Reds Spring Training Game Review – 3/18/17 Doug Gray March 18, 2017 48 Comments The Cincinnati Reds played to a tie with the Texas Rangers on Saturday afternoon in Arizona, 3-3. You can see the entire box score for the game here. The big story of the day was that Bronson Arroyo only lasted 1.2 innings in the game. He was hit in the face/head by a thrown to second base on a steal attempt. He was ok and went to the complex to complete his throwing for the day. Alejandro Chacin entered the game at that point and threw 1.1 perfect innings of work. He would strike out two batters in that time. Sal Romano entered the game for the 4th inning and picked up right where he left off. The right hander was charged with an unearned run in 4.2 innings. He didn’t walk anyone and struck out three batters. The outing was the longest of the spring to this point by any Reds pitcher. It lowered his ERA to 1.17 in 15.1 innings this spring. He’s struck out 19 batters with just three walks in that time. Austin Orewiler entered the game with two outs in the 8th to clean up the frame and recorded the final out. Louis Coleman tossed a hitless 9th inning with a walk. Offensively it was a struggle for the Reds on the day. They managed just three hits. Billy Hamilton and Devin Mesoraco both had a hit in the game. Mesoraco’s hit was a double. Among the minor leaguers, it was Phillip Ervin who had the lone hit, but he made it count. He singled in a run in the bottom of the 9th that tied the game up. Ervin is now hitting .318 on the spring with a .991 OPS. He’s struck out just twice in 24 plate appearances. Stuart Turner walked in his only plate appearance of the game, taking over late in the game for Mesoraco. What’s Next This is just a reminder that Sunday and Monday will be days that I’m pretty much away from the computer and internet all day long. I will be driving for 14+ hours each day as I make my way to Arizona for spring training. I do have posts scheduled for Monday, and Sunday night will have a game review once I reach my hotel. Probably. My first day in Goodyear will be on Tuesday and I should have plenty of stuff on the site that evening and moving forward through Saturday before making my way back to Ohio. 48 Responses Philer Up March 18, 2017 Sal has earned a spot in the bullpen for the Reds thus far with his spring training performance. Doug Gray March 18, 2017 Bullpen? If we are looking at his spring performance, he’s earned a spot in the rotation over everyone. BBFAN March 18, 2017 No need to ask about Garrett, because I already know how you feel about him. So you can save your opinion that way you won’t have to eat your words. Chris March 18, 2017 Agreed Doug Gray March 19, 2017 BBFAN…. What on Earth are you talking about? You seem to have a thought that I think AG is not good or something and, well, I have no clue where you have gotten that idea. I’ll stand by all that I’ve said about Garrett all winter. He’s a Top 60 prospect in all of baseball and one of the better Reds prospects. If you think that I’m going to have to “eat those words”, I hope you’re right. Because that means he’s going to be a true top of the rotation pitcher. But, let’s be pretty clear here: I’m higher on Amir Garrett than most of the national media is, though we are all generally close. The only difference is that I’m also a tad bit higher on a few other guys in the system than they are, too. So please, before you try to put me in my place, or whatever other phrase you want to use to describe what you attempted, you should better understand where I’m at. Jim t March 18, 2017 Don’t want him in bullpen. He needs to be in rotation. Philer Up March 18, 2017 Not so fast Doug! He has only started one game and you know like I know after the 3rd inning all the starters are pulled and if you say they aren’t I challenge you to go back and see because I look at all that before I say anything to you. Just go back and look at the players after the 3rd. He has done well tho but not starting rotation. Michael W. March 18, 2017 He just threw 4.2 innings today… Whether it was at the start of the game or not is irrelevant. It’s longer than the three innings you stated the starters are getting pulled at and longer than relievers throw. Don’t understand your logic here? MK March 18, 2017 I believe he is leading all MLB Spring Training pitchers in ERA Philer Up March 18, 2017 No, Garrett is 0.79 or lower MikeD March 18, 2017 What to do with Sal if he continues to dominate? No matter what he does, no way do the Reds waste starting his clock. I am not keeping up with what they need to do but, at a minimum, hold him back for the early start and see how he does in Louisville. The Reds aren’t going to compete and while it would be a good story, it would not be a benefit to the rebuild. Good to see Mez continue to play however, Bronson might not be to thrilled with him! Ouch! Doug, have a safe trip and looking forward to hearing about your