You already know most of these guys, but there are quite a few players who will be using this spring training with the Reds to make a name for themselves. Here are a few to keep an eye on.
Turner was a Reds’ Rule 5 pick in December, which means that if he makes the team, he’ll have to be on the big league roster for the whole year. The Reds mainly picked him up as cover for a Mesoraco/Barnhart injury, but given his circumstances, he’s the 3rd string catcher in camp. He’s spent the last two seasons in AA with the Twins, and has a career .325 OPS in the minors. He’s a defense-first guy, so he’ll probably remind us of Tucker Barnhart in more ways than one.
Meanwhile, the Reds had a 25-year-old AA catcher in house that could have taken that 3rd string consideration in Chad Wallach. He’ll probably start at AAA this year, and could see the big leagues in September if he shows the same pop in his bat that led to a .240/.363/.410 line in Pensacola.
By now, you know Herrera’s story, and how he’ll be one of the benefactors of Brandon Phillips not being around anymore, but with a big spring, Herrera could see himself on the roster sooner rather than later. The Reds have already said that they’d like Herrera to play every day, but Jose Peraza forced their hand last year, and Herrera could do the same this year, especially if he picks up some versatility by being able to play 3B.
Little Tony Renda! With all the Reds infield shuffling this offseason, Renda’s been kind of the forgotten man, but he could play himself into a bench spot on this team with a nice spring. He made it into 32 games for the big league Reds last year at 4 different positions, and if he can hit closer to his minor league lines (.311/.363/.434 in AA/AAA last year), he could be the type of player the Reds take a chance on off the bench.
Here’s another guy you’ve heard plenty about here and elsewhere. At only 25, he still has some projectability, and could easily see him being a role player for a big league team somewhere down the line. Why not the Reds? He can play just about everywhere on the diamond, including SS and CF, and he’s about a decade younger than the backup utility player the Reds usually employ.
He’s a longshot to make the roster out of spring, but at 24, the Reds’ former first rounder could use a big spring to keep himself on the Reds’ radar. With the 5 outfielders the Reds will (probably) take out of camp already settled, Ervin could be at risk of getting left behind as prospects like Jesse Winker and Aristides Aquino demand most of the team’s attention. His saving grace? He put up some gaudy numbers to start spring training last year, so we could see another quick surge out of the gate again.
He’s much more likely to see AAA this year than the big leagues, but anytime you have Vladimir Guerrero’s nephew in your camp, you have to pay attention to him. He’s already getting a reputation for hitting some long dingers during BP, and his genetics could make him fun to watch as we get into games.
Rushed to the big leagues with the Rangers in 2014, the former Phillies prospect missed all of 2015 with Tommy John surgery. He split last season between AAA and AA, but his 9.6 K/9 ratio is not far off of how he looked pre-surgery. The Reds have already said that they’re looking to stretch him out as a starter, and he could easily make the team as a long reliever if two other candidates take the rotation spots.
Another guy who could either start or relieve in 2017, Brice is another new face in camp with a legitimate shot at making the roster. He spent a few months with the Marlins big league team at the end of the season, and has a chance of making the Reds in the same role. For a team that was struggling to find good relief pitching last year, the Reds have plenty of young options this time around.
Good news? Nasty Nick is only 23. It feels like he’s been around forever, though. This is a camp for him to really show the Reds what he has, and put himself into contention for a big league spot later on in the season. He still has command issues to iron out, but if he can corral those, his stuff could make him another power reliever for the Reds to add to their arsenal.
Speaking of darkhorses for the bullpen, Louis Coleman is in Reds camp. He appeared in 61 games for the Dodgers last year (after a 5-year career with Kansas City), and if the Reds decide they need a veteran arm in the ‘pen to go with their young relief core, Coleman could get the nod there. He tears up right-handed hitters, but has command issues dealing with lefties.
Given the Reds’ available bullpen spots, I can’t leave out Herget as a possible option. Herget is another starter the Reds drafted out of college and converted into a reliever, and he had his best season to date in 2016. He hasn’t thrown above A-ball, but there’s a reason why his name is appearing on prospect lists. His 12.31 K/9 last year is probably that reason. If the Reds decide to push the 23-year-old, who knows where he could land to start the year?