Long cold months heated by hot stove rumors define the offseason. Winter meetings, Redsfest, and the Reds caravan provide just enough of a fix to get everyone to spring training. Fake baseball and roster battles get us all to Opening Day. For many players, the offseason is still filled with baseball games. Winter leagues have been going on for years. Prospects play in the Arizona fall league and others play in their country’s offseason leagues. The Reds have about 30 players and prospects competing in different winter leagues. Here’s how they have fared. (All stats as of 1/20/2020)
Notable names (Reds Prospect rankings #): Jose Siri (15), Blake Trahan, Alfredo Rodriguez (18), Jose Garcia (9), Johnathan India (3), Christian Colon, Tyler Stephenson (7), Aristides Aquino, Narciso Crook, Stuart Fairchild (16), Andy Sugilio (19).
Aristides, Mr. August, has looked more like his Mr. September. Batting .209/.255/.395 with 1 HR 6 K’s and 3 BB in 43 at-bats is not great. Many Reds fans want to see Aquino play every day in right field but as it looks today, that is a long shot. A crowded outfield needs to sort itself out and Aquino needs to have a strong spring to earn MLB innings. Jose Siri is on the 40 man roster and is also struggling in areas. .196/.264/.411 with 34 K’s in 112 t-bats. His 6 home runs are a positive, but the strikeouts continue to haunt him no matter where he is playing. You can drool over his defense but if the bat doesn’t come around neither will the playing time. Trahan and Rodriguez will be SS depth in Louisville with Rodriguez hitting better this winter at .309/.351/.324 in 68 at-bats while Trahan is hitting .176/.235./.187. Christian Colon earned a September call up and will be a great veteran option this season for Cincinnati. In 60 at-bats his line is .217/.338/.267 9 BB to 6 K’s in 60 at-bats.
The three big prospects (India, Stephenson, Garcia) have mixed results. Stephenson continues to impress as his .347/.418/.490 and 7 doubles caught the eyes of many prospects ranking systems as they continue to move him up the list. Feels like he will be beating down the door to get to Cincinnati this season. Garcia, like Stephenson, has caught the eyes of prospects rankers and has increased his spot amongst popular list. .213/.290/.311 12 K’s and 3 stolen bases in 61 at-bats won’t raise his name to the top but what he has shown over the past calendar year has impressed many. India hit .133/.254/.333 with 3 HR 21 K’s in 60 at-bats. Where he projects in the Reds future is still a large question mark moving forward.
Notable Names: Vladimir Gutierrez (11), Jesus Reyes, Alex Powers
Gutierrez had a rough start in AAA Louisville but finished strong. 7 starts in the Dominican winter league resulted in a 3.21 ERA 20 K’s 12 BB 1.21 WHIP and batters hit .214. The 24 year old will need to show improvements in 2020 to earn a shot with the Reds. Reyes had a cup of coffee with the Reds in 2018. This offseason he pitched 20.2 innings 3.48 ERA 11 BB to 17 K’s .186 avg. Remains a depth bullpen arm for the organization. Powers earned an invite to Arizona this year. This winter he pitched 12 innings to a tune of 0.75 ERA 7 BB 12 K’s .92 WHIP .121 avg. No matter what level, Powers has been terrific. Cincinnati is far from set in the bullpen and a player like Powers is in a perfect position to earn a spot. He’s a name to keep a close eye on all year.
Before you get too excited or too low on a player just remember what these stats mean, not a whole lot. Small sample sizes and competition level make it hard to predict what a player will do in 2020. Regardless, it’s good to get familiar with seem of these names and see if they can impact the Reds in 2020 or beyond.
All stats and players can be found here: http://mlb.mlb.com/milb/stats/org.jsp?id=cin&y=2019
Mailbag: Senzel, Winker, Votto, and More
Time for an offseason mailbag to get your focus on what the Reds need to do th be better for 2021
It’s been a while and we have all had a chance to process that Reds playoff performance. Yuck. However, it is time for offseason talk. Let’s get into the mailbag.
What are the Reds going to do at catcher? The Reds and pitchers seem to like Casali and Barnhart behind plate..
The Reds once again went with the duo of Casali and Tucker behind the plate in 2020. The results were underwhelming, but not miserable. Tucker is a finalist for a gold glove while hitting .204/.291/.388 and an OPS+ of 77. Casali hit .224/.366/.500 with an OPS+ of 126. However, we all want to see the exciting prospect, Tyler Stephenson, take his reign of the position. I expect exactly that next season. Having a veteran backing him up is important so I’d imagine Tucker plays that role as he is under contract while Casali will enter arbitration.
In terms of how the pitchers like Casali and Tucker, I think that just comes with time. I am sure once the pitchers get to work with Stephenson more, they will learn to pitch well to him.
If there is a DH in 2021, shouldn’t #19 fill that role and let Da Wink and (place RH bat here) platoon at 1st?
The only thing the Reds have now is time (between now, and next season). So, what is their excuse for not putting Senzel at 2B, and give him regular ABs? (This makes Votto the DH, and Moose 1B)
What’s the odds of moving Senzel to 2nd, Moose to 1st and Votto to DH.
Well this is my intake everybody has one with the Outfield I guess we’re not going to have a DH going forward so Jesse Winker needs to be traded along with Nick Senzel I definitely keep Shogo, and hopefully we can keep Castellanos and let’s go try to get a productive outfielder
I want to clump all these together because it’s pretty much all the same gist. So, let’s breakdown what it could look like with and then without the DH.
WITH: Votto to DH, Moose to first, Senzel STAYS in center, second is open to add speed/OBP.