firsthand looks! Mike ohiojim March 18, 2017 Drive safely Doug. Look forward to your on the scene reports. Doug Gray March 18, 2017 Yes, last year was my first year and now that I know how everything goes down there – I’m going to be more prepared for everything. I’ve got a better plan, hopefully. And, I’m taking three computers with me, just in case I run into a situation like I did last year and one goes down. Two of them can handle video editing – though one will take significantly longer – it can handle it if needed. The third one is pretty much for internet/typing only. It’s only there in case I need to type something up on the road (trade/cuts – something like that). HavaKlu March 19, 2017 Before I say the next thing, I hope your travel is safe and sound. For a fanatic about analytics, it is surprising to me that you still avoid flying. The odds of dying in a plane crash are 11 million to one while car crashes cause death at a rate of 5,000 to 1. Also you would have 3 more days to spend there flying vs driving. Jim t March 18, 2017 Be safe Doug Hod Eller March 18, 2017 Enjoy the trip, Doug. Safe travels. Bill March 18, 2017 Doug, travel safely and have fun. Thanks for all you do! Steve March 18, 2017 Garrett, Romano, Davis and Winker have no business in Cincinnati on April 3rd unless they’re in the stands cheering the Reds on. Joining the Reds in Baltimore on April 18th, maybe. Good luck on the journey west Doug! Steve March 18, 2017 Doug, hopefully you can get tons of pics with the players in “Cincinnati Red”. Then, you can use them daily when writing your articles. Optimistic thinking! MK March 18, 2017 So thy can all become free agents at the same time? The Duke's Doppelganger March 18, 2017 Better than being free agents a year earlier than they need to be. No guarantees they are all on the big club to start next year too. They are in a position now to where they are going to get a chance, but they still have to prove themselves with that chance. Steve March 19, 2017 Don’t think so because the years of options would be different. Not sure of the exact numbers, but I believe Garrett has only one option year left. So, the MLB time accrued would be different based on future play. Some might be sent down while others kept up and keep accruing time. We wouldn’t be able to afford all of them anyway, even if their clocks started at different points. BBFAN March 18, 2017 Michael W, of course you don’t but you will. There is a difference when you pitch against The likes of Heyward, Rizzo, Bryant , Trout , Desmond, and other MLB players which I cant name them all. Sal has done a great job but those are some of the guys he has pitched against will be the ones he will face in AAA if he goes there as a starter, but he can make an impact as a reliever and skip AAA and a 1st year reliever makes as much as a 1st year starter and by skipping AAA as a starter equal a MLB reliever who will get a shot at starting. Price has already said that there are only two pitchers not considered for the bullpen, his words not mine. There are guys that would play for a cup of coffee let alone $500K. Michael W. March 18, 2017 Ok, so I do understand now. When Philer up mentioned starters being pulled after three innings. I thought he was speaking about starting pitching endurance not going past three innings and not talking about the offensive starters that Sal would have to face. I do see now and understand the logic. Thank you for replying and correcting my misinterpretation of the comment! Todd Powers March 18, 2017 I know about Ervin’s numbers, but does he have the look of a movie player? Todd Powers March 18, 2017 Spellcheck changed moxie to movie. LOL Mustang John March 18, 2017 Just got back from AZ. Had a great time.Got to spend some time with Winker Romano Hamilton Amarol . Was able to get a great picture with Votto also. Watching him practice and how he works on different aspects of his game were amazing.Garrett and Romano are dealing.Just missed meeting my favorite Red of all time Johnny Bench. Got some nice pics of Larkin and George Foster though.Safe travels Doug and by the way some of the players I talked to like your site.A lot of them actually. Jake March 18, 2017 Let’s not get ahead of ourselves with romano he’s doing good right now, but garrett has an awesome resume futures game 2 years in a row, pitcher of the year 2 years in a row. His numbers have been awesome he has produced. Romano’s number are ok but for me I like to see consistent all year not just 1 half. Do it the whole year then we can talk about something. Garrett has made me a believer. And his era in spring is a 0.79 does nobody see this? Doug Gray March 19, 2017 Romano isn’t just doing good. He’s probably got the best numbers of any pitcher in spring training right now. 19 strikeouts and 3 walks in 58 batters faced? I don’t care if that’s come against some AA/AAA guys along the way – those are incredible numbers. That’s