Late in September we found out that Art Warren had undergone UCL repair. The reliever didn’t have Tommy John surgery, though. The expectation with UCL repair instead of Tommy John surgery is that you can return sooner in many cases. It was not specified exactly what kind of repair he had, though it is almost assuredly that he had an internal brace put in along with a repair. Bobby Nightengale of the Cincinnati Enquirer reported this week that Warren would miss all of the 2023 season. On Monday, Jim Walker took a look at Warren, as well as many other relievers to predict who could be non-tendered. Walker leaned toward non-tendering Warren before it was known he would miss all of next season.
With Warren out for 2023, and without knowing if he’ll even be a Red in 2023, it led to the thinking about other relievers who were injured in 2022 but are expected to return in 2023. Tejay Antone missed all of 2022 after having Tommy John surgery, but he is expected to be ready to pitch next season. Both Lucas Sims and Tony Santillan dealt with back injuries last season. While they both did pitch last year they were also both out for an extended period of time to end the season.
Cincinnati’s bullpen was basically Alexis Diaz and a whole lot of question marks throughout the season. It’s an area that the team needs to address, but even in doing so, there’s going to be plenty of question marks coming into the season. Antone, Sims, and Santillan have all been very good relievers in the past. But Antone is coming back from a second Tommy John surgery and there’s not a very long list of guys who have done that. Sims underwent surgery for a herniated disc in his back. And Santillan’s back injury cost him the final 101 games of the 2023 season. Back injuries can be long term issues for some people. It certainly puts the Reds in a situation where they are going to have to hope for the best here but also kind of have to rely on those guys for 2023.
One guy who isn’t likely going to be in the conversation is Ryan Hendrix. He was designated for assignment and cleared waivers this past week. He opted to head to free agency rather than accept an outright to Triple-A.
Back in March when the lockout ended the Cincinnati Reds made several trades and one of those deals sent outfielder Jesse Winker to Seattle. The Mariners would go on to make the playoffs, but Winker was injured late in the season and was placed on the injured list during the final week due to an issue with his neck.
The Mariners would lose in the playoffs, being swept by the Houston Astros in three games in the first round. Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times was on the Brock and Salk Podcast shared his opinions on Winker and he basically called Winker lazy and not willing to put in the work to get better. Divish didn’t say he had heard any of the things he called Winker out on from others, but continuously said he noticed these things on a day-to-day basis while covering the team. He even speculated that the team may just move on.
Jerry Dipoto, the Mariners President of Baseball Operations, noted yesterday that Winker had surgery on his knee and will be having a procedure on his neck. He also noted that he in confident that Winker’s offensive production will return to form in 2023.
While he was in Cincinnati there were no public complaints about Jesse Winker’s work ethic. And at times we heard about the work that he did put in to improve both on his defense and one offseason, his speed.
Checking in on the prospects in fall ball
Things are going well for a few of the Cincinnati Reds prospects in fall and winter league baseball. But it’s pretty extreme in terms of how things are going overall. The players who are doing well are really doing well, but the players who aren’t doing well are performing about as poorly as one could imagine.
On the good side of things are Elly De La Cruz, Sam Benschoter, and Isiah Gilliam.
Down in the Dominican Winter League the Reds top prospect, Elly De La Cruz, announced his presence in LIDOM (Liga de Beisbol Professional de la Dominicana) in the first week of the season. In his debut with Licey he’s hit .444/.524/.667 with two stolen bases, seven RBI, and three walks in five games played (four starts, one pinch hit appearance). That performance was strong enough to earn him the Most Valuable Player of the Week among position players award.
Isiah Gilliam, a switch hitter who signed a minor league deal with the Reds as a free agent prior to the 2022 season, has been hitting well in the Mexican Winter League over the first week-and-a-half. Last night saw him hit an extra-innings grand slam to give his team the lead and he stayed back and watched it for a while, too.
— Tomateros de Culiacán (@clubtomateros) October 21, 2022
He’s now hitting .300/.432/.500 with more walks (7) than strikeouts (6) in eight games played for Culiacan. In the regular season this year he split time between Double-A Chattanooga and Triple-A Louisville where he hit .274/.361/.496 with 18 home runs and 13 stolen bases in 14 attempts.
Out in Arizona it’s been Sam Benschoter that’s stood out among the Reds prospects in the Arizona Fall League. He’s thrown 8.0 scoreless innings, making two starts and one relief appearance so far. He has walked just one batter in that time and has struck out five hitters.
The three other pitchers in Arizona have WHIP’s of 2.36, 2.43, and 2.67 just to put it into perspective how much they’ve struggled in their limited action. The three position players that the Reds have sent to the fall league are hitting .167, .200, and .217. I went into more detail over at RedsMinorLeagues.com on these performances if you’re interested in further reading.