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Four storylines to pay attention to heading into 2018 season

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The day is almost here, Opening Day.

The Cincinnati Reds — who are coming off a 94-loss season — will begin their 2018 campaign Thursday when they take on the Washington Nationals. With fans hopeful for improvement, here are four storylines to pay attention to heading into the new year.

1.     Nick Senzel’s MLB debut

Hitting .286 in 28 at-bats, top prospect Nick Senzel found success in big league camp, but the Reds sent him down to minor league camp March 19. Many expect Senzel to make his much-anticipated MLB debut this season, though, but the question is when?

If Senzel spends roughly three weeks in the minors the Reds will control him contractually for an additional year, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer. So, fans must wait at least a few weeks.

Another question surrounding Senzel is what position he will play once in the majors. Senzel is a third baseman, but Eugenio Suarez is a lock at that position as he has hit 47 home runs over the past two seasons. Senzel took reps at third base and shortstop during camp, so he could be the one to replace All-Star Zack Cozart.

No matter when or where Senzel plays for Cincinnati, fans have a lot to be excited about.

2.     The health of the pitching staff

Last season, the Reds’ pitchers struggled to stay healthy. Brandon Finnegan only started four games with a shoulder injury and right-hander Anthony DeSclafani missed the whole season with a sprained elbow. Homer Bailey started 18 games for the team, but has only started 26 games the past three seasons.

So far, this season is looking much of the same. Finnegan exited a game early March 11 after experiencing a lateral spasm in his forearm, DeSclafani is starting the season on the DL with a strained left oblique, and Michael Lorenzen suffered a Grade 1 strain of his teres muscle.

All these guys should hopefully return in a reasonable amount of time — Finnegan even took the mound on Saturday —  but the injuries are something to worry about considering the recent history.

3.     Billy Hamilton’s struggles at the plate

Billy Hamilton is fun to watch. His speed makes him an elite defender and impossible to pick off when he is running the bases. It is easy to contain him on the bases, though, when he doesn’t even get there.

Hamilton has a career on-base percentage of .298, and his batting average dipped down to .247 last season after hitting .260 in 2016. He isn’t showing any improvement this spring either as he is batting .186 in 17 games.

For the Reds to have success this year, they must see more production at the plate from the speedy star.

4.     Is this Bryan Price’s last chance?

Since becoming the Reds’ manager in 2014, Bryan Price has a record of 276-372. The team was 18 games above .500 the year before Price became the manager, then were 10 games under.500 in his first year.

The Reds exercised Price’s option for 2018 on his one-year contract, meaning there is no guarantee for his future in Cincinnati.

If the Reds don’t take a step towards improving this year, the ball club could turn to a legend to lead their club. Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame shortstop Barry Larkin has expressed interest in managing his former team.

“If I manage in the big leagues then I would only want to manage for the Cincinnati Reds,” Larkin said in February. “I’m getting pressure from our young players that are now starting to make it to the big leagues and they keep telling me ‘When it’s time for us to go to war we want you to lead us.’”

The future of the Reds’ manager position is unclear, but Price’s club must show improvement if he wants to continue to stay in Cincy.

David is a fourth-year journalism student at the University of Cincinnati. He has covered UC sports for the student newpaper, The News Record, during all four years. He is currently the editor-in-chief of The News Record. After graduation, David hopes to stay in Cincinnati and cover sports in the city as a career.

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Cincinnati Reds

Positives of the Cincinnati Reds 2021 Season

The highs have been high, but man oh man the lows have been low. Clay Snowden checks in to highlight some of the positives from the first part of the Cincinnati Reds season.

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The highs have been high, but man oh man the lows have been low. This season has entertained us with some big moments like sweeping the cardinals, Wade Miley’s no – no, and a couple of winning streaks. The low’s have been low. Like, lower than Geno’s batting average low. I still have nightmares about the west coast trip. And as of right now, the Reds are hovering around .500. To be frank, that’s about where they should be. A roster with this many flaws, fakes, and aches won’t win many divisions, even if it’s an easier one like the NL Central. I wanted to take today to highlight some of the positives from the first part of the season.

 

The Future is Bright

The Reds rookie class is shaping up to be more than a few contributing pieces, but a core a build around. Johnathan India started off scorching hot, cooled down, but has since blossomed into one of the integral parts of this team and the Reds future. The former 5th overall pick switched positions and has shown he can flash the leather at second. Slashing .262/.374/.396 on the year, he’s really turned it on in June slashing .303/.425/.455. The most important part…the Reds have found a leadoff hitter. Something they have struggled to find.

Tyler Stephenson has not only shown he can hit at the big league level, but that he can become one of the best hitting catchers. His ability to play first has been the cherry on top. Slashing .269/.378/.425 with 5 HR he’’s proving he needs to play every day.  I expect a big breakout in 2022. What Alejo Lopez has shown in the minors is promising as a future switch-hitting bench bat that puts the ball in play.

