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2021 Spring Training roster preview: Part 2 (Hitters)

Cincinnati Reds v St Louis Cardinals Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

If you missed part 1 yesterday, we went over the pitching staff as it looks right now. There aren’t as many new faces on the offensive side of the ball, but there are some names to know about as spring games start in less than two weeks.

The Catchers

  • Tucker Barnhart
  • Tyler Stephenson
  • Deivy Grullón
  • Rocky Gale
  • Chris Okey
  • Mark Kolozsvary
  • Chuckie Robinson

No real surprises here. The thing to watch with this group will be if Tyler Stephenson can win the starting job, but my expectation is that both Barnhart and Stephenson will be on the roster to start the year. Rocky Gale has got cups of coffee in 4 seasons in the big leagues, and Grullón takes the “emergency third catcher who is already on the 40-man” mantle. The rest of the guys are minor leaguers who will mostly be there to help catch bullpens and gain experience with the pitchers in camp.

The Crusty Vets

  • Joey Votto
  • Eugenio Suarez
  • Shogo Akiyama

You know what you’re getting here, for the most part. I’m curious as to what Joey Votto will look like with a full season to get comfortable, and if the Reds get to play all 162 games, it will be a huge advantage to all three of these guys. Shogo needs to show more from last year.

The Homeless Designated Hitters, Which This Team Was Built For™️

  • Mike Moustakas
  • Nick Castellanos
  • Jesse Winker
  • Nick Senzel

This probably isn’t fair to Moose or Senzel, but all 4 of these guys have a wide spectrum of places they can play mediocre defense. They’re all on the team for their hitting, which was a great thing to have in theory last year with a DH, but in practice only Winker was halfway decent with the bat. Nick Krall said at one point that the team was built for the DH, but they don’t have that this year. Moose will play a lot of 2B, Winker a lot of LF, Senzel can play lots of places, and there’s a drive to deep left field by Castellanos and that’ll be a home run. And that’ll make it a 4-0 ballgame.

The Shortstop Options That Nick Krall Is Happy With

  • Marcus Semien
  • Andrelton Simmons
  • Didi Gregorius
  • Dee Strange-Gordon
  • Jose Garcia
  • Kyle Farmer
  • Kyle Holder

The Reds held onto their cards too long and ended up with a pair of Kyles, a Garcia, and a Strange-Gordon. “Is this anything?”

Kyle Holder’s a Rule 5 guy, so if he doesn’t look like he’s up to big league ABs, he’s going back to Philly. Strange-Gordon looks like the main man here, unless Jose Garcia shows more big league readiness than he did in the 67 ABs he got last year. Now that we’re likely to have a full minor league season, Garcia could be there for seasoning.

Kyle Farmer is a guy who the Reds non-tendered and then re-signed, but his versatility is why he has a roster spot. Guys who can catch and play shortstop are few and far between, and Farmer can play those spots too. That said, if the Reds are counting on 500 ABs from him, that probably doesn’t bode well for them winning a lot of ballgames.

The Backup Backup Infielders

  • Max Schrock
  • Alex Blandino
  • Cheslor Cuthbert
  • Alfredo Rodriguez

I think all of these guys will get a look, but are probably all names that Louisville fans should be more excited about than Reds fans for 2021. Schrock is an interesting guy who could fit into the picture at 2B if Moustakas and Senzel are needed elsewhere, and Cuthbert was a highly-touted international signing out of Nicaragua who never really put it together at the big league level.

The 5th Outfielder Regiment

  • Aristides Aquino
  • Mark Payton
  • Scott Heineman
  • Nicky Delmonico
  • Dwight Smith, Jr.

Man, you gotta feel for Aquino, right? The most exciting debut a Reds hitter has put together since Jay Bruce and he barely gets on the field last year. This year, it’s hard to imagine a place for him to play with Winker and Castellanos getting regular starts at the corner outfield spots. I hope he gets the last OF spot, but he’d get more playing time in Louisville.

Between the other 4 guys, I dunno, man. Scott Heineman is interesting, I guess? Dwight Smith Jr. will be fun. Nicky Delmonico can mash a bit, but there’s not a place to play him. Mark Payton is there. Who knows.

The Prospects Looking To Make Their Mark

  • Jonathan India
  • Errol Robinson
  • Alejo Lopez
  • Narciso Crook
  • T. J. Friedl

I think we see a lot of all of these guys in the late innings of ballgames. I’m thrilled to watch India play, and of all the guys here who could play their way into a roster spot, it’s probably him. Crook and Friedl both have too many bodies to jump on the depth chart to be close to a roster, but they should both get plenty of ABs that they’ll be able to take to Louisville to start the year.