not taking anything away from Amir Garrett, who has been very good in his own right. I don’t really know how we got to this point though. Somehow, mentioning that Sal’s been incredible turned into multiple people thinking that’s a slight against Amir Garrett. That seems to happen over and over and over with the same two or three posters. BBFAN March 19, 2017 Doug,I have confessed about my connection to Garrett and it all started with basketball and I have followed him ever since and I would get alerts on him and that lead me to you and once you told me baseball america was not creditable on Reds players because they didn’t focus on them like you do so that how you and I got started. Baseball America rated Garrett higher than you and I question you ranking Travieso higher. Now we are at this point and you say Sal is the best spring training pitcher. Sal has done great coming in the later innings and he had 1 good start , but Garrett has started against the last two teams that were in the World Series,Cleveland and the Cubs with top MLB players and against Mike Trout and several MLB players and it showed the difference when he errored twice and they capitalize on that. The one game that he pitched against the A’s they had a bunch of utility players and AA/AAA players he no hit them. All I’m saying is if Sal is going to skip AAA then let him learn in the MLB as a reliever, because as you and I know the relievers will get a lot of work this coming year. So once again Sal is doing a good job and I think he will be a starter, but skipping AAA to a starter is a stretch. And Doug as far as you being higher on Garrett as most national media means you’re not reading most articles out there about Garrett and now he has to be top of the rotation before you will give him his due credit. Well if he makes the the opening day rooster or has to wait 2 weeks, I think it’s pretty good for a basketball player. The Duke's Doppelganger March 19, 2017 I learned a long time ago to not fall in love with spring training stats. BigHurt March 19, 2017 Is airfare awful to Arizona? Sheesh that’s a long drive chris March 19, 2017 It is awful the airfare to Phoenix lollipopcurve March 19, 2017 Safe travels Doug. Hope you have a great time. Jim t March 19, 2017 What Doug should have done was fly into Vegas on Southwest Airlines. Making his reservation a month in advance. Rent a car from Enterprise. Stay the night at the Red Rock hotel. Watch the weekend NCAA basketball games at the sports book. Bet a 1000.00 to win on the Bearcats beating UCLA. Take the winnings and depart Early Monday morning for Goodyear. Beautiful drive over the Dam and down through Flagstaff. Return car and depart MaCarren airport in Vegas following Sunday evening and write trip report on flight back to Cincinnati. Now is that a plan or what??? Lol!!! Michael Green March 19, 2017 I’ve longed for the days of folks arguing over who is the best pitching prospect. Currently, two are up for Opening Day debate with more to come. Personally, I think Arroyo keeps Romano’s spot warm for 10 days or whatever the magic number is to save an extra year on Romano. That is why you see them slated to pitch the same day. Doug, I’m headed to AZ as well and offer to buy you lunch. Thx ManBearPig March 19, 2017 Some of the comments on this website are just painful to read. I can barely follow what some of you are trying to say… Anyway, what’s the logic behind keeping Garrett in AAA to start the year? I feel like people aren’t thinking about his age. If he started the season with the Reds, he would be 31 years old when he reaches free agency. That’s pretty old for a pitcher. The logic behind keeping a player down to start the year makes more since when you’re talking about a younger player who would reach free agency in their mid to late 20’s. Pitchers arms are a gamble as it is, you might as well get as many innings in Cincinnati while his arm is young and fresh as you can. Norwood Nate March 19, 2017 The essential sticking points when it comes to Garrett’s service time boils down to this: Do you prefer 10 days of Garrett in April 2017 when he’s 25, or do you want an entire year of Garrett at age 32? 32 is not really old for a pitcher, and is just on the downside of what should be his prime years. For the cost of ten days in April during a year the Reds aren’t really competing, I’ll roll the dice on Garrett still performing well at age 32. Norwood Nate March 19, 2017 Some Sunday discussion about the bench and NRI’s if anyone’s interested. At this point it appears the Reds will have to make some roster moves to fill out the bench. The Reds 40-man lacks viable options to fill out the bench. Left in camp and on the 40-man are Winker, Ervin, Walker, Turner, and Alcantara. Winker won’t start with the Reds unless he’s playing everyday, and they won’t start his service time to sit on the bench. Until we sort out Duvall and Schebler in the corners, Winker