Mark Sheldon posted his latest projection for the Cincinnati Reds 25-man roster for opening day on Thursday afternoon. There weren’t any big surprises from the position players in his projection. The pitching staff had a few surprises though. The bigger ones included Bronson Arroyo making the rotation, while Robert Stephenson and Tim Adleman filled out the bullpen. Obviously, everything is subject to change and for multiple different reasons (performance, injury, trades). If Stephenson doesn’t make the rotation it will be very interesting to see what happens. Dick Williams seemed opposed to placing starters in the bullpen when he was on Fox Sports Ohio on Wedensday unless the team had five established starters (and he noted that the team didn’t). Bryan Price, on the flip side, has been pounding the “bring them in through the bullpen and then move them into the rotation” since he took the job.

Tom Nichols has posted two new Dayton Dragons position previews this week. First he previewed the shortstop position where it looks like the starter will be Hector Vargas. He began the year with Dayton in 2016 as well. Vargas struggled with the Dragons in the first two months before being sent back to Billings. Once he joined the Mustangs he took off at the plate, hitting .352/.365/.538 with 17 doubles, two triples and six home runs in 57 games. Improving his walk rate will be key as he walked a total of 10 times in 358 plate appearances between his two stops last season.

The next Dragons preview was to look at the third base position where it looks like the position could be manned by either John Sansone or C.J. Wright. Both players were drafted in 2016 and spent their seasons with the Billings Mustangs. Sansone played 20 games at third base (also played 22 games at second) and hit .285/.336/.435 with the Mustangs. He showed solid pop with 18 extra-base hits in 50 games. Wright played in 14 games at third, 14 games at first and five more at second. At the plate ht hit .225/.359/.400, showing a solid idea of the strikezone with 19 walks and 29 strikeouts in 39 games played. He also showed a bit of pop in his bat, hitting six doubles and five home runs.

Over at The Bats Signal (the Louisville Bats official blog), Chris Loy has been previewing the possible roster for the Reds Triple-A team over the past few days. You can see the three parts (pitchers and catchers, infielders, and outfielders) by clicking here.

The Pensacola Blue Wahoos will be gettingĀ  a new video board before the season begins. This has been something going around the Reds affiliates of late. The Dayton Dragons got a brand new one prior to the 2016 season. The Louisville Bats are getting two new ones prior to the start of this season – one that replaces the old one and then a brand new one. The Blue Wahoos ownership will take on part of the cost for the board, as will the company that operates the stadium and the college that shares the stadium.

The new board will replace the old one that has been having issues of late. It will not only be an upgrade in technology, but it will also be larger than the previous one. It will be 26.3 feet tall and 30.5 feet wide. That’s 74% larger than the one it will be replacing.

34 Responses

  1. Bill

    Great point about the apparent disconnect between Price and Williams on the value of using the bullpen as a means to transition pitchers into the Majors.

    It could be simply that they have different time horizons that are shaping their perspectives with Price focused on winning this year and Williams trying to put together a championship team as soon as as possible, but realistically, not this year.

    This will be a really interesting story line over the next couple of weeks.

