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2021 Reds’ Minor League Roster Preview

Minor League baseball is back, baby!

MLB: Pittsburgh Pirates at Cincinnati Reds Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Minor League Baseball is back! After becoming another item in the long list of things that got messed up in 2020, we finally get to write about our favorite club’s favorite clubs again. It will be interesting to see how each of these prospects handle playing a (nearly) full season again, considering only a portion of them were able to play at the alternate training site. More importantly, though, is that we get to grace this lovely blog with more of your favorite nicknames. Anyway, here is how each roster shakes out for the 2021 season.

Louisville Bats

*Bold names are on MLB taxi squad.

Pitchers: Tim Adleman, RJ Alaniz, Brad Brache, Shane Carle, Brandon Finnegan, Edgar Garcia, Vladimir Gutierrez, Riley O’Brien, Josh Osich, Cionel Perez, Hector Perez, Tony Santillan, Braden Shipley, Bo Takahashi, Art Warren

Catchers: Rocky Gale, Chris Okey, Beau Taylor

Infielders: Brantley Bell, Chelsor Cuthbert, Michael De Leon, Mike Freeman, Errol Robinson, Alfredo Rodriguez, Max Schrock

Outfielders: Nicky Delmonico, TJ Friedl, Scott Heineman, Mark Payton, Dwight Smith Jr

There are quite a few familiar faces on the Louisville squad, not only to the Farmers Only crowd, but also to the Cincinnati Reds. Tim Adleman and Brandon Finnegan have both played roles in the Reds’ rotation in recent years. Adleman hasn’t been in the majors since 2017 and has bounced around the Korean League and minor leagues since then. Finnegan has missed a lot of time due to injury and last pitched for the Reds in 2018.

Vladimir Gutierrez returns to Louisville in 2021 after struggling in 2019. He put up a 6.04 ERA in 27 appearances with a career-worst 3.2 BB/9 and 7/7 K/9. He also would have missed the majority of a normal 2020 season after testing positive for PEDs. He did bounce back in the Dominican Winter League this year, striking out 21 batters in 17 innings and only walking 5. He also had a solid Spring Training with the Reds, allowing only one unearned run in 7 innings of work. Tony Santillan is another top prospect returning in 2021. Santillan also struggled in 2019, putting up a 4.84 ERA in 102 innings in Double-A Chattanooga. His main struggle seemed to be missing the plate, as he walked nearly 5 batters per 9 innings. Cionel Perez will also be in Louisville for the time being after making 10 appearances for the Reds already this year.

On the hitting side, there isn’t a lot to get excited about. TJ Friedl makes his Triple-A debut this season after spending 2020 at the alternate site. In 2019, he hit .235/.347/.385 in Double-A Chattanooga. That season was unfortunately cut short due to an ankle injury. Max Schrock and Mark Payton will join Friedl in Louisville after getting a few appearances for the Reds already in 2021, and Brantley Bell, who seems to have been in the Reds system since 1998, makes his Triple-A debut this year along with everyone’s favorite international signing, Alfredo Rodriguez.

Chattanooga Lookouts

Starting Pitchers: Connor Curlis, Hunter Greene, Nick Lodolo, Matt Pidich, Randy Wynne

Relief Pitchers: Michael Byrne, Alexis Diaz, Miguel Figueroa, John Ghyzel, Nick Howard, Dauri Moreta, Ryan Olson, Julio Pinto, Wes Robertson, Reiver Sanmartin.

Catchers: Mark Kolozsvary, Chuckie Robinson, Jay Schuyler

Infielders: Jose Garcia, Wilson Garcia, Alejo Lopez, Leonardo Rivas, Robbie Tenerowicz, Yoel Yanqui.

Outfielders: Narciso Crook, Lorenzo Cedrola, TJ Hopkins, Drew Mount.

