The Cincinnati Reds get back to playing just one game today after having back-to-back days of playing split squads over the weekend. Cincinnati hosts the Colorado Rockies tonight in the first evening game of the spring, with first pitch set for 8:05pm ET.
Rockies vs Reds
|1||Cole Tucker||2B||Will Benson||CF|
|2||Zac Veen||RF||Jose Barrero||SS|
|3||Sean Bouchard||LF||Jason Vosler||3B|
|4||Michael Toglia||1B||Curt Casali||C|
|5||Nolan Jones||DH||Nick Solak||LF|
|6||Brian Serven||C||Luke Maile||DH|
|7||Brenton Doyle||CF||Christian Encarnacion-Strand||1B|
|8||Warming Bernabel||3B||Richie Martin||2B|
|9||Julio Carreras||SS||Allan Cerda||RF|
|10||Ryan Feltner||RHP||Chase Anderson||RHP|
Reserve players on today’s Reds roster:
Where to watch/listen/follow the game
There will be no televised broadcast of the game today. If you are looking to follow along on the radio you can tune into 700 WLW for the coverage.
Reds links and news
Can Christian Encarnacion-Strand make the club?
We’re still early in spring training, but Christian Encarnacion-Strand is hitting .643 and slugging 1.143. He hit 32 home runs in the minor leagues last season between High-A and Double-A while also hitting .304. He can play both third base and first base. If jobs can be won in spring training with performance, then he’s doing all he can to make it happen. Earlier today we looked at some of the scenarios that could lead to him winning a job out of Goodyear.
Don’t forget about Matt McLain
There’s plenty of early performances that stand out for the Reds and Matt McLain’s is one of them. The 2021 1st round pick is hitting .500 and has six walks with just one strikeout so far. He’s got to battle for a spot up the middle in a log-jammed position at shortstop, but he’s been on fire to start big league camp.
Baseball ratings are up!
?? ESPN had its most-watched #springtraining since 2016
?Up 29% vs 2021 (No spring training games on ESPN in 2022)
?It also featured the most-watched ESPN spring training games for several individual teams:
??Astros since 2009
??Mets since 2012
??Cardinals since 2014
— Ben Cafardo (@Ben_ESPN) March 6, 2023
Reds have an underrated and sneaky good outfield
Jake Fraley is going to lead the way IMO. Last year after he got hurt and started seeing a mental skills coach (what he attributed his success to) he came back on fire. From his return on July 30th to the end of the season Fraley put up the following numbers
A 145 wRC+, a .231 ISO, a 11.1 BB%, and slashed (.295/.377/.526 (.903 OPS))
So far in spring he’s slashing (.500/.625/.750 (1.375)) with 2 stolen bases and more walks 4 than strike outs 3
TJ Friedl is another player who really got it going in the 2nd half. After he was sent down on June 18th he made some adjustments to his swing and dominated AAA until he got the call back up to Cincinnati and had a great finish to the year there too. Here’s his numbers in both leagues after he was sent down June 18th
AAA – 135 wRC+, k% under 20%, slashed (.315/.385/.504 (.889)) with 3 triples, 4 home runs and 10/11 on stolen base attempts
MLB – 137 wRC+, .253 ISO, and a great k% of 14%. He slashed (.273/.354/.526 (.880 OPS)) with 4 triples, 8 home runs, and 3 stolen bases
So far in spring he’s slashing (.357/.438/.571 (1.009))
Wil Myers is a solid outfielder. He’s been an above average player pretty much his entire career and after a bad April last year he was no different. I think he puts up some good numbers in GABP no worse than his career averages. Here’s his April stats and then his May + August-end of season stats (he missed June and July last year).
April – 51 wRC+, slashing (.218/.254/.273 (.527))
May-EoY – 117 wRC+, slashing (.272/.330/.432 (.762))
So far this spring he’s 4/12
Will Benson could turn out to be a really solid acquisition. It seemed like he finally figured it out last year in AAA before Cleveland called him up and gave him sporadic playing time.
His AAA numbers
In 89 AAA games – 153 wRC+,slashed .278/.426/.522 (.948 OPS)), .244 ISO, 17 HR, 18.7! BB%, and 16/20 on stolen base attempts
So far in spring he’s shown some flashes and is 4/9 with some rockets off the bat + 3 stolen bases
With 3/4 of the players above being left handed bats the 5th and final outfielder needs to be able to hit left handed pitching and either able to play in the infield or cover all 3 spots in the outfield. Most of these guys aren’t having big springs yet but they all meet the criteria one way or another
1 – Chad Pinder – would require being added to the 40 man but he’s a 7 year vet, can play a little bit everywhere, decent power that could play up in Cincinnati, in over 750 plate appearances against left handed pitching he’s slashing (.274/.322/.456 (.778 OPS))
2 – Nick Solak – already on 40 man, can play in both the corner OF and 2B, in 336 career plate appearances against left handed pitching he’s slashed (.283/.363/.428 (.791 OPS))
3 – Stuart Fairchild – already on the 40 man, can handle all 3 outfield positions, in limited time with the reds last year had a 146 wRC+, doesn’t have many at bats vs lefties in the majors but in the minors has well over an .800 OPS against them.
