Carson Spiers pitched in four games with the Cincinnati Reds down the stretch of the 2023 regular season. With the pitching staff barely hanging on, the club called him up directly from Double-A where he made two starts and two relief appearances. His final outing of the year was hit best one, tossing 3.0 innings of 1-hit, shutout baseball against the St. Louis Cardinals.

Spiers, who began the year in Chattanooga’s bullpen, didn’t transition to the rotation until late June. Between his time with the Lookouts in Double-A, his one relief outing in Triple-A, and his four games with Cincinnati he threw just 98.0 innings. The Reds sent him to pitch in the Arizona Fall League this month where he’ll get some additional innings in.

Friday night he made his second start for the Surprise Saguaros and it was a good one. The right-hander threw 4.0 shutout innings where he allowed just one hit and one walk while striking out five batters. Combined with his first outing he’s now allowed just one earned run in 7.0 innings and has seven strikeouts to go with one walk.

He was followed in the game by left-handed reliever Bryce Hubbart. The 2022 3rd round pick picked up where Spiers left off, throwing 3.0 hitless innings with a walk and two strikeouts.

Jacob Hurtubise, who had a breakout season this year in Double-A and Triple-A, went 1-5 with a walk, run, and an RBI on the night. He’s hitting .308/.438/.359 with three steals, two doubles, eight walks, and eight strikeouts through 10 games played for Surprise.

Alejo Lopez signs with Atlanta

Not every minor league player has had the opportunity to enter free agency this offseason, but some players have been able to based on their big league experience level. Alejo Lopez was one of the players who was eligible to declare free agency after the regular season and he did just that. It didn’t take more than a few days before he had signed a minor league deal with Atlanta

Lopez played for the Reds in each of the last three seasons, but most of his  playing time came in 2022 when he played in 59 games. In the 2023 season he got into one game. And he was ejected from that game. Over the span of his 74 games with Cincinnati in his career he hit .265/.309/.329.

24 Responses

  1. doofus

    Pitching depth and defense wins championships.

  2. RedBB

    Hurtubise playing well at all levels. Can’t see any chance the Reds won’t put him on the 40 man. Has a good chance of playing in the Majors next season too.

  3. MBS

    Spires is interesting, he seems to be a possible long man in the pen/emergency starter. We are really getting deep, hopefully we add some impact free agents this offseason to put us on another level.

    • Redsvol

      I Think Spiers is interesting also. He was in over his head but so are lots of rookies with their first taste of MLB ball. We need all the young depth we can get. I hope they identify another 3-4 minor league pitchers like this that they can push a bit more to provide more sp depth.

      We need 10 starters providing depth on top of the 5 that make opening day roster to get thru a year. It literally takes 15 starters to get thru an MLB season anymore.

  4. Optimist

    Good luck to Alejo – the kind of player who needs to keep playing, both for himself and MLB.

    Hurtubise/Dunn clearly replacing Siani’s role on the roster, and both should make MLB debuts next season, one way or another. If one breaks out, the Reds should be doing very well. If not, very good depth.

    • Jim Walker

      Lopez was squeezed out by the lockstep platoon system the Reds are using despite being a switch hitter because the Reds system values the highest possible OPS from both sides of the platoon.

      Instead of using a guy on the 30% (RH hitting) side of the platoon with a handedness neutral OPS (Lopez), the Reds plug in someone like Senzel with a huge positive skew to match the skew they get from the 70% (LH hitting) side of the platoon. The downside is the platoon system eats two roster spots; and, late in games often results in the Reds being locked in to a guy with a sub .600 OPS from his weak side batting against pitching from his weak side with the game on the line.

      • LDS

        Yep, it’s the Bell way – every player a platoon player and every player a utility guy.

      • Optimist

        All true, yet also true that Lopez is passing prime age and pushed from lower MiLB as well. He’s a classic AAAA player, but not the type the Reds are planning on – that, and it’s good they have better talent coming from below. He also didn’t have defensive specialty skills sufficient to retain.

      • BK

        A lack of power squeezed out Lopez. Lopez’s hard-hit rates are about 50 percent less than the MLB average. His exit velocity is 5 mph below average. His ISO was .065 vs. MLB average of .162, Due to his lack of power, he had a career OPS+ of 75, or 25 percent below average. In short, he didn’t hit the ball hard enough to take advantage of his contact skill. With below-average speed and defense, he will most likely continue to serve as AAA depth.

