In news that makes it sound decidedly as if the world is still turning and that baseball, a sport, might actually still exist at some point in the near future, the Cincinnati Reds made some roster noise today. Despite the lack of formal camp in Goodyear, AZ, and the suspension of the start of the season, MLB teams do still have rosters to manage, and today the Reds trimmed their ‘in camp’ roster to 48 after optioning P Jose De Leon and C Tyler Stephenson to AAA Louisville.
The club announced the news on Twitter Sunday afternoon.
The Reds have optioned to Louisville RHP José De León and C Tyler Stephenson. The Major League spring training camp roster is at 48 players.— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) March 15, 2020
Stephenson, the former 1st round pick, is perhaps the single brightest prospect in the Reds system (depending upon whom you ask), a catcher who owns a polished approach at the plate and who’s power has begun to emerge over the last calendar year. He raked in the Arizona Fall League last year after a solid campaign with AA Chattanooga, and will be the most-everyday backstop for Louisville to begin this year. Obviously, he’s got the kind of talent that has ‘potential franchise catcher’ written all over him, so any sort of bust-out start to the 2020 season - should it commence - could have him on the cusp of a big league call-up as soon as the end of this year.
De Leon, meanwhile, is a former stud prospect who has seen injury issues derail his development, but still showed plenty of potential (and health) in early camp. Still just 27 years old, De Leon has logged just 6.2 total big league innings since the start of the 2017 season, but the former Tampa Bay Ray - the Reds acquired him for cash in November - has long held the kind of prospect status that makes you wait on him as long as possible to get healthy and emerge. The question now, of course, will be whether the Reds continue to work him as a starter in AAA or exclusively as a reliever, as 87 of his 96 career appearances in his minor league career have come as a starter.
(Of course, a good number of those were as a member of the Rays organization, and we all know how prone they are to use ‘openers’ at the big league level...)
Anyway, it’s some actual sports news for you to digest this Sunday at a time where anything to take our minds off the coronavirus outbreak is welcome, even for just a few minutes.
Wash your hands, shoulders, knees, and toes, folks. Knees and toes.