There's the slightest whiff of springtime in the air. Thanks to John Fay, we have the official list of Reds major league campers for Spring 2011. As nycreds attests, no surprises here. Only 14 non-roster invites - and Willis and Hermida are the only two from outside the organization. Gone are the days, for this year at least, of keeping up with the Jacque Joneses. I think both Willis and Hermida have a fair shot at making the Opening Day roster, with Willis especially well-positioned. If he shows flashes of his former self, he could unseat Danny Ray Herrera as a LH reliever on the 40-man. Guys like Logan Ondrusek and Jared Burton are not holding guaranteed spots.
The battle lines are well-drawn for fifth starter, fifth outfielder and the lowest rung(s) of the bullpen. I've stated who I think the favorites are (Wood, Heisey, Burton), but it could easily be one of the other candidates listed here. Two somewhat intriguing invites are Donnie Joseph and Danny Dorn, who both have names that sound like late-50s character actors. These could simply be token invites - both gone before mid-March. Recent Rule 5 Draft history has shown that the Reds don't think much of Dorn, but it is notable that Dorn was snubbed from major league camp this time last year. This is likely a goodwill gesture more than anything else, as Dorn doesn't stand much of a chance of beating out Heisey or Hermida - especially without the ability to play CF. I've never understood the plight of Dorn, and I hope he has an incredible spring, if only to make things a little bit more interesting.
DoJo is a more legitimate sleeper pick, though he's yet to throw a pitch in AAA (and only 7 sub-par innings at AA). His performance in the upper tier of the minor this year will show, but I'd say he's on the fast-track to the Reds bullpen. His continued ascendancy could provide some peace of mind to those afraid the Reds will get desperate and sign another expensive closer - or keeping Chapman in the bullpen beyond 2011.
- How did Todd Frazier become a complete and utter mystery? He's listed as INF/OF (I honestly don't know what position they're grooming him for any more), he was very divisive in our CPR ranking after being last year's top BA prospect and I haven't the slightest idea whether he's actually in the running for an OF spot (probably not).
- Will anyone be able to finally unseat Mike Stefanski as bullpen catcher?
- What if Chris Speier out-manages Dusty this spring? Will he still be Janished to back-up status?
Just glad to be using the "Spring Training" tag again.