Explanation: Votto’s defense is terrible. His contract isn’t going anywhere, so put him at DH. He still has something left with the bat. When Moose signed he wasn’t signing on to play second for the duration of that contract. No way. Move him to first and the defense at first likely improves. Keep Senzel in Center. Injuries and swing changes have stunted the development of Senzel enough. Asking him to change back to second after 2 years of focusing on becoming a CF just feels like something they will not do. He hasn’t done any work (that we know of ) at second since he moved to CF.
Now for 2B. Bringing back the same team that barely sneaked into an expanded playoff (while maybe losing Bauer) seems like a bad idea. Changes have to be made. The Reds added plenty of HR power last offseason, now add a 2B that might be a better OBP guy. Speed and better baserunning would be welcomed as well. In theory, this could increase the defensive ability at second as well.
WITHOUT: Votto at first (with plenty of days off), Moose at 2B, Senzel in CF, Winker traded.
Explanation: Votto really doesn’t have anywhere else to go besides the bench. There is not an option at this point, when they play him he will be at first. Which leaves Moose at second. Again, not a thrilling defensive side of the infield, but Moose held his own at second but as he gets older his range will continue to drop. Senzel in CF for the same reason’s I listed above. Winker is traded. In this scenario, I am still looking to shake up the team from 2020. ( I am also assuming Castellanos is returning) An OF with Winker and Castellanos fielding would be far less than ideal. I really like Winker, but Shogo could be ready for a bigger role. Winker has trade value and could strengthen the team in other areas by moving him. If the Reds make a big trade like many fans are hoping for, they will have to move MLB talent. They do not have enough top-end prospects to trade. If they do move the top prospects, they will deplete their farm system because it lacks depth. Remember, to acquire top-end talent you have to trade high value. Prospects out of the top 5 usually aren’t considered too high by many other organizations.
Goldstar or Skyline and Cut or Twirl
I have never even had Goldstar. No need to. Skyline fills my needs. Twirl
Predicting the Final Stretch
Let’s take a look at what’s left for the Reds in the 2020 Regular Season and what they need to do to make it to the Playoffs
September 18th, the weather is cooling down, football is starting (Bengals 0-2), every restaurant is putting pumpkin in everything, and the Reds have playoff hopes……wait what?! Yes, that’s right. The Reds are alive in September. Usually, these are the days of expanded roster players eating up innings as the season drags to the end. Not this year. Your Cincinnati Reds are playing for postseason baseball.
We all knew the Reds needed to get the four-game sweep of the Pirates. 4 games against one of the worst teams with so much on the line. Well, the Reds got it done. A clean sweep. This sweep, combined with the Cardinals losing a few games, leaves the Reds in sole possession of second place in the central. Now, I wouldn’t assume they will be there come September 27th. The Cardinals do have doubleheaders today (Friday) and next Friday and we know it can be hard to win twice in a day. They also play the Pirates (15-34), Royals (23-26), and Brewers (21-29) to finish the season. Favorable to say the least. The Reds have the White Sox (33-17), Brewers (21-29), and Twins (31-21).
The White Sox might be my favorite team to watch this year. A mixture of young studs and all-star vets, this team has a ton of offense. Tim Anderson might win back to back batting titles. I don’t want to sound like a southside fan, but let’s be honest, this team is likable. It’s going to be tough to win this series. They did recently clinch a playoff spot, but don’t confuse that with them “resting” starters. Reds pitching will have to be damn near flawless and the offense probably needs to give them 4 runs for a win. Prediction: Take 1 of 3 (Reds: 26-28)
We all know the Brewers. A team that has been solid the past few years lost some key players and Yelich is hitting .208. They aren’t what they thought they would be, but they won’t just fold. They will not give up on their postseason hopes until they are officially eliminated. The Reds are 4-3 vs the Brew Crew this year. An important 3 game series, the Reds could pick up ground here. We have seen how they have played the Brewers to a nearly .500 record this year, so I doubt a sweep happens. Prediction: Take 2 of 3. (Reds 28-29)
The Twins are right behind the White Sox. 1 and 2 in their division. However, I don’t find them as “scary” as the White Sox. Like the White Sox, the Twins are in the same division as the Indians, who Trevor Bauer pitched for before the Reds. Bauer will know some of these Batters and that alone could help him steal a win (assuming he pitches in the series.) The Reds will have their backs against the wall with their playoff hopes on the line. However, the Twins have a better lineup. Prediction: Take 1 of 3 (Reds 29-31).
*Keep in mind I do not have pitching matchups*
Will that be good enough to make the playoffs? Hard to tell. Many have said 30 wins gets you in. Maybe another team falls apart down the stretch. We are in the time of scoreboard watching. In that time of year where we stay up late to watch a west coast game and cheer hard for a Diamondbacks win (or some other “random” team). I love it. I love the intensity and game on the line feeling. Each win feels monumental.
Enjoy the ride.
Dugout Mugs Chat with Pete Rose September 15 at 9 PM
Join our friends from Dugout Mugs Tuesday night as they chat with Pete Rose
Our friends from Dugout Mugs are having a chat with Reds legend Pete Rose tomorrow night, September 15th, at 9:00 PM EST. They will be promoting their new line of mugs which feature the Hit King (and look good, too) as well as holding an “ask me anything” type segment where fans are encouraged to submit questions here.
Though embroiled in controversy off the field, Rose was one of the best to ever play on the field. I’m not sure we will ever see anyone approach 4256 career hits mostly because I’m not sure we will ever see a player put together a 24-year career with a 162-game average of 194 hits. It’s not just longevity but also the consistency with which Rose played for the length that he played.
Most Reds fans would agree he is one of the best to ever wear a Reds uniform and you will have a chance to drop Rose a question that they will talk about on the Dugout Mugs Facebook live event. Make sure to also tune in at 9:00 PM!