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2021 Spring Training roster preview: Part 1 (Pitchers)

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Cincinnati Reds v Minnesota Twins Photo by Brace Hemmelgarn/Minnesota Twins/Getty Images

It may not feel like spring in the Queen City, but it’s warm and sunny in Arizona, where the Reds will be gathering later this week. We’re less than two weeks away from spring training games!

I’m going to start by looking at the pitchers in camp today, which will consist of the players on the 40-man roster, the players invited to spring training on minor league deals, and the Reds minor leaguers who we’re likely to see in games (but due to COVID protocols, won’t actually be in big league camp). Categories are how I’m looking at them.

The Starters

  • Luis Castillo
  • Sonny Gray
  • Wade Miley
  • Jeff Hoffman
  • Tejay Antone
  • Tyler Mahle
  • Michael Lorenzen
  • Sal Romano
  • Jose De Leon
  • Tony Santillan
  • Nick Lodolo
  • Hunter Greene

These are pretty much all the names you know, right? The only new face in the mix is Jeff Hoffman, who came over in the deal that sent Robert Stephenson the other way. Castillo and Gray will be in the rotation barring injuries, and Miley, Mahle, and Antone all have the upper hand on rotation spots as well. I’m including Lorenzen in this list because they’re going to give him a shot here, and Sal Romano could start, but is probably more suited toward a long relief role for this team. Same with Jose De Leon, who is a lot more exciting but didn’t really show much last year.

Santillan, Lodolo, and Greene should all be starters in the future, and I’d guess we see all of them at some point starting at least a split-squad game, but they could also appear in the bullpen too. Either way, all three of these guys will be making more minor league appearances in Arizona than they will in the big leagues.

The Bullpen Shoo-ins

  • Amir Garrett
  • Lucas Sims
  • Sean Doolittle

I thought this list would be longer. Yikes. Maybe we can rename it “the closer battle”, because all three of these guys could get a look at that job.

The Underwhelming Trade Returns

  • Noé Ramirez (Iglesias)
  • Riley O’Brien (Reed)
  • Revier Sanmartin (Long)

Of the rest of the guys listed here, Ramirez is the most likely to make the roster with his experience (184 MLB appearances), and Riley O’Brien seems fine, but probably isn’t on the roster at the end of spring. Revier Sanmartin got an invite after a strong Caribbean Series, but is probably also in AAA to start the year.

The Throw A Reliever At The Wall And See If It Sticks Squad

  • Art Warren
  • Hector Perez
  • Cionel Pérez
  • Brandon Bailey
  • Edgar Garcia
  • Cam Bedrosian
  • Josh Osich
  • Braden Shipley
  • Shane Carle
  • Bo Takahashi

The TARATWASIISS consists of a bunch of players that the Reds picked up off the scrap heap that they’ll put in spring training games to see if they can cut the mustard. I think you’ll see a couple of these guys make the team. Of the players who don’t, the rostered players will start the year in Louisville and will be the first ones on the way up if the Reds need an arm, and the rest of them will either also go to Louisville or try their luck somewhere else. There are some really interesting non-roster names in Bedrosian and Osich, guys who have had success but not lately.

The Reds-Developed Players

  • Ryan Hendrix
  • Jared Solomon
  • R. J. Alaniz
  • Matt Ball
  • Jesse Biddle
  • Graham Ashcraft
  • Ryan Lillie
  • Dauri Moreta
  • Matt Pidich
  • Lyon Richardson

A couple of these guys have big league time, but most of them haven’t pitched above A-ball or AA. Having these guys around will be useful to close out the early and late spring games, and it’s a good chance for guys like Lillie and Richardson to show off for the big league staff. Of this list, I think Ryan Hendrix is probably the most likely to make the team, and is a guy I’d expect to see at some point. Guys like Biddle and Alaniz have big league experience, which could play into how many innings they get.

The Brandon Finnegans

  • Brandon Finnegan

Begin again? He hasn’t pitched in the big leagues since 2018, and is now the ripe old age of 27. He’s been worked and reworked by the Reds staff, and I’m picturing him living in a tent in the Driveline parking lot.

Tomorrow we’ll look at the offense.