  2. Steve

    I say we start the season protecting as many of our assets as possible and make adjustments as the year goes along. By this, I mean players and money. To make this happen, first Disco is put on the 60 day DL and Ogando is put on waivers. That opens 2 spots. Starters would be Finnegan, Feldman, Reed, Stephenson and Adleman. Garrett, Davis and Romano all start the year in Louisville to protect service time and can come up anytime after the first 2 weeks as needed. Relievers would be Astin, Luetge, Wood, Cingrani, Storen, Lorenzen and Iglesias. Luetge takes a spot. Brice and Peralta in Louisville at the start of the season. We keep 3 catchers because of the uncertainty of Mes, so Mes, Barnhart and Turner. Turner seems to be a keeper and should not be sent back to the Twins. JV, Peraza, Cozart, Suarez, Duvall, BHam and Schebler are the starters. Walker, Alcantara and Iribarren are reserves. Iribarren gets 2nd spot. I understand Kivlehan and Renda are much deserving and should make the 25, but they start the year in Louisville, playing everyday and ready to come up at anytime. Winker is also deserving, but his service time must also be protected. No unnecessary money spent on Arroyo, Jennings or Raburn. We have protected the majority of the players and have saved money.
    I have no problem with Adleman in the bullpen as his effectiveness lessens the 2nd and 3rd time through the lineup. He’s better suited to be a 2-3 inning reliever. If Stephenson doesn’t make the starting rotation with the Reds, I’d rather see him start at Louisville. Fast forward one year from now with the same situation, I’d be more accepting of him in the bullpen as some of the other young starters would have stepped up to fill starter roles.
    Price is not DW’s guy. Regardless of the win/loss record this year, I hope the Reds go in a different direction with who manages the 2018 Reds. I really hope the Reds hire Mike Sarbaugh, the 3rd base/ infield coach of the Cleveland Indians. He’s a proven winner as a player, coach and manager. He doesn’t have ML managing experience and wouldn’t break the bank for his salary. He was ripe for the picking to manage the Reds in 2017, but instead the FO decided to give Price a 1 yr contract with team option for 2018. As the Indians are heavy favorites in the AL, there will be GMs scouting their coaching staff in search of managerial candidates. My hope is that Price does not live up to expectations and is let go sometime during the season and we hire Sarbaugh. I fear that if we wait until the season is over, we will not be able to compete with other clubs that will offer him a higher salary. Hopefully, he moves down the road in Goodyear and is leading the Reds into Goodyear Ballpark next spring! Actually, would love to see him leading the 2017 Reds into GABP. Don’t miss the boat with Sarbaugh DW!

    • Bill

      Arroyo signed for the major league minimum. I’m not saying he should make the team, but he would not add to the payroll.

      • Steve

        Agree, he would not add to the payroll, but he would be taking valuable playing time that we could give to a younger starting pitcher that would be part of the future with the Reds. Its not a money issue with Arroyo, it’s a player development issue. This year is for player development at the ML level.

      • Colt Holt

        You are assuming development of four pitchers without arroyo is better than three with. People have questioned jettisonimg straily who was teaching guys pitches, arroyo was a help in cueto’s development.

      • Steve

        Arroyo can be added to the Reds as a roving pitching instructor, not 5th starter. He would then be able to help all pitchers throughout the organization. His salary would not be counted toward the player payroll and would be much less than league minimum, which he would be paid making the 25 man roster.

      • Doug Gray

        Arroyo doesn’t seem to be interested in coaching, so that one may not work out. Still, I’m not so sure I’d be adding him to the 40-man.

  3. Norwood Nate

    I understand most of the thought process behind the predictions for the roster, but I certainly don’t agree with it.

    More and more I think we should cut ties with Jennings and Raburn. I’d like to see Kivlehan make the team out of ST along with Irribarren, Alcantara, and Turner for the bench.

    I was thinking about AAA position players yesterday. The “starting 8” in my mind would be Brantley, Walker, Herrera, Vincej, Renda, Winker, Ervin, and Elizalde. Kivlehan would take 3B if not on Reds. That would leave guys like Renda and Dixon coming off the bench.

    With Jennings and Raburn both on the Reds it will create less at bats in Louisville. With either in Louisville it’s the same situation. I’d rather see the Reds part ways than take away playing time or development time from guys like Kivlehan, Renda, Dixon, and Elizalde. Those guys may be future bench contributors, Jennings and Raburn may offer something for this year, which doesn’t amount to much.

    • Bill

      I’m torn on Jennings and Raburn. I think it’s got to be tough to come off the bench for younger player like Renda and Kivlehan. Both are used to playing multiple positions, but are the Reds better served by holding them in reserve and continuing to develop at Louisville? Renda has little time at AAA. Additionally, both have been outrighted from the 40-man once. I believe that gives them the option of becoming free agents if it happens a second time.

      I feel like we’ve been burned before going with the hot hand out of ST. I think I prefer to see Jennings and Raburn in bench roles to start. There is some modest salary risk with this route and that is a consideration this year given that the Reds aren’t expected to compete.

      • Doug Gray

        Everyone has been burned going with the hot hand out of spring training.

