A hamstring injury has kept outfielder Shogo Akiyama out of the lineup, both in spring training and the regular season, for the last three weeks. Working his way back, Akiyama is currently rehabbing with the Cincinnati Reds alternate site team in Louisville. He’s not close to being ready to play in games there, yet, but he’s getting on-field work in a little bit and that environment may be better suited than in Cincinnati where there’s a more rigid situation with preparation on a daily basis for games to prepare for. Manager David Bell spoke about the potential timeline for games in Louisville for Akiyama, and when he could possibly return to Cincinnati.

“Towards the end of the month is the hope,” said Bell of when he could begin playing in rehab games. “Everything’s kind of on track. No date set for when he’ll be back here, but he’s definitely progressing well. I hope, kind of reading between the lines, is that we’ll have him back some time early-to-mid May here. He would need a bit of a ‘spring training’ before that happens. Hopefully by the end of the month he’ll be playing games.”

So far it’s only been six games missed this season for Shogo Akiyama. The Reds haven’t missed him much at this point with Tyler Naquin playing the part of Babe Ruth in his absence so far. But getting Akiyama back will help out Cincinnati, bringing some on-base and defense to the team.

The first Reds Taxi Squad of the year

At least for now there is still going to be a taxi squad that goes on the road when teams in Major League Baseball travel. The Cincinnati Reds just finished up a 5-1 home stand against the St. Louis Cardinals and Pittsburgh Pirates. Starting on Friday they are traveling out west, first to take on Arizona and then they’ll head to San Francisco to take on the Giants. Here’s the 5-man Taxi Squad that will be with the Reds on the trip out west:

  • Heath Hembree – RHP
  • Art Warren – RHP
  • Beau Taylor – C
  • Max Schrock – IF
  • Mark Payton – OF

Everyone digs the long ball

For as much as some people want to bring up that a team shouldn’t rely on the home run to score runs, those same people jump out of their seats when their favorite team’s player hits one. Home runs are great. It’s a guaranteed run (or more). And through the first week of the Major League Baseball season no one has more of them than the Cincinnati Reds. The team has an OPS over 1.000, so they’ve been doing hitting of all kinds. But their 14 homers stand out, too – it’s the most in the league. The combination of Nick Castellanos and Tyler Naquin have out-homered 18 teams.

The longest home run came off of the bat of Tyler Naquin on Tuesday when he hit one 454 feet that bounced once on the concourse and then out of the stadium. The homer by Eugenio Suárez on Opening Day against the Cardinals is the shortest – coming in at 346 feet.

50 Responses

  1. Gonzo Reds

    It’s apparent we’re too deep at OF with Naquin joining the mix with productive playing time due to Winker being out. I’d hate to see Aquino optioned again as I think he’s valuable off the bench for power and defense. Was pretty cool seeing AA’s interactions with Casty after the late inning HR with the hugs etc.

    Not crazy about this being the time we have a West coast trip as we all know how we do when we go West but I guess Zona and SF better destinations right now than LA/SD, so hopefully we can at minimum split before heading home.

    Sims looking like our best closing option right now until Amir gets things figured out. Hopefully, we’ll also be getting Sonny back for one of those road starts.

    Reply
    • AllTheHype

      Aquino won’t be optioned again because he’s ineligible.

      Reply
      • David

        Well, meaning we would likely lose him trying to get him through waivers. He is out of Minor League options.

  2. centerfield

    Doug, what are the rules for the taxi squad? I assume this is primarily a covid-19 protocol. Is the taxi squad going to be a “thing” through the entire season or just until the minor leagues start playing games?

    Reply
    • Doug Gray

      I would guess so, but I honestly don’t know and I’m only at like a 60/40 in terms of confidence that it makes a ton of sense to do it. With in-take testing and stuff they are still doing right now, that kind of puts everything up in the air as to how they would handle that once the minor league games start and these guys are “out there” more and more.

      Reply
  3. Redsvol

    if he’s not going to be back till mid-may then I don’t see the harm in putting him on the 60 day DL so we can keep Aquino longer and see what we have there. That way Shogo can get extra time to heal – his game relies on his legs. By June we will probably need him.

    Reply
    • MK

      I remember Sparky talking about Willie McCovey towards the end of his career when he was no longer a starter. He said at the end of game I always have to keep in mind Willie is over there. I hope Aquino stays just for that purpose.

      Reply
  4. MK

    A lot of big roster moves looming in the next month. Who loses a spot on roster or rotation when Sonny’s ready? Lorenzen needs a roster spot and with Gray back he becomes a surplus 7th starter or bullpener. What position player goes for Shogo and does Winker start? Wonder what the trade value is for Lorenzen or Shogo? A lot can happen by mid May. Should be interesting.
    .