The rookie arms have shown flashes as well. Vladimir Gutierrez and Tony Santillan have not been perfect, but they have shown enough to have a role in the future. Even if they become 4 or 5 starters under cheap team control, that’s a plus for the Reds. The top two pitching prospects, Nick Lodolo and Hunter Greene, have been battling for the title of “future ace”. Both have looked great, especially Lodolo. Greene is younger but developing quickly. Art Warren isn’t exactly a prospect but has pitched well enough to get a mention.

Internal MVP Race

No matter what the Reds do this summer, we will always have the summer of the MVP race. Jesse Winker has blossomed into one of the best pure hitters in the MLB while tapping into more power than he was every projected to have. Nicholas Castellanos had a frustrating covid season in 2020, where he showed power but chased too many bad pitches. Fast forward to 2021 and he’s a doubles machine. He’s hitting everything. Who knows how much longer he’ll be a Red, but what’s happening right now, two all star outfielders, doesn’t happen often. Enjoy it.

 

Reds Broadcast Team

I watch about 8 MLB games a night. Fantasy baseball has turned me into a monster, and MLB TV quad screen has been feeding that monster. I listen to games every time I’m in the car, and I can say with certainty the Reds have one of the best radio + TV groups. John Sadak has been energizing, positive, quirky, and unique. He’s been a breath of fresh air compared to the previous. Larkin was awful at the beginning of the season but has improved, and will continue to improve. Tommy Thrall is gold. He’s in his second year but has been amazing. Chris Welch brings intelligence of the game that makes us smarter each day and Cowboy is just fun as can be. It might seem small but trust me a bad team with bad announcers is unbearable. The Reds nailed this.

 

A baseball season is a roller coaster of emotions. 162 games is a long season. Sure, it’s frustrating that Bob won’t spend the money, but at the end of the day I am thankful I have a team to watch every day. Especially after last season, I will not take that for granted.

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Cincinnati Reds

Forgotten Names From Cincinnati Reds Past: Where They are Now

I decided I’d construct a list of former Cincinnati Reds players (or organizational players) who are rostered in some form of professional baseball.

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On May 22nd, Jose Godoy, a back up catcher with 9 years of minor league experience, debuted for the Seattle Mariners. You might not know who Godoy is, and why should you? He’s already back in AAA. He became the 20,000 player to ever play in the major leagues, and likely an answer to a future trivia question. Every few months I find myself shuffling through random rosters in search of the “AH I Remember that guy” moment. While doing this, I decided I’d construct a list of former Reds players (or organizational players) who are rostered in some form of professional baseball. The process consisted of me reviewing rosters and going solely based off my memory, so I likely missed several.

 

AAA

Nick Longhi (OF – Isotopes)

Juan Graterol (C – Bisons)

Christian Colon (IF – Bisons)

Dilson Herrera (IF – Bisons) The return of the Jay Bruce trade.

Scott Moss (P – Clippers)

Patrick Kivlehan (OF Chihuahuas)

Brian O’Grady (OF Chihuahaus)

Jesse Biddle (P Stripers)

Tanner Roark (P – Stripers)

Phillip Ervin (OF – Stripers) I once wrote that Winker and Ervin would lead to a perfect LF platoon team…lol.

Joe Hudson (C – Indians)

Ron Villone (Pitching Coach – Iowa Cubs)

Josh A. Smith (P – Jumbo Shirmp)

Chad Wallach (C – Jumbo Shrimp)

Brandon Allen (Hitting Coach – Redbirds)

Rick Sweet (Manager – Sounds) Former Bats manager and one of the nicest guys. 

Nick Ciuffo (C – Tides)

Seth Mejias-Brean (IF – Tides)

Josiah Gray (P – Dodgers)

Kevin Quackenbush (P – Dodgers)

Tim Federowicz (C – Dodgers)

Matt Davidson (1B – Dodgers) 

Emmanuel Burriss (Hitting Coach – Dodgers)

Domingo Tapia (P- Chasers)

Alex Powers (P – Aces)

Stuart Fairchild (OF – Aces)

Jimmy Herget (P-Express) Man I was high on Herget. He never panned out. 

Chadwick Tromp (C – River Cats)

Arismendy Alcantara (IF – River Cats)

Jolbert Cabrera (Fundamentals Coach – River Cats)

Packy Naughton (P – Bees)

Scott Schebler ( OF- Bees) He will go down as the most forgotten player to ever hit 30 HR in a season. 

Lou Marson (Manager – Bees)

Ray Olmedo (Defensive Coach – Bees)

Sal Romano (P – RailRiders)

Asher Wojciechowski (P – RailRiders)

Derek Dietrich (IF – RailRiders) The 2019 Reds were not very good, but man they were fun. DD was a leader of that fun.