4 – Nick Senzel – can handle CF and play IF. For his career his splits only look slightly better against left handed pitching but evidently there’s data out there that says after some adjustments he was hitting the ball harder last year before his season ending injury.
5 – Henry Ramos – he doesn’t have much of a pedigree to go off of but I think his spring has at least put him in the conversation right now for that last spot on the opening day roster. He’s a switch hitter, plays both CF + RF, and he’s hitting (.571/.588/.786 (1.374)) in the early part of spring. Would require adding to the 40 man though
Whoever wins the 5th spot should complete what I feel is an underrated outfield even from our own fanbase (but our fanbase likes to say everything sucks at this moment in time so that’s no shocker)
Nice breakdown. I thought Friedl could be very similar to Tommy Edman, which would be great.
Nice right up. If Benson makes the team then it’s got to be a right handed hitter. So that leaves Pinder out and Senzel won’t be ready. I think Fairchild goes to AAA. I think they keep Ramos over Solak because he is a possible trade chip this summer. If he keeps hitting and looks decent they could get something for him at the deadline. Who knows it’s still early and maybe Ramos comes back to earth or maybe the Reds have found something. It’s a good problem.
It’s time to move on from Senzel. Send him to AAA and make him earn his way back.
Great summary. Injuries always happen so need to see how next 3 weeks play out
Im a huge fan of Fraley as a potential break out lefty hitter. The splits against lefties are acknowledged before anyone points that out.
I also love the Benson trade and could see this happening again where Krall trades for a position of need thats at the cusp of MLB for a young lower minors prospect. Really interested in this team
Excellent analysis BDH! The key to me is major league experience – is it good or is it mediocre? Pinder’s experience against left handers is good. He also offers the most position flexibility than anyone else. He also has good platoon splits across a large sample. Senzel’s experience indicates a poor MLB player.
Say what you will about Bell, but position flexibility is highly valuable. Even with the DH, there are days when someone will have aches and pains and needs some rest – but they don’t need or want to go do a DL stint. 1-2 players with position flex allows the team to keep them up without sending them to the disabled list.
I haven’t seen enough from Solar to think he deserves it over Pinder. And I really doubt they break camp with 6 outfielders. If they did, I believe I’d prefer Ramos but he wouldn’t get much playing time to show anything unless there are injuries.
Yea I’d take Pinder as my 13th man right now.
If Votto misses time, which seems likely at this point, I’d want to pull the trigger on Ramos but I think they’ll go with one of the guys already on the 40 man (Solak or Fairchild)
Solak is reportedly pretty mediocre defensively, though versatile. With a young pitching staff, playing good defense becomes more important, IMO. So, unless he’s somehow mashing, he’s out. DFA
Sensel is in injured status no man’s land, that will lead to that quite often extensive rehab assignment. I just can’t see Nick doing much with this organization. Trade candidate..
Ramos has a very interesting history if not pedigree. He was primarily a soccer/tennis kid who started more exclusive baseball quite late. Reached AA in a reasonable amount of time then broke his kneecap, He’s bounced around AA/AAA quite a bit since then (see above injury no man’s land). But he’s got size and athleticism. Could be a decent flyer.
Pinder has a proven record.
Excellent Post BDH. Thanks for your effort and input.
Henry Ramos has a fine pedigree in the Minors. Much better than many many players the fans are gushing over. He was an excellent pick up.
Oh my! Cerda is a star if he puts it together
Barerro! Chase Anderson making a case to be included – 5 strikeouts through 2 innings!
I would pump the brakes at this point of spring training. But, the Reds have clearly had a strong week which is what you want I am interested but not buying yet.
Lets see if they can maintain things as the ST rosters narrow and we get to mid march . Pitching needs to step up
CES made an out in one of his three ABs and only had one home run, so he clearly needs a few months in the minors to figure things out.
I hope Martin, Solak, and Vosler are among the first cuts made this spring. All three are in or near their “prime” years and have done absolutely nothing for their careers.
The only one I might, maybe, keep is Vosler, and that’s only because he is left-handed, and the Reds don’t have much in the way of left-handed hitting.
By the way, I’m having a hard time finding this info: is EDLC a better hitter from the left side or right side? What are his splits?
Here’s his splits from his last two seasons in the US:
Elly De La Cruz
2021 R/A PA BA OBP SLG OPS
vs RHP 215 .292 .326 .520 .845
vs LHP 50 .311 .380 .622 1.002
2022 A+/AA PA BA OBP SLG OPS
vs RHP 357 .312 .367 .645 1.012
vs LHP 155 .280 .336 .427 .762