One of the most interesting things every spring training is to see which players that the Cincinnati Reds bring stateside for spring training. While it’s not always a direct way of knowing who will join the complex level team (in this case, the AZL Reds) or Billings Mustangs, it’s a good sign. It’s also, usually, a sign that the organization feels good about that player – they wouldn’t go through the trouble of bringing the player in otherwise.

We already knew that Alfredo Rodriguez and Vladimir Gutierrez are in camp. Gutierrez was actually with the Major League club as a non-roster invitee, but was sent to minor league camp at the earliest point possible (it was in his contract that he would get the invite). Those two were the big international signings from the current signing period and both are older prospects. Let’s take a look at the players that are also in the United States for the first time (as players) this spring training with the organization.


Ages listed are how old they will be according to official standards for the 2017 season.

Player Level POS Age
Alexander Perez DNP RHP 22
Angel Garzon DSL INF/OF 19
Christian Olivo DSL OF 18
Edwin Yon DSL OF 18
Hidekel Abreu DSL SS 19
Jhon De Jesus DSL RHP 20
Juan V Martinez DSL 3B 18
Marcos Encarnacion DSL RHP 21
Mariel Bautista DSL OF 19
Ranfi Gomez DNP RHP 21
Reniel Ozuna DSL OF 18
Victor Gonzalez DNP OF 18
Victor Ruiz DNP 3B 17

Four of these players did not play in 2016. Alexander Perez and Ranfi Gomez are both recovering from Tommy John surgery. Perez had the surgery in 2015 and should be fully recovered at this point. Gomez, however, reportedly had his surgery in May of 2017, so he may just be in to do his rehab work here. Victor Ruiz signed in October out of Mexico and I wrote about him back then, so you can read more about him here if you’d like. Victor Gonzalez is a player that didn’t play last year after signing in August. That the team is bringing him over is very interesting and once I am out in Arizona he will be one of the players that I plan to get some eyes on and talk to people about.

From the guys that did play last year the name that sticks out the most is Cristian Olivo. The now 18-year-old signed with the Reds in the 2015-2016 signing period for $1,000,000. That was the highest bonus, by a large margin, that the team had handed out to a non-Cuban player since 2008. The outfielder struggled mightily at the plate in 2016. He battled with a shoulder injury throughout the season, which certainly needs to be taken into consideration, but he hit an abysmal .101/.149/.180 for the DSL Rojos last year with five walks and 47 strikeouts in 94 plate appearances. He’s certainly got tools, but you’ve got to hope that all of that was shoulder related problems.

Shortstop Hidekel Abreu is an intriguing name. He hit .322/.411/.439 last season in the Dominican Summer League. He’s only listed at 5′ 10″ and 155 lbs, so he’s a smaller guy, but he hit well last season. Mariel Bautista is another guy who hit well in the DSL in 2016. The then 18-year-old hit .333/.408/.473 while playing center field. He’s listed at 6′ 3″ and 170 lbs. He is definitely a player that I will be looking into when I get to Arizona next week.


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6 Responses

    • Greenfield Red

      Hey Duke. That’s a good point. The only numbers that needed improvement are his average (.245) and 29 errors at SS. Just about to turn 18. It will be interesting to see if he has a break out year in 2017 in the DSL.

  1. Colt Holt

    Hey Doug, what do you think of the possibility of bringing on Derek Norris? Likely would only make sense if Mesoraco was virtually unavailable for all of 2017, and Stuart Turner being cleared from the 25 man (either via Trade or return).

    • Doug Gray

      Then it makes no sense at all…. Mesoraco, according to Bryan Price, is expected to start the year with the Reds.

      • Colt Holt

        I hadn’t seen the report that he would start the year with the team, but as i noted, it woukd only make sense if he was found to be unavailable all year. I wouldnt expect circumstances to make sense today, or even on april 1. Question was more downstream of, if a more permanent body was needed, how he would compare to other options available (internal or external)

  2. Kevin Meyer

    Haven’t been paying attention to the wbc, but is the young Cuban playing that might be eligible to sign?