Reds Spring Training Game Review – 3/12/17 Doug Gray March 12, 2017 18 Comments The Cincinnati Reds played a set of split squad games for the second straight day. This time they took on the Milwaukee Brewers and the Colorado Rockies. Reds vs Brewers The Reds broke their losing streak against the Brewers on Sunday afternoon, holding on for a 4-2 win. You can see the entire box score for the game here. Jesse Winker doubled, going 1-3 on the afternoon while starting in right field. Brian O’Grady took over in left field for Adam Duvall later in the game. He drew a walk in his only plate appearance. Stuart Turner entered the game for Devin Mesoraco, who was only scheduled for one at-bat. Turner went 2-2 and is now hitting .412 on the season. On the mound there were some good performances from several minor leaguers. Sal Romano allowed a run in 3.2 innings of work. The right hander walked one batter and had seven strikeouts. Romano now has 16 strikeouts in 10.2 innings with a 1.69 ERA. Ismael Guillon finished out the inning for Romano, recording an out and walking one batter. Batter Astni came on for a clean inning to follow and tossed a shutout frame with two strikeouts. That lowered his ERA to 1.93 this spring. Austin Ross allowed a run in the 9th inning with a strikeout, picking up the save. Reds vs Rockies The Reds kept up their winning ways by taking the second game of their split squad action on Sunday by beating the Rockies 9-8. You can see the entire box score for the game here. Rookie Davis was getting things done on both fronts on Sunday. At the plate he helped himself with a 2-RBI double in his lone plate appearance. On the mound he was cruising through three innings before rolling his ankle covering first base. He remained in the game, unfortunately (he wound up hitting Ian Desmond, breaking his hand in the process – which Davis noted got away from him because he couldn’t plan when throwing). Davis left the bases loaded after leaving with the trainer. No one had scored to that point for Colorado. That changed quickly as Wandy Peralta gave up a grand slam. Davis would wind up with this line: 3IP, 2H, 2ER, 0BB, 3K. Luis Castillo took over after Peralta. He threw 2.0 shutout innings, walking two batters with a hit mixed in. Ariel Hernandez, who topped 100 MPH three different times in the game, pitched a little better than his line suggests. He was charged with two runs in an inning on a hit and two walks. The two walks are on him. The 2-RBI triple, however, was an easy play that Gabby Guerrero lost in the sun. Cory Luetge came on for the 8th and part of the 9th innings. He threw 1.2 hitless innings with a walk and two strikeouts. Duente Heath recorded the final out of the game for the save. At the plate Christian Walker went 2-3 with a run while getting the start in left field. His replacement was Phillip Ervin who kept up the hitting for the left fielder. Ervin tripled in a run in his only plate appearance of the game. T.J. Friedl got into the left field mix, taking over late and going 1-1 with a walk and a run. Brandon Dixon took over at third base for Eugenio Suarez and went 1-2 with an RBI and a run. Aristides Aquino went 1-2 with a run and RBI after taking over for Scott Schebler in right field. 18 Responses Hoyce March 12, 2017 Doug- how high of a ceiling does tj freidel have. He is very intriguing to me Doug Gray March 12, 2017 Solid starting center fielder, probably. I don’t like placing ceilings on guys that I haven’t seen much of, or never in person. Let’s remember that there were teams that knew that he was draft eligible and did not draft him. Baseball America knew he was draft eligible and he was not one of their Top 500 available draft prospects. His performance with Team USA changed some things, for sure. But entering the draft, he was not thought to be a higher end prospect at all. I don’t think that’s changed much. He’s got plenty of speed, and he’s got a chance to hit – there’s some bat speed there for sure. But ceiling wise – most scouts still seem to think he’s a fringe starter at this point. Pat March 12, 2017 Any update on Rookie? Hopefully just a turned ankle…he was cruising until then. Doug Gray March 12, 2017 Yes – just a rolled ankle. http://redsminorleagues.com/2017/03/12/rookie-davis-exits-start-apparent-injury/ Mark March 12, 2017 Aquino seems pretty good I see him taking over right field this time next year or at minimum platooning with schebler Pat March 12, 2017 Thanks Doug, I saw Romano’s line and the pitching coach comments praising him. Also saw the manager’s comments on Rookie looking like a big league starter. We’ll see what Garrett does tomorrow. Nice problems to have though. Beard March 13, 2017 Doug what are your thoughts on who will be in the starting rotation the first three times through with Bailey and Disco out and maybe Rookie Davis too. Please rank the order that you think they may be most likely to be in the rotation based on skill, performance and contract/ control status. Doug Gray March 13, 2017 Finnegan, Reed, Feldman (I think they would be wise to separate the young guys with the “vets” just in case) – then after that, I really don’t know. I’d go Stephenson and Garrett, probably. I don’t think there’s anything to worry about with service time for Reed or Stephenson because of last year. With Garrett – it’s an issue with him, but at this point, there’s not much you can do. You just have too many spots to fill and he’s going to be 25 in May. I’d prefer to see him and Stephenson start the year in Louisville to continue to work on things, but that’s just incredibly unlikely given how things have played out. Romano – I think he could perform in the big leagues right now. But he’s the youngest, has the least experience and has no service time, so keeping him down saves you a season. Adleman – I wouldn’t mind giving him a few starts at #5. He held his own last season in the role. Nowhere near the upside of the younger guys, but he generally throws strikes and he can eat some innings. Rookie Davis – I like the uptick in velocity this spring. It doesn’t sound like the ankle is going to hold him back, but we shall see. No service time for Davis, but he’s also going to be 25 this season, so I’m less worried about the service time here than with a guy like Romano. I’d like to see the secondary stuff in play before placing him ahead of the other young guys in this battle. Pat March 13, 2017 Rookie’s still 23. 24 in April. I like your theory of keeping top youngsters down to save service time. Get’s complicated. Doug Gray March 13, 2017 This is why you don’t answer questions at 3am…. You forget how old everyone is and don’t want to check, either. Thanks for the correction. Chris March 13, 2017 Romono should make the team Doug Gray March 13, 2017 Fair or unfair, the team would prefer that he didn’t simply because him spending two weeks in the minor leagues this year means they get an entire extra year of service time out of him before free agency. At just 23-years-old, that could be quite important down the line. Same thing the team dealt with with Mike Leake. Had they just brought him up in 2009 on April 20th instead of the start of the year, he would not have been a free agent until this past offseason. All for three starts. Billy March 13, 2017 Doug, you are correct that Leake was a free agent a year early over three starts. That said, it was far from a sure thing that losing Leake a year early would have been a big deal. It was still possible that Leake could have turned into a big star, the solid starter he became, or just an arm that wasn’t good enough for long enough to warrant that follow-up contract. Pitchers often seem to have a notoriously short shelf life. When Bailey was given that extension, it was widely accepted that the Reds would sign one of the three of Cueto, Bailey, and Latos. At the time, I thought Latos was the young gun that was going to be the star, Cueto was ready to start the downhill slide, and Bailey was going to continue to progress into being the ace we always expected. My thinking was, “just don’t sign Cueto.” Oops. That unknown about pitchers is why I’d say not to worry about that extra year of service time. The team isn’t committing to anyone that far out. If they’re ready, let them pitch. If they blossom into a star and show a consistent track record of health (which is not remotely close to a guarantee of future health), then you can always work out an extension and keep them around for those years that you’d lose. Yes, it would cost more, but you’d be betting on a more certain (although still risky) asset at that point. I just don’t think playing the service time game is worth it with pitchers the same way it is with hitters. They’ve only got so many pitches in the arm. When they’re ready, make use of them. Just my two cents. Greenfield Red March 13, 2017 Hey Billy. In my opinion, the shelf life of pitchers is exactly why you worry about service time. If they had not rushed Bailey to the majors, he might have had his arm problems before the Reds signed him to a $100,000,000 contract. I think service time for pitchers is more important than that of everyday players. asinghoff March 13, 2017 It doesn’t matter if Leake was going to be a sure thing or not. But what if that young pitcher becomes a #1 or 2 starter, and then you have an extra year of cheap(er) labor compared to losing him? How much more could the Reds have gotten from Leake if they had traded him away with a year and a half of service time remaining as opposed to half a season? And for 3 starts of a season? It’s a silly rule, but if all it takes is 3 weeks in the minors, it absolutely makes the most sense to take advantage of it. There’s really no reason whatsoever not to do it, and the Reds messed up a little on this one. Kris Bryant tore the cover off the ball in spring training in 2015, and the Cubs still put him in AAA because there was absolutely no reason to start his service clock early. Doug Gray March 13, 2017 It takes less than two weeks. Kris Bryant is a perfect example: He OPS’d 1.600 in the spring. He spent exactly the amount of time necessary in the minors to get an extra year out of him. It was less than two weeks. Clammy March 13, 2017 Hey Doug, assuming the Reds like Turner, do you think a trade will be worked out so he doesn’t have to stick on the 25 man roster all year? This would still be insurance for Mesaraco while getting Turner some playing time with some of our future pitchers. Not knowing what the Twins need, do you think a trade for Brandon Dixon would make sense? From his defensive profile, it looks like he’s more of an American League player and considering the lack of depth at C, I think it would make sense for the Reds. Doug Gray March 13, 2017 I’m sure the Reds will approach the Twins about it, but everything we’ve heard since he was selected is that the Twins would prefer to keep him.