will continue to to season in AAA. Ervin has no AAA experience and it’s unlikely he’d start the year in Cincinnati as well. Walker lacks the positional flexibility you’d like to see in a bench player, and mainly serves as Votto insurance. Price said the Reds won’t carry 3 catchers on the roster, and if that is to be believed, that means Turner will likely be returned to the Twins if Mesoraco is healthy enough. Sending Turner back to the Twins would open a roster spot to add a bench player, but it would also hurt the Reds catching depth. Alcantara is on the 40-man and out of options. I believe the Reds would be adverse to losing him, plus he has the positional flexibility and former prospect credentials that will likely lead to him being on the bench to start off. So with the 2nd catcher and Alcantara in tow, who fills the remaining 3 spots? Jennings, Raburn, Irribarren, Renda, and Kivlehan seem to be the main contenders. From listening to Price it appears that Jennings and Raburn are virtual shoe-ins, and that Irribarren is well respected by the Reds and Price, and likely is the front-runner for the last spot. The fact that he can play just about anywhere on the field but catcher is also a bonus. As is the fact that he did well as a PH at the end of last year and has positive veteran presence. Either way you slice it though, it means the Reds will very likely be in the spot of clearing 3 roster spots jus for their bench. So who’s near the 40-man cut line? Let’s start by listing out who’s safe. Bailey*, Castillo, Cingrani, Davis, Disco, Feldman, Finnegan, Garrett, Iglesias, Lorenzen, Mella, Travieso, Reed, Romano, Stephenson, Storen, Wood, Mesoraco, Barnhart, Votto, Peraza, Herrera, Cozart, Suarez, Aquino, Duvall, Ervin, Hamilton, Schebler, and Winker are all super safe bets to remain on the roster either due to their 25-man status or prospect status. That’s 29 guys plus Bailey who’s on the 60-day DL. Add in Alcantara and that’s 30 guys that should feel relatively safe from the cut line. That leaves us with Adleman, Astin, Bonilla, Brice, Hernandez, Ogando, Peralta, Stephens, Turner*, and Walker. (*Turner is returned if not on 40-man) Adleman and Bonilla are swing starters, with Bonilla having already been cut from big league camp. Astin, Brice, Hernandez, Ogando, and Peralta are relievers vying for the last two bullpen spots, although Hernandez has already been sent to minor league camp. Stephens is a starter who’s reached AA who’s also been sent to minor league camp. Walker and Turner serve as insurance for Votto and Mes respectively. So who gets cut from this group to make room for 3 bench players? Turner is the easiest one to sort out due to his status as a Rule V draft pick. Beyond that it seems that Bonilla, Ogando, and Peralta have the most tenuous hold on roster spots, or Walker who’s (hopefully) unlikely to be needed. Ogando and Peralta throw heat, but struggle with control. One’s a righty, one’s a lefty. The Reds lack LH relievers at the moment. Adleman could be a casualty if the Reds feel they don’t have the innings for him at AAA, although I’m sure he could move to the pen. Astin, Brice, Hernandez, and Stephens seem the safest from the cut line at the moment. Three were added to the 40-man this offseason to protect from Rule V, and Brice came over in the Straily trade. I don’t see the Reds jettisoning them at this point after they survived the offseason roster churn. And all of this comes before the bullpen is sorted out properly. There are 5 locks in the bullpen with Iglesias, Lorenzen, Storen, Cingrani, and Wood. Two spots remain and the Reds have guys like Luetge, Coleman, Arroyo competing for spots on the team as NRI’s. If the Reds want another lefty in the pen and determine Coleman is a better immediate option than Peralta, that creates another roster decision. Or, if the Reds want Arroyo to start in the rotation due to prospect service time considerations, that creates another roster decision. Depending on how the bullpen, bench, and rotation sort out, the Reds could add 4-5 players to their 40-man by opening day. And that’s not considering the fact that they’ll likely still scan the waiver wire for a last minute addition ala Straily or Simon from year’s past. Does anyone have predictions on who will be added and removed? I predict the Reds will add Jennings, Raburn, Irribarren, and Arroyo to the roster. I don’t think the Reds will want to start either Garrett or Romano in the rotation to start the year, regardless of whether their ST stats suggest they’ve earned it. I think the Reds will go with Finnegan, Feldman, Reed, Stephenson, and Arroyo to fill out the rotation. If Price believed in situational pitching, I’d think they’d add Coleman as well. But I think ultimately they’ll fill out the bullpen with guys already on the roster. Astin and Adleman would be my first two guesses. I think Bonilla, Ogando, Turner, and Walker are removed from the roster to