In honor of legendary Cincinnati Reds third-string catcher Javier Valentin, pitchers and catchers have reported to the team’s Goodyear, Arizona spring training facility today, February 14th. It’s the first step towards the 2023 Major League Baseball season, however that may play out, and marks the return of baseball for us all.
There is no Luis Castillo in Goodyear today, nor Tyler Mahle. There’s also no Mike Minor, though, and the optimism surrounding the team’s talented young arsenal of arms is palpable, even if we’re all still wondering how they’re going to get through nine innings a hundred and sixty-two times without a few additional arms worth of reinforcement.
In Hunter Greene, Nick Lodolo, and Graham Ashcraft, the Reds just might have the next iteration of Corbin Burnes, Brandon Woodruff, and Freddy Peralta - the trio of top-tier arms that have held the Milwaukee Brewers near the top of the division for the last handful of years. Add that to a healthy Tyler Stephenson - who might well be one of the top 2-3 catchers in the game, if healthy - and the Reds could be on to something unexpected.
(This is me, on day one, putting on my giant, dusty optimism cap.)
The Reds themselves have been keeping us abreast of the reporting going on, so we’re Red Reporting on their reporting by relaying some images. Here are a couple, with more to follow.