The Cincinnati Reds have made a bunch of roster moves today. The team called up outfielder TJ Friedl from Triple-A Louisville and added him to the 40-man roster in the process. Cincinnati also activated reliever Art Warren who had been rehabbing in Triple-A with the Bats. On the flip side of those moves the team has placed outfielders Jesse Winker and Shogo Akiyama on the injured list. Winker is back on the list with another intercostal strain – the same injury he just returned from – and Akiyama is on the injured list with a hamstring strain. The move for Akiyama is retroactive to yesterday.
For TJ Friedl, this will be his first time in the Major Leagues. Undrafted in 2016, he signed the largest non-drafted free agent contract in history for a draft-eligible player. He was listed as a sophomore in the notes on the Nevada baseball information sheet. Reality is that he was a redshirt sophomore and thus draft eligible. Many teams did not know this – though some did. After the season he joined Team USA’s college team and performed very well, leading to organizations digging deeper and realizing that he was technically a free agent at that point and Cincinnati, who had the largest remaining amount of “draft pool” money available was able to sign him.
In his minor league career, the recently turned 26-year-old outfielder has hit .274/.366/.414. That’s pretty similar to the line he has had in Triple-A with Louisville this season where he’s hit .264/.357/.422 with 15 doubles, 5 triples, 12 home runs, 13 steals, 44 walks, and 65 strikeouts in 113 games played. Friedl, a left-handed hitter, has weird splits this season. He’s hitting .302/.376/.381 against lefties. There’s not much power output against them, but he’s been able to pick up plenty of hits. Against righties he’s hitting .246/.348/.442. Plenty of pop against righties, and he’s walked nearly as often as he’s struck out (36-to-40), but he hasn’t turned the contact into hits at nearly the same rate as he has against lefties. In 15 games in September he’s hit .300/.338/.517 with 4 walks and 4 strikeouts.
Art Warren is returning to the bullpen. Prior to his injury he had a 1.88 ERA in 14.1 innings with 6 walks and 21 strikeouts for the Reds. But he last pitched on July 11th against Milwaukee. He returned on a rehab assignment in Triple-A on September 2nd. He gave up 3 runs in 0.2 innings against Indianapolis on the 7th. Those are the only earned runs he allowed in six games with the Bats that covered 5.2 innings. He walked one batter and struck out 9 during his time with Louisville this month.