        A better solution to having a platoon that takes two roster spots and causes in-game substitutions is to have one-half of the platoon that is more neutral against splits. Pairing Fraley with Fairchild would accomplish this. Because Fairchild has a career OPS of 95 and is split neutral, he’s a better in-game sub vice Senzel as you can allow him to complete the game. Also, he’s better defensively and faster than Lopez or Senzel. That said, Senzel, even with his extreme splits, is a better overall hitter, fielder (at least at 3B), and runner than Lopez.

      • LDS

        Hopefully, Senzel is traded or non-tendered this off season. He certainly isn’t worth his projected arb salary.

      • MBS

        @BK, you’re right, power is the answer on Lopez. Hopefully power doesn’t squeeze out Hurtubise.

      • BK

        @LDS, none of the Red’s arb eligible players are unaffordable to the Reds. WRT your statement:

        “Yep, it’s the Bell way – every player a platoon player and every player a utility guy.”

        What if the Reds had actually done what you stated with Senzel and played him only against LHP? It wasn’t his hitting against LHP that tanked his value (OPS, 1.008). It was his .497 OPS against RHP and the fact that Bell didn’t account for an obvious handedness split that hurt Senzel’s value.

        Benson, Fraley, and Senzel all showed extreme splits. Bell effectively minimized Fraley’s and Benson’s PA vs. LHP, but did not do so with Senzel against RHP. Benson and Fraley delivered positive WAR values, but Senzel did not.

  5. LDS

    Pretty fair assessment

    25. David Bell, Reds
    Bell comes from a baseball family, but most of the on-field results since he was hired by Cincinnati in 2019 have been disappointing. The Reds failed to strike during their window of peak talent, with only a brief playoff experience during the expanded playoffs of 2020 to show for their efforts. After a fire sale, the team lost 100 games last year and is in a complete rebuild. Bell has had a non-descript impact on the field but continues getting mulligans.

    • Kevin H

      3 winning seasons and a playoff appearance. I mean I don’t agree with alot in regards to Bell, however 5 years 3 winning seasons. The hate for Bell on here is astounding to me.

      • LarkinPhillips

        Overall losing record, 2nd worst season in franchise history and 2 late season collapses with “easy” remaining schedules. The spin can factually go both ways. For me, I just don’t like his in game management and lineup construction.

      • Michael E

        As a VERY strange mix of Reds and Steelers fan (I know), he looks alot like Mike Tomlin. Players seem to like him, but the end results are always disappointing at the end of the season.

        Now, that said, Tomlin actually has a solid-to-good roster most seasons, whereas Bell has been managing a mostly rag-tag squad meant to squeeze profits from a low revenue stream and even lower payroll. Few managers can have enough impact to turn lemons into lemonade.

        With several rookies and second year players getting lots of PAs and innings this year, next year will be the best year yet to assess David Bell. If at the end of the year, we’re left deflated again, we have our answer. The only interference would be if Castellini lead ownership decides to REALLY gut payroll. Hopefully NO REDS FANS show up for games if that is the case.

  6. RED THUNDER

    3 winning seasons by a grand total of 8 games! 0 for two in that playoff appearance. Sounds like Hall of Fame numbers. No Hate, just Love for the Reds and looking for a bright future.

    • Michael E

      In fairness, the roster has been…embarrassing, for most of Bell’s tenure. This year, it had some punch, but sadly the starting rotation was decimated by injury after injury and relying on AAA and rag-tag group of starters. The good news, Abbott got lots of innings and Greene and Lodolo got a year older. This team definitely needs a FA/trade SP that HAS shown above average ability and to this point has been fairly durable. One or two year contract to a past-the-prime SP maybe, that is 33-36 years old or multi-year deal for one under 30.

  7. Billy bill

    Off topic…. I’ve been reading all year and posted very little. The diamond backs are playing the Phillies in the lcs. If we had gotten hot and went on a tear like we did earlier in the year we could be there. Even if we don’t make any moves we still have the talent to rip off a few. Definitely need something to stabilize the starting pitching and the bullpen. The bullpen is solid but we need some set up help. Maybe co-closer too. These are teams we can beat is basically what I am saying

  8. CI3J

    Nice to know there is still developing young talent that may yet help the big club.

    However, the Reds really need to make some trades for a few “sure thing” MLB players. They have plenty of pieces they could use to make those trades, depending on how bold they want to be. Barrero, Hopkins, Fairchild, Senzel, and India I could see being parts of packages to acquire a starting pitcher or another outfield (non-platoon) bat.