Ryan LaMarre (OF – RailRiders)

Rob Brantley (C – RailRiders)

Jose Siri (OF Skeeters) So many tools but too many K’s. Everyone was so mad when the Reds let him go, but he hasn’t made an impact in several other stops. 

Cheslor Cuthbert (IF – Mets)

Zack Weiss ( P- Rainiers) Weiss is the owner of an INF ERA

Kristopher Negron (Manager – Rainiers)

Justin Grimm (P – Rainiers)

Matt Magill (P – Rainiers)

Mike Hessman (Hitting Coach – Mud Hens)

Ian Krol (P- Mud Hens)

Austin Brice (P – Red Sox)

Jeter Downs (If –  Red Sox )

 

AA

Keyvius Sampson (P – Barons)

Jameson Hannah (OF – Yard Goats)

Chris Denorfia (Manager – Yard Goats) One of my favorites growing up. 

Hendrik Clementina (C – Braves)

Ibandel Isabel (1B – Trash Pandas)

Mitch Nay (IF – Trash Pandas)

Matt Bowman (P Patriots)

 

Other (Mexican/Independent)

Yasiel Puig (OF)

David Holberg (P – Milkmen)

Gavin LaValley (IF/OF Kane County Cougars)

Nick Travieso (P – Kansas City Monarchs)

Darnell Sweeney ( IF _ Kansas City Monarchs)

Gabby Guerrero (OF – Kansas City Monachs) This guy had a great year with the Bats and I thought had a chance. 

Tony Cingrani (P Lexington Legends)

JJ Hoover ( P – Legends)

Jordan Pacheco (C – Legends)

Brandon Phillips (INF – Legends)

Daryl Thompson (Southern Maryland Blue Crabs)

Mat Latos (P – Southern Maryland Blue Crabs)

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Under the Radar Prospects for the Cincinnati Reds: 4 Names to Know

Here are four players you may not already be aware of who could be building their prospect status for the Cincinnati Reds

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Hunter Greene, Nick Lodolo, Jose Garcia, and many other names highlight most “Reds prospect list”. But who are some other names to watch for? So much time and focus goes towards the top 30 guys, but several organizational players are starting to blossom. Let’s look at 4 names to keep an eye on that are not on the top 30 prospects.

 

Alejo Lopez 2B  AA (25 years old .373/.447/.458 .326 wOBA)

Anyone who’s followed me on Twitter knows my love affair with Alejo Lopez. The Lookouts leadoff batter is so fun to watch. He hits everywhere he goes. A career .302/.373/.757 slash line will show that. He simply always puts the ball in play and has enough speed to steal some cheap hits (10.6% K rate 88.5% contact rate). His glove plays well enough, but his power doesn’t. 7 career home runs in 1254 at bats, but there’s enough of a hit tool to keep him interesting. You’ll see in this video how he just pokes the ball and get’s the ball in play.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D5ZieFsTsow

 

 

Reiver Sanmartin SP  AAA (25, AA stats: 18 innings 0.50 ERA 23 K’s)

Sanmartin was the extra piece acquired in the Sonny Gray deal a couple of years back from the Yankees. The lefty has steadily worked his way through the system and just got the call up to AAA Louisville. He has an interesting arm angle which helps with deception and K numbers. He’s been a starter his entire career, but with the number of high-end starter prospects ahead of him, sliding to the bullpen could be the next move. The Reds have Doolittle (FA after 2020) and Amir in the pen with Perez, Finnegan, Osich, and Diehl as organizational depth. I will be watching closely to Sanmartin this year.

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JI57hy9cYb4

 

Leonardo Rivas SS AA (23, .375/.490/.550 16.3% BB% 20.4 K %)

The switch-hitting SS was acquired from the Angels in the Rasiel Iglesias trade last winter. Only 23 years old, he’s still young but has plenty of experience (1445 at bats). He has speed (89 SB) and has a career .383 OBP. The Reds need an answer at short. Garcia looks like the answer for 2022, but he’ll need a back up and the organization needs depth. Rivas doesn’t project to be a star, but the only other “prospects” at short in the organization in AAA are Errol Robinson and Alfredo Rodriguez.

 

Dauri Moreta RP AA (25, 2.08 ERA 12 K’s 8.2 innings 2 BB)

Moreta career numbers look good but not great. However, his 2019 (and so far in 20201) looked really good. 2019: 2.35 ERA 64 K’s to 9 Walks in 57.1 innings. He has a fast past pace, quick set delivery. His strikeout to walk ratio is good enough to play. With the amount of arms the cycle through a bullpen each year, Moreta could be looking to earn a spot in 2022, or at least a chance.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Xi2I70T748&t=26s

 

Other names to watch:

Lorenzo Cedrola, Evan Kravetz, James Proctor, Daniel Vellojin, Braxton Roxby, Eduardo Salazar, Quinn Cotton

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