make room for the guys they’ll add. BillyMcCool March 19, 2017 This is an EXCELLENT post. I will continue a discussion with you over the next few days. But first off, I believe Williams is discussing a return & trade back of Turner with the Twins GM, Thad Levine. This could happen the day after Opening Day. So I think the Reds will start with 3 catchers, but that won’t last long. I also believe Williams will wait on Arroyo, and won’t add him to the 40-Man until he needs him the 2nd week of the season…..Williams will buy a little time to manipulate the 40-Man. And he will add a Waiver Wire pitcher the last day of Spring Training. Patrick March 19, 2017 You need a 5th starter on April 9 so you do not get much time there MuddyCleats March 19, 2017 Does Meso have options left? Seems he would benefit fm additional time on DL or at AAA 2 get his legs under him and up to ML standards? Hate 2 see Walker go. Looks like he’s a talented guy who could b a useful PH and a quality prospect down the road. I would like 2 see Reds keep the most talented guys, but it doesn’t look like that’s going 2 a happen? How many M INF guys does one team need; surely Herrera will be ready 2 go in the near future? MikeinSoCal March 19, 2017 Nice job, Nate. I too think that it almost has to be this way. The tricky part will be when they go out and grab a waiver wire guy or two. If only we could have the best players on the roster, but alas it doesnt work that way. Cguy March 19, 2017 I agree with a lot of your post. but I’d prefer the Reds to fill the bench with no more than 2 NRIs. In any event Williams handling of the active & 40 man rosters over the next month will tell us a lot about his management style. Norwood Nate March 19, 2017 I would have preferred that as well. But the way the roster has shaped up over the offseason, Herrera’s inability to play in the field, and the use of the Rule V draft has made that an unlikely option. Winker and Ervin should play every day and will only get that opportunity in AAA to start the year. The Reds selected a catcher as Mes insurance and don’t want to carry 3 catchers. So either Mes will start on DL, or Turner will be removed from the roster. That leaves Alcantara and Walker as 40-man options and the Reds need to fill 4 spots behind the back up catcher. Alcantara is one. By what Price is saying, I have to believe Jennings and Raburn were brought in to make the team and ST performance won’t change that. At that point, do you keep Walker, almost exclusively a 1B, RH bat on the roster so that you only make two roster moves? Or do you try to sneak him through waivers when the season starts and add a guy like Irribarren, Renda, or Kivlehan who offer a lot more positional flexibility, including, importantly, someone to back up 3B? Tom March 19, 2017 My take is that we’ll open the season with something like: CF Hamilton 2B Peraza 1B Votto LF Duvall RF Schebler 3B Suarez C Mesoraco SS Cozart C Barnhart IF Alcantara IF Raburn OF Jennings SP Feldman SP Finnegan SP Stephenson SP Reed SP Arroyo RP Iglesias RP Storen RP Cingrani RP Lorenzen RP Wood RP Peralta RP Coleman RP Adleman Starting eight as expected. Reed, Stephenson, and Arroyo fill out the last 3 rotation spots. Then I predict we’ll go with an eight man pen. I don’t see how they won’t with the non pitch efficient rookies and already saying they hope Arroyo can give them 90-100 pitches instead of the 120 a game he used to be good for. I’d go with Peralta and Adleman for two of the additional pen spots, then probably Coleman, (but maybe Luetge instead if they want another lefty). Then that leaves them 3 bench spots after Barnhart. Alcantara is a no brainer, then I’d be shocked if the other two weren’t the vets Raburn and Jennings. That means they’ll need roster spots for Arroyo, Coleman, Raburn, and Jennings. I say they’ll get one by placing DeSclafani on the 60 Day DL. The second will come from Turner going back to the Twins. Then I think Ogando and Walker are let go for the last two spots. victor vollhardt March 19, 2017 I think TOM’s post is just about right on, but I also think Irribarren will be there and Jennings-will be the odd man out. And maybe a trade will be made for Turner and I believe he could then be sent to the minors. One other thing —many times non roster players have a clause in their contracts stating that if not on the ML.roster by a certain date—they must be let go-and this may mean that you can’t stockpile players in the minors–just to be on the safe side. This date business works another way as well—if you cut a player before a certain date then you are not liable for the rest of his salary. Philer Up March 19, 2017 I heard Winker say that he would play 3rd base if they needed him there. Has he ever played 3rd? We could use his bat, but his arm is suspect in the outfield. After watching the WBC and see those arms and defense it may not be a bad ideal to have him on 3rd or use him to pinch hit.