    Reply
    • Doug Gray

      The roster decisions could be big. But there’s still some baseball to be played before then and injuries could happen that open up spots all on their own.

      I can’t imagine Shogo having much trade value right now.

      Reply
  5. Jimbo44CN

    Don’t get me wrong, I like Shogo, but I can’t see him starting over anyone we have playing now, or taking the place of anyone on the bench. I think we keep what we got as in the saying, if it ain’t broke. Doug, Could we possibly trade him?

    Reply
  6. Mark

    Can Shogo be possibly optioned to Louisville for the foreseeable future until an injury might occur? Do the Reds have this option?

    Reply
    • Doug Gray

      Yes, he could be. But I have zero belief that he will be.

      Reply
      • 2020ball

        I could see them optioning Shogo if Naquin keeps this pace; whats less likely to me is waiving Aquino or carrying 6 OF. Lot of time before that decision needs to be made though.

      • Doug Gray

        You think that they are going to option a 30-something-year-old player they signed for $7M a season and is their first ever Japanese player to the minor leagues because he had 1 terrible month of baseball last season? There’s almost no way that’s happening. No Japanese player would ever sign here again.

      • Lost11found

        Whats the max number of games a rehab assignment can be. The option is a valid idea given the injury cut short his camp too.

        From a PR perspective, I see what your saying but if you convince shogo of the plan and have pre-set recall made public, it’d be a clever way to get him extra rehab AB’s if needed.

      • Doug Gray

        The MLBPA would never allow such a deal you are suggesting to take place. Position players can get 20 day rehab stints before they must return.

      • 2020ball

        I said nothing about 1 month of terrible baseball, I like Shogo and I think the Reds do too. I’m not sure where any of that came from.

        If Naquin elevates himself to the same level, then an organization trying to win would use their options based on who they think is the better player at that time. The cultural impact is of course all valid, so it depends how the Reds value the future Asian market. He obviously shouldnt be in the minors and hasnt earned that, but I see no reason why he shouldn’t at least be rehabbing in the minors; something we can probably agree will happen anyway. I can see them leaving him there, but the stars have to align for that to happen and Naquin needs to continue his pace. If I was a betting man I have my bet on them optioning Naquin when all this is said and done, but I personally can see them optioning Shogo as well.

  7. Hotto4Votto

    Well, given another month’s worth of game will provide clarity with the OF mix. Will Naquin and Aquino continue their good starts or will someone fall off? Will the Reds start working on trade proposals to see what’s out there?

    Reply
  8. west larry

    I think , as Redsvol suggested, Shogo should be moved to the sixty day d l. That would give us a little breathing space to resolve the outfield situation. Tyler Naquin has the greatest trade value. He is thirty, on the hot streak of his life, and apparently has two options available. Could we trade him for some ones best prospect? I know it sounds crazy to trade someone that hot – but, at thirty, I doubt he remains Babe Ruth for an entire season.

    Reply
    • AllTheHype

      Why would you move Shogo to 60 day when he can just be optioned and play and be ready instead?

      Reply
      • 2020ball

        Yeah I dont see why you’d 60 DL him, the only reason you’d do that is if you really needed the 40 man spot.

    • greenmtred

      He wouldn’t be likely to stay this hot if he were 25. I hope that they continue to play really well, of course, and they might, but the biggest producers goin forward aren’t likely to be the same as the current ones. It seems really unlikely to me that any team would trade its best prospect for Naquin: he’s playing great now, but he’s never been this player before.

      Reply
  9. JB WV

    With Naquin and Senzel’s injury history there’s no need to think about moving anyone right now. Joey’s going to have to give up some playing time. Senzel can take an occasional turn at third and Moose can play first.

    Reply
    • Gonzo Reds

      I suspect in that scenario where Joey sits and Moose covers for him that Kyle Farmer will be in the mix to play SS or 2B with India or Suarez to 3B. We’ve also already seen them sub in Blandino at 1B and Winker can play there in a pinch as well. I don’t see Senzel coming back to the infield at all even though it makes sense to many of us.

      Reply
      • BK

        Has Winker ever played a game at 1B in the minors or ST? I don’t recall him doing so.

      • Doug Gray

        Don’t have spring training defensive assignments, but he’s never done so in actual games that count in the bigs or the minors.

      • JB WV

        You’re probably right about Farmer moving to short; it’s frustrating that Senzel’s not being prepped for multiple positions. If/when Suarez gets in a rhythm at the plate, getting that extra outfield bat in the lineup would be sweet.

