If there’s someone out to a better start in spring training than Jose Garcia I’d be interested to know who that player is. The Cincinnati Reds shortstop prospect (the #4 Reds prospect on our list) homered twice on Tuesday against the Los Angeles Angels, and on Friday afternoon he added another home run. Facing off against big leaguer Mike Fiers, Garcia obliterated a ball down the line, but it went just foul – leaving the entire stadium in the process. The next pitch came in and Garcia made this one stay fair, putting it over the fence for his third home run of the spring.

The 21-year-old from Cuba would ground out and have a sacrifice fly later in the game. He’s now hitting .444 and has a double to go along with his three homers this spring for Cincinnati.

Behind Jose Garcia’s three runs batted in, the Reds offense got things going early and put the game away by the end of the 3rd inning where a 5-spot extended their lead to 7-0. Strong pitching held the lead there, but the offense wasn’t done – though it was a while before they got back on the board. But Andy Sugilio was responsible for the most exciting play in baseball – an inside-the-park home run that plated three runs. The fastest player in the organization didn’t have much trouble scoring on the ball into the left-field corner after the left fielder came up short and then remained down (he remained in the game after being checked out by the trainer). That made it 10-0.

Among the big leaguers Jesse Winker returned to the lineup, going 1-4. Joey Votto walked all three time he came to the plate. Phillip Ervin went 1-3 with a double. Josh VanMeter went 2-2 with a walk and a steal. Mark Payton went 1-2 with two walks. Travis Jankowski went 2-3 with an RBI.

On the mound things started with Anthony DeSclafani throwing 2.0 perfect innings with two strikeouts. Josh Smith, Alex Powers, Jose De Leon, Ryan Hendrix, Tony Santillan, and Brandon Finnegan all tossed a shutout inning of relief. Vladimir Gutierrez came on for the final inning where he’d give up a solo home run, but that 10-1 score would be the final. You can see the entire box score for the game here.

21 Responses

  1. RojoBenjy

    If this were the original XFL, Josh VanMeter could wear “HEHATEME” on his jersey.

    He’ll have to OPS 1.000 to impress the big league coaches, but he just may do it at that!

    • Oldtimer

      He had every chance last summer. He batted .237 as a Red. AAA wonder. MLB maybe.

      • RojoBenjy

        I don’t remember him having every chance. Peraza was given a lot of time that I would have preferred go to Van Meter.

      • Big Ed

        Oldtimer has VanMeter Derangement Syndrome, never missing a chance to denounce his abilities.

        He tuned his swing around in late 2018, using the old AAA ball, then didn’t adjust to sporadic use for the Reds. The jury is not even close to being in on JVM yet.

      • Oldtimer

        260 PA. Same # as Phil Ervin. Even Kyle Farmer had more HR and RBI than JVM in only 197 PA.

    • MK

      Going into ST, I had him battling Blandino for spot26 and unfortunately now Dietrich too. I think he is still in that battle. His past play makes that a fair place for him on depth chart.

      • Norwood Nate

        I agree with this. I had him or Blandino battling it out for the last spot. You make a good point about Dietrich being in that mix now as well.

      • Oldtimer

        Hard to say what will happen but I’d guess 5 INF 6 OF and 2 C for Reds 13 position players. The 5th INF must play SS. My guess is Farmer due to him being able to play all INF positions and C too.

    • BK

      I’m pretty close to Oldtimer on this one. VanMeter received 260 plate appearances last season. That’s moving out of the small sample size range and quite a bit of opportunity for a player that was not Rule 5 protected or even invited to spring training in 2019. He produced an OPS+ of 88 (12% below average).

      For an offensive first potential bench piece, he did not earn a spot of the roster in 2020 based on his 2019 production. Moreover, his splits show he was much better as a starter than in a bench role. What he earned, was a spot on the 40-man roster and the opportunity to continue to compete.

      If everyone is healthy, I expect the bench to have:
      1. Ervin (platoon partner to Winker)
      2. Akiyama (true fourth outfielder and probably the first guy off the bench for an injury with Senzel capable of playing in the infield
      3. Casali (backup catcher and platoon partner to Barnhart)
      4. Farmer (back infielder and #3 catcher)

      That’s 3 right-handed bench players. I think the final spot goes to one of Dietrich, VanMeter, Schebler or Payton. An infielder is probably preferable, but Senzel’s flexibility gives the Reds options. Since he can be optioned, VanMeter probably has the steepest hill to climb to make the roster out of spring training. However, if someone is injured (perhaps Suarez), is 40-man roster spot may give him the clearest path.

      At some point, VanMeter will get another opportunity at the major league level. But he’ll most likely start the season getting everyday at bats at AAA where he’s likely the first guy up if there is an injury to a starter. Based on his talent and production, this is exactly where he should be on a competitive team

    • Doug Gray

      Not exactly, but some people held the two of them closer than other places.

      • MICHAEL MARTIN

        Doug – what are your thoughts on Winkler? I see him as a marginal – poor fielder, poor runner, poor against lefties. Do you think there would be a market for him such that packaged with one or two others (Schebler) it might net a return of a AA or AAA reliever. Throw in VanMeter – another bench player but not on a championship caliber club. Thank you kindly.

      • Doug Gray

        Winker can rake. You don’t trade him for a bench player or reliever.

  2. MK

    Wonder if Lodolo will get into a Spring Game? Jesse Biddle has not pitched, I know he is coming back from injury. Do we know the status of Nate Jones or Freddy Galvis?

  3. Doc

    Didn’t see Galvis in the dugout today; couldn’t miss him with that hair. Don’t know about Jones.

  4. Brad

    Having Tyler Stephenson and Jose Garcia waiting in the wings at positions of need at MLB level and very valuable positions on field is incredible for Redlegs. India a trade chip, if healthy. Lineup set for next 3-4 years minimum.

    Add Lodolo and Greene to Gray and Castillo and rotation is nearly set for next 3 years as well.

    • Oldtimer

      Harken back to 1970. Reds won 102 games but lost WS. Lineup set for 3-4 years?

      1970. C Bench 1B May 2B Helms SS Concepcion 3B Perez LF Carbo CF Tolan RF Rose

      1973. C Bench 1B Perez 2B Morgan SS Concepcion 3B Menke LF Rose CF Geronimo RF Tolan.

      1974. C Bench 1B Perez 2B Morgan SS Concepcion 3B Driessen LF Foster CF Geronimo RF Rose.

      Even BRM lineup wasn’t set for 3-4 years ahead.