For those of you interested in our younger prospects, Chattanooga will be the team to watch in 2021. The Reds top two pitching prospects, Nick Lodolo and Hunter Greene, highlight the Lookouts’ rotation. Greene makes his return to the minors after having Tommy John Surgery in the Fall of 2018. It will be interesting to see what the former #2 overall draft pick does in his first season in two years, but one the one thing he will definitely do is light up the radar gun, as he reportedly hit 105 MPH back in early April. Nick Lodolo will also make his first appearance in Double-A. He had a great start to his professional career after being drafted in the first round out of TCU in 2019. He threw 18.1 innings in both Billings and Dayton, where he struck out 30 without walking a single batter.

Jose Israel Garcia also joins the Lookouts after spending some time with the Reds in 2020. He made the jump to the majors after only playing as high as Daytona in 2019. He had a great season with the Tortugas in 2019, hitting .280/.343/.436 with 37 doubles and 8 dingers. Narciso Crook returns to Chattanooga after spending most of his time in Louisville in 2019. He was called up to Louisville after 24 games with the Lookouts, and hit .273/.329/.484 with the Bats.

Daytona Tortugas

The Reds’ Low-A team in Daytona made things easy for us and posted everything in a tweet:

I’m not going to lie, I couldn’t tell you a single thing about most of the players on the Tortugas. Christian Roa was the Reds’ second round draft pick in 2020 out of Texas A & M but did not pitch in the instructional league or the alternate site last year. He’s a big 6’4” 220 lb righty who could touch 96 on the gun back in college. Case Williams was involved in the Bob Steve trade in the off-season, but nobody really knows much about him, either. Bryce Bonnin was the Reds’ third round pick in 2020 who can touch 97 with his fastball and has a decent slider.

A couple of former high draft picks will make up the infield in Daytona this season. 2019 third round pick Tyler Callihan after spending 2019 in Rookie Ball. He hit .263/.298/.442 between Greeneville and Billings. Another interesting one to watch will be 2019 2nd round pick, Rece Hinds. Hinds played in exactly three games in 2019 and then missed the rest of the season with a thigh injury. Hinds was one of the best hitters in the draft in 2019 and was originally committed to LSU. He was able to train at the alternate site in 2020, so hopefully he was able to make up for lost time. Another name to watch is 2020 1st round pick Austin Hendrick. He’s an outfielder with a lot of power that can hopefully figure out his swing and miss issues. He also spent time in the instructional league so hopefully he was able to get some of that stuff worked out.

Dayton Dragons

Starting Pitchers: Graham Ashcraft, Noah Davis, Lyon Richardson, Eduardo Salazar, Ricky Salinas

Relief Pitchers: Eddy Demurias, Tyler Garbee, Jake Gilbert, Sam Hellinger, JC Keys, Karsen Lindell, Frances Peguero, Jacques Pucheu, Broxton Roxby, Johnnie Schneider, Spencer Stockton

Catchers: James Free, Jose Tello, Eric Yang

Infielders: Miguel Hernandez, Juan Martinez, Quincy McAfee, Brien Rey, Victor Ruiz, Bren Spillane, Francisco Urbaez, Jonathan Willems

Outfielders: Mariel Bautista, Quin Cotton, Jacob Hurtubise, Michael Siani

Lyon Richardson highlights the Dayton rotation in his second stint with the Dragons. He spent the entire 2019 season in Dayton, throwing 112.2 innings with a 4.12 ERA. He did well with his control, only walking 2.6 batters per 9 innings. Another name to watch would be Broxton Roxby, because his name is Broxton Roxby.

Bren Spillane and Michael Siani are a couple of former early-round draft picks who highlight the lineup for Dayton. Siani was the Reds’ 4th round pick in 2018. A fantastic defender in center field, Siani has struggled with power so far, slugging only .352 in the minors. Bren Spillane was the Reds 3rd round pick in that same draft. After mashing the ball for the University of Illinois, Spillane has struggled to figure it out at the plate so far. Hopefully another stint in Dayton will help right the ship.

Opening day for all four of the Reds minor league clubs will be tonight. Follow along at Red Reporter dot com as we provide daily updates on the Reds farm system with the best nicknames you’ll ever see.