Triple-A experience under his belt, it seems like a long shot for Alex Powers to see time in the Major Leagues early on. With that said, he’s also going to be 27-years-old at the end of February, so if and when the team feels he’s ready, there’s no reason to hold him back.
How could Alex Powers fit in Cincinnati in 2019?
As noted above, it’s very unlikely that Alex Powers would find a spot in the bullpen to start the year. But when we look at the ZiPS projection you can see a solid relief option on the depth chart. His stuff doesn’t overwhelm you, but it’s solid and could be useful as a 6th inning kind of reliever. He throws strikes, and he’s coming off of a strong performance in Double-A. It may take another strong year in Triple-A, and some injuries or lack of production to find him a spot in Cincinnati. But, if that day comes, he would likely fit in as one of the first guys to go to out of the bullpen to replace a starter.