      • MK

        Hard to be prepped when your time on the field is limited. Plus Senzel needs to prove he can be an average MLB offensive center fielder first.

  10. kevinz

    Shogo the perfect Bench type.
    Nice to have for when Injuries strike.
    Injuries and Regression will happen.
    Back to a Marathon of 162, not a Sprint of 60 Games.
    Get well Shogo.

    Reply
  11. RedsFan11

    Love the enthusiasm but gotta pump the breaks folks. It’s been 6 games. 96.3% of the season left 🙂

    Reply
    • Darrel S.

      Yeah. I get the “pump the brakes” idea – but take it from someone who “pumped the brakes” too much in the 1990 season – you can miss all the fun messing with the brakes. 🙂 Go Redlegs!!

      Reply
    • Indydoug

      Reds started out 5-1 in 2016 or 2017 and wound up 68-94.

      Reply
  12. MBS

    I like how the outfield has shown up, but I can’t believe people are already writing Shogo off. He was a near GG last season, and showed he was an ideal lead off hitter. Shogo is a starter.

    Reply
    • Indy Red Man

      Zero HRs in gabp? He can get on base and that has value, but I don’t see who he beats out at this point? Near GG isn’t something I buy either? Not with his lollipop arm. Now a case could be made that 155 at-bats in the bigs was just enough for him to get a taste and he could improve? I like our other guys though. Shogo just seems like insurance at this point.

      Reply
      • MBS

        A lead off guys job is to get on base. In the second half of last year (September), Akiyama had a .317 AVG .456 OBP.

        I also wish we had 3 Mike Trouts in the OF. Castellanos and Winker are poor defenders, Winker and Shogo have weak arms. Senzel and Winker are injury prone. We have who we have and they are pretty good, but you can point out flaws with all of them.

    • RojoBenjy

      In my opinion the manager didn’t play Shogo enough last year for anyone to know anything for sure about him

      Reply
    • MK

      Nobody writing him off, wondering who he replaces on the roster, as well as Winker. You don’t have to replace one on 26-man but two, as well 2 on pitching staff.

      Reply
  13. Old Big Ed

    The Reds’ team OPS is 1.002, and its OPS+ is 165. Votto’s OPS+ is only 18, although he has seemed to hit the ball fairly hard so far.

    Reply
  14. David

    Tyler Naquin is this year’s Scooter Gennett. I saw him play a lot of AAA ball with the Columbus Clippers (Indian farm team), and he seemed like a pretty good outfielder. But not quite this good. Especially the power. If he batted .290, I would not be surprised, but the power is something else.

    But who knows? Maybe this is his year.

    Reply
    • RojoBenjy

      I like the Derek Dietrich analogy a little better.

      Let the Reds ride his hot streak while it lasts. And hope that Bell doesn’t keep playing him after he’s cooled.

      Reply
      • 2020ball

        I have waaay more confidence Naquin can sustain this than I did Dietrich

      • RojoBenjy

        @2020

        That would be a welcome thing

      • Roger Garrett

        Dietrich has enough on the back of his card to kind of let you know what was going to happen.Naquin is interesting in that he is a pretty good all round player and maybe just maybe he is this year’s Scooter.When he killed the ball to the pull side its one thing but when you go to the left of center and then straight away left thats another thing.

      • 2020ball

        Naquin has really quick hands, I’ve liked a lot I’ve seen from him at the plate. I never felt the same of Dietrich, who I liked as a bench bat and for the magnet on his lead elbow.

  15. Roger Garrett

    Reds have some interesting decisions to make but until they do otherwise the money plays.Shogo will play and play a lot.Injuries make it easier of course but he will play.Right now if he were healthy Naquin or Aquino or both of them would not be on this roster and one or both will be gone when he returns.Not saying its the right thing its just the way it will play out.

    Reply
  16. James

    I was kinda surprised when he’s not coming until May!?
    I think it was a minor injury? We still got Tyler Naquin so I can’t complain about not having good outfield.

    Reply
  17. Kevin Patrick

    I have to think the Reds would still be an interesting trade partner for a third baseman. I mean…for the right shortstop, or starting pitcher, The Reds could trade 2 outfielders or even 2 infielders and be ok…and still have outfield depth in Payton and depth in infield with Blandino.

    Reply
    • Optimist

      Very interesting to compare Naquin and Winker – many stats almost identical, BUT 4 notable differences – Winker has 1) many more BBs, 2) many fewer strikeouts, 3) is 3 years younger, though 4) Naquin is a better to much better defensive player. Considering Naquin was picked up after being released, I wonder if their trade value is that different.

      Reply

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