The young talent has certainly showed out early in Cincinnati Reds camp in Goodyear. Matt McLain kabong’d a walk-off homer in the team’s Cactus League opener, Christian Encarnacion-Strand socked a pair of lasers on Monday, and Noelvi Marte barreled a rocket already, too. Spencer Steer has been on base a couple of times already, and while the overall results weren’t pristine, Hunter Greene said he was “really, really happy” with his first outing yesterday, per Mark Sheldon of MLB.com.
It’s enough to make you excited about the future of the club, even if the present still seems to have been wholly neglected. How quickly that future becomes the present is all that remains to be seen, of course, as Greene is the only player I’ve mentioned so far who’s had any experience at all above even AA. As Dan Szymborski of FanGraphs noted while digging through his future projections, it may well be a bit until what the Reds have around right now proves to be enough, but it does at least look like 2025 could be a turning point of a season.
There are endless variables in play there, obviously. If the Reds choose to remain committed to frugality, it’s hard to envision them holding on to each of Jonathan India, Tyler Stephenson, Jake Fraley, Greene, Nick Lodolo, Graham Ashcraft, and Alexis Diaz to that point, as all will have firmly reached their arbitration years by the 2025 season. Still, it’s at least an endorsement of the kind of talent that the Reds have put together for one very, very precise window, even if by doing so it meant they closed off opportunities to also focus on other windows, too.
It’s also a scenario that requires to squint a little, too.
Said projections get them somewhere into the ~85 win range for that 2025 season, a level where you’d expect teams like the St. Louis Cardinals to find their floor. They’ve got a farm system and a payroll too, after all, and the Chicago Cubs have put together a pretty formidable farm and spent lately as well. Admittedly, I had something of an inverse Ricky Bobby moment while reading it - if you’re not last, you’re first - but it’s the kind of baby step that’s a) needed from a floundering franchise like this and b) maybe, maybe, maybe could be the kind of step forward that would finally prompt the ownership group to make some over the top additions from outside the organization again.
Anyway, on the day after