        Joe Maddon said this in an ESPN article on spring training: “You pretty much know what your team is supposed to look like when you come into camp, and I’m a big believer in that,” Maddon said. “You have to rely on previous years’ results regarding players; don’t be fooled by a guy that hasn’t done a whole lot who has a great spring, and don’t be fooled by the guy who has had great success but has had a bad spring.”

        He gets it. This is how it should be. It’s how it always should be.

        http://insider.espn.com/mlb/insider/story/_/id/14936398/is-spring-training-too-long-hitters-pitchers-manager-weigh-mlb

  4. Cguy

    The Loy item about possible Bats outfielders made no mention of Gabby Guerrero. He’s already played AAA ball in 2016 (PCL). I sure would like to see the Reds hold onto him. What’s the deal ?

    • Doug Gray

      Probably more likely slated for Double-A, where he’s never actually performed well.

  5. MikeinSoCal

    I just can’t see Mesoraco being ready. It makes more sense to rehab in Louisville. Likewise how can Arroyo be ready after being away for a couple of seasons. I think he is an asset to the team but maybe in a mop up role. I like Stephenson in the rotation. And I am rooting for Kivlehan and Renda to make the bench.

  6. Wes

    Sheldon has way to many prospects w service time on 25 man roster. Not a good sign.

    Who can they use other than Garrett reed and Stephenson?

    • Bill

      I agree on Garrett; CBA affords the Reds the opportunity to get another year of control for less than 2 weeks of time at AAA. This should be a no-brainer this year.

      Reed has 107 days of service time. Stephenson has 36 days. With Bailey and DeSclafani injured someone has to pitch on the major league roster. Also, there are only so many rotation spots at Louisville; we don’t want guys pitching in Pensacola that are ready to be challenged at Louisville. Lastly, it’s better to spread out when our players hit the free agent market rather than having them all depart (or have to be resigned) together.

      • Doug Gray

        I’m not sure where that 107 days for Reed is coming from, but I don’t believe that to be correct at all. By my count he’s just under 100.

      • Wes

        No. keep em down at all cost. Play the game to your advantage. If all 3 pan out to be 3s or better we are lucky to keep 1 and trade other 2. Timely trades is essential to long term success. We missed on Phillips bailey cuato and hit on latos. To maintain success u got to go 4/4 or at least 3/4. If not your rebuilding for 4 years and competing for 4.

      • Bill

        Doug, I found the 107 days on redspressbox.com under spring training information/expanded roster.

        Wes, if you build the major league roster soley around maximizing service time, how do you allow the Reds pool of starting pitcher prospects continue to develop? Reed, Stephenson, Garrett, Romano, Davis, Stephens, Bonilla, and Travieso have little to prove in Pensacola.

        Also, do you think we should just plan to cycle between competing and tanking? That’s a likely outcome to holding everyone in the minors until you believe your competive. How do you know you are competitive if you hold your future core back? Playing service time “at all costs” has some serious “costs.”

      • Bill

        baseballreference.com also has Reed at 107 days. are there better sources for service time data?

      • Wes

        I want to keep from going from tanking to competing. Maximizing service time is essential for that. Yes keep all guys in lower leagues. If u want to make it to Louisville- pitch a shutout month and earn it. There’s a lot of competition for rotation spots in reds system. Earning it builds character.

        You can only start 5 down the road and we got a dozen to pick from as is. The longer we have to make that decesion the better decesion we can make. And that’s at the expense of creating value w added service time on those who don’t make it.

        Be patient! We are close to big things!

      • Bill

        Wes, most players take some time to adjust at the Major League level. I agree the players should earn their promotions, but holding guys back soley for service time that have demonstrated they are ready to progress is more likely to build resentment than character.

        Back to your original question, who takes the place of Stephenson and Garrett in your Reds rotation? Should we option Finnegan and Lorenzen, too? They have options and could have their free agency delayed under the CBA.

        Which prospects do you give up to bring in players to fill out the starting five, bullpen and bench pieces to execute the plan your advocating?

      • Bill

        Please sub Reed for Garrett above. I agree Garrett, Romano & Davis should be held back at least a few weeks. I think it’s time to let the others develop in the majors.

      • Wes

        You can make the case to start all 3 those guys in minors. Garrett due to experience and other 2 due to MLB results. But idk who they have instead- that’s why I asked- I was shocked Garrett was on there and Stephenson was n pen. And if reds don’t have anyone it still doesn’t mean keeping them up was right move. It’s poor planning. W other guys not hurt- they were for sure starting in Louisville w reed as a borderline guy.

