Pitchers and catchers aren’t due to report until Thursday. Non-catcher position players aren’t due until Sunday. But that doesn’t mean some guys aren’t in Goodyear early. Jim Day, he of Fox Sports Ohio and The Jim Day Podcast (and Gym Day with Jim Day fame) arrived in Goodyear, Arizona today. And when he got there several position players were already on the field and taking swings.
Day, as a media member, knows how to use a cell phone to record and share some videos. And he graced all of us with the sounds of the bat cracking the baseball. Cincinnati Reds first baseman Joey Votto was up first.
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Last season saw two different Joseph Daniel Votto’s. The first one was unlike one we had seen in the past with an exaggerated crouched stance that also saw him choking up on the bat quite a bit. Then a few weeks into the second half he decided that simply wasn’t working (he was hitting .262/.347/.402 through July) and changed things up. Votto went back to a stance similar to what he had gone with in the past – more upright, no choking up – and it resulted in more power (his walk rate also improved dramatically, and his strikeout rate dropped slightly), and a better overall line as he hit .259/.380/.435 in August and September. It would appear that, at least for now, he’s sticking with the latter version of his 2019 self when it comes to his mechanics.
But it wasn’t just Joey Votto who showed up early. Just outside of the case we can see outfielder Jesse Winker awaiting his turn to step into the box and get some swings in. Winker missed the final month-and-a-half of the 2019 season with a neck injury. Nick Senzel has basically been living in Goodyear this offseason as he’s been rehabbing his way back from shoulder surgery that ended his season in early September. It was nearly a month ago (January 13th) that he began throwing for the first time since he was operated on. Today he was at the plate and taking swings.
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The first thing that jumps out is that this swing is not the one that Senzel switched to later in the year that seemed to lead to a month long slump. At Redsfest he noted that he would be going back to his previous swing that he had been using for pretty much his entire life. The day he began the switch he was hitting .285/.345/.474. After the switch he hit just .181/.239/.305 in 115 plate appearances before the shoulder injury cut the rest of the year short.
Most likely non-roster player to make the Reds?
Over at RedsMinorLeagues.com this morning we took a look at which non-roster invites to spring training had the best chance to make the Cincinnati Reds out of spring training. Only two players seemed to make much sense, but both still seem to be longshots given the depth of the 40-man roster.