According to the collective bargaining agreement, players don’t actually have to show up to spring training until February 26th. That said, no one actually holds teams to that part of the contract and teams begin their spring training a bit earlier than that. The Cincinnati Reds have a report date for spring training this year for pitchers and catchers of February 17th – that’s this Wednesday! – but some players have already arrived in Goodyear.
Tejay Antone posted a video over on instagram on Sunday of one of the practice fields at the Cincinnati Reds Development Facility. The right-handed pitcher was one of the breakout rookies in the 2020 season in Major League Baseball. Antone split time between the rotation and the bullpen for the Reds, throwing 35.1 innings with a 2.80 ERA, 20 hits allowed, 16 walks, and he picked up 45 strikeouts. In his minor league career, Antone had always been a starting pitcher, but last season he filled whatever role Cincinnati needed. According to general manager Nick Krall, the now 27-year-old will be fighting for a spot in the rotation along with Wade Miley, Michael Lorenzen, Jose De León, and Jeff Hoffman. It seems that Antone is ready to get things going and try to grab one of the two spots up for the taking in the rotation.
Catcher Tucker Barnhart is also out in Goodyear early this spring. Half of the team’s catching duo, Barnhart was taking some swings on the backfields over the weekend and shared one such swing over on twitter.
Sadaharu Oh anyone… pic.twitter.com/Q4AsLU0CJP
— Tucker Barnhart (@Tucker_Barnhart) February 12, 2021
The Dayton Dragons announce their coaching staff
There’s been a lot of changes in the minor leagues over the last year. A bunch of teams no longer exist in affiliated baseball. But even the ones that stuck around are finding themselves in newly aligned leagues and some at entirely different levels of the minors. The Dayton Dragons are one of those teams that are at a new level. In the past they had been at the Low-A level, but in 2021 they will be moving up to the High-A level (and the Daytona Tortugas are making the opposite switch, going from High-A to Low-A).
On Monday morning the Dragons and Reds announced the coaching staff for the team. They will have a new coach this year in Jose Moreno. He’ll have pitching coach Brian Garman, hitting coach Daryle Ward, and development coach Darren Bragg on his coaching staff. You can read more about each of them at RedsMinorLeagues.com. The Double-A Chattanooga Lookouts coaching staff was announced last month. We’re still awaiting the announcements for the Daytona Tortugas and Louisville Bats coaching staffs.
Former Reds reliever Jared Hughes is retiring
Jared Hughes announced his retirement from baseball over the weekend. In his announcement, made on instagram, he joked that “I’ve hung up my cleats. It was time. They were worn out from all the sprinting.”
Hughes spent parts of two seasons with the Reds – a full year in 2018 and a partial season in 2019 before being selected off waivers in mid-August by the Phillies. During his time with the Reds he pitched in 119 games and had a 2.76 ERA in 127.0 innings. Over the course of his 10-year big league career he posted a 2.96 ERA in 542 games between 2011-2020.
Really enjoy watching Tejay pitch – he attacks hitters w/ good sinking FB and very nice sweeping curve. Truly believe he is best in relief as a piggy back starter. He seems to b less effective after 3-4 innings?
Very true. Guys that pitch low in the zone do better than most at GABP (or probably just about anywhere else in the majors). I didn’t get to see Tejay a whole lot last season, but the times I did he seemed to be pretty effective. His 3.65 FIP was not exactly elite caliber, but probably well within MLB averages. Either way it was a low sample size. As far as the IP, i noticed he didn’t usually throw more than 80 pitches per start. That could have been him just getting a bit wild later into games or they were trying to manage his pitch counts (maybe a bit of both). If he ends up in the rotation I don’t expect the innings workload to increase dramatically. Reds are trying to make it a point not to wear out young arms too early.
MLB average FIP was 4.51 last year. He was significantly better than average.
As for Antone’s work load – it was likely far more due to the fact that they had been using him as a reliever, so he wasn’t “stretched out”. In 2019 he made 12 starts with 90+ pitches. He’s a 5-6 inning guy if asked to be.
Here in Jacksonville, FL, our minor league team just got upgraded to AAA from AA (Marlins farm team). While in a different division, they are in the same 3 division league as the Louisville Bats so really hoping Louisville makes a yearly trip to Jax as they will be an interesting team this year especially our AAA rotation of youngsters preparing for late 2021 or 2022 MLB debuts.
Due to the uncertainty for this team to stay in games going in to 2021, we’ll need guys like Tejay to pitch well. After Castillo and Gray there are a bunch of question marks. Barring a major meltdown, I can see Miley getting handed the 3rd spot just because he has the most starting experience. After that it will be a contest for the last two spots between Lorenzen and Antone IMO.
I believe Mahle gets the 3rd spot. The last two spots will be between the other 3.
Wait, how did i forget about Tyler Mahle? Good point.
How? I feel I speak for most of us when I say the last year has put so much stress on our brains that we are all functioning at a different spot than we’re used to. Everyone gets a break these days for slip ups like this.
If Miley is healthy he takes the fourth spot; Antone and Lorenzen battle for the fifth. That leaves the loser to provide a great arm in the pen.
Sorry to hear Hughes is hanging it up. He pitched real well for the Reds in 2018 and was an amusing guy.
I think chances are good for DeLeon too… Honestly, I can see a rotation of Gray, Castillo, Mahle, Antone, and DeLeon. I think Lorenzen is going to start in the pen again. If there isn’t a DH, he’ll be pretty valuable there. Its been awhile since we’ve seen Miley be Wade Miley… while he carries a reputation of being an innings eater, he also is infamous for tipping pitches. I wonder if a guy like that would do better being less exposed and coming out of the pen for multiple innings or as a starter given a quick hook. That said, if he comes out showing some magic, I think he has to make the rotation. What I’m most interested in though, is seeing how fit Kyle Farmer comes into camp. I saw a picture of Garcia… he may not hit… but if he does…he looks like he could hit it a long ways.
Pretty clear that Lorenzen wants and expects to be in the rotation:
Gotta give him credit… he says pretty much the same thing every year.
I enjoyed watching Jared Hughes spinning worm killers and sprinting in from the bullpen. He was a good guy.
An interesting point to ponder — I was reading an article today on The Athletic about lefthander Rich Hill agreeing to terms with Tampa Bay. Apparently, Tampa’s plan is to have up to 10 different pitchers who can start games for them in 2021. Some of that is due to the team’s unique strategy of pitcher usage, which some say is tied to suppressing stats for starters, resulting in lower arbitration awards.
Some is due to the fact that pitchers, in general, didn’t get the innings count last year due to the shortened season, and that teams are preparing again for another year with frequent pitcher injuries. Maybe that’s the intended role for all of the pitchers the Reds picked up off waivers. But it seems like there are plenty of experienced starters out there still who could be signed to minor league contracts and be ready to bring up if and when needed.
Who would be the Reds 6-10 starters?
Antone/Lorenzen, de Leon, Hoffman, Santillan, Brandon Bailey
I agree with your top 4, but I’d swap Gutierrez in for Bailey.
Who else forgot that Finnegan is on the 40 man roster? Any news or hope there?
If Finnegan can’t get straightened out by our pitching department, that might be it for him.
Though, the pitching department and his past success might be reason for him to be a dark horse this year.
Doug, can you link to old minor league articles of yours about Finnegan that would talk about his potential at that time? It would be interesting because he had potential and somewhat realized it.
He’s not on the 40-man roster.
My mistake, must have been looking at the roster a few years back – but still listed as pre-arb eligible with the Reds – will he be in camp? Was he at Prasco last year? Or is he about to follow the Travieso path?
Oh disregard – just having brain cramps – saw your article over on the minor league page – was at Prasco, is invited to camp. Hope it works out – he had talent.
So long Jared Hughes. Baseball will truly miss you. You were certainly a very fun and interesting character. Not to mention a fine pitcher for many years I wish more pro athletes would play with the same attitude that you displayed over the years. Having elite talent is a wonderful gift. And you certainly made the most of yours
Bauer can’t be replaced on the mound or in the dugout but barring injury the Reds have enough arms to keep us in most games.Miley for me is the key.Soft tossing lefties can be tough to hit when they have their control but can be batting practice at times when they don’t.If he can get us to the 6th or 7th more times then not is what I hope for.Antone could be really really good.At age 27 he could just take off and its possible because of his swing and miss stuff.Missing bats is crucial in todays game and even more so with our defense.
I see the rotation as Castillo, Gray, Mahle, Miley, Lorenzen
Bullpen; Garret, Sims, Antone, Doolittle, Ramirez, Hoffman, DeLeon, Romano