      • Wes

        Actually i think our philosophy for the season differs and that’s why we see things differently. I want to see the reds finish last this year and you prob wanna see em win 80 games?

      • Bill

        I’m not really concerned with wins/losses this year. But that’s why it is so important to see what Reed and Stephenson can do over the next few months at the Major League level. Later we’ll need to see what Garrett, Romano and Davis can do.

        My other point is that the 40-man roster is designed to prevent teams from hoarding talent in the minors. The Reds are going to have to add players to the 40-man roster just to complete their 25-man roster. The only potential utility player on the 40-man is Alcantara. At least two and more likely three will be added meaning guys like Bonilla, Ogundo, and Walker are exposed to waivers before they can be outrighted to the minors. Add in Arroyo and now you probably have to place DeSclafani on the 60-day DL making him unavailable until early June. Assuming we start Finnegan, Feldman, Arroyo, and Adleman we still need a fifth starter. Even if you bring in a free agent, you need a 40-man slot for that free agent costing us a legitimate prospect all because we’re prioritizing service time.

        I’m willing to be patient, but we can’t keep everyone down this year to freeze the service time clock. I just don’t seem that as a feasible course of action.

  7. Arnold Ziffle

    RStephenson to the bullpen? If I can quote the famous Dick Enberg, “Oh my!”
    My, oh my. I said it all winter, to the bullpen or the trading block. Sad thing is, they really do need him to step up his starters game at this time.
    If the battle for bench spots had to be settled today, it would be Barnhart, Turner, Renda, Iribarren, and Kivlehan. One of the C’s might have to by a 1B mitt.
    The depth chart
    C- Mesoraco, Barnhart, Turner
    1B- Votto, Kivlehan, Duvall, Turner, Iribarren
    2B- Peraza, Renda, Iribarren, Cozart
    SS- Cozart, Peraza, Iribarren, Suarez
    3B- Suarez, Renda, Kivlehan, Iribarren, Duvall
    LF- Duvall, Renda, Iribarren, Kivlehan, Schebler
    CF- Hamilton, Iribarren, Peraza
    RF- Schebler, Kivlehan, Iribarren, Duvall

    Versatility with only 3 real bench spots is going to be very crucial.

    • Doug Gray

      Even Price has said that if one of the young guys winds up in the bullpen, it’s only for the short term.

  8. sultanofswaff

    I just don’t like how the big decision (handing the SS job to Cozy and not asking him to learn 2B and 3B) is leading to the possibility of AAAA guys like Renda and Kivlehan making the roster. One bad decision resulting in more bad decisions. Peraza is the SS on our next playoff team. Does anyone dispute that? Cozart’s value playing SS everyday won’t alter his trade value appreciably…..he’s a year away from free agency after all. Cozart/Peraza shuffling around the infield to back up 2B/3B when needed is the smart play, leaving lenty of at-bats to go around. Price’s obsession with roles is the driving force here, and it’s counterproductive to fielding the best team.

    Unless Mez starts getting 4-5 ABs every day until Opening Day, he won’t be ready and should start in AAA. Turner looks the part of a backup.

    I like Jennings on the roster. He’s a legit defender playing his natural position. Coming off the bench should keep him (and Billy) healthy. This could be a very nice pairing.

    • Doug Gray

      I’ll disagree on Cozart, to a point. After his knee had him shut down last year, he needs to show other teams he can actually play shortstop regularly if you want him to have any trade value.

      • MuddyCleats

        LA SS (Seager) has injuried oblique & may miss start of season. Cozart has proven he can play in ST. Any chance LA might be interested in Cozy for one of their extra SPs like Wood, McCarthy or Brandon Marrow??

  9. HavaKlu

    So what has happened to our million dollar babies—–Yorman Rodriguez, age 24 and Juan Duran, age 25? They either don’t want to play or no one wants them. Maybe some of our Venezuela and Dominican players could tell us.

  10. Bill

    I really enjoyed Tom Nichols series on the potential Dayton Dragon’s players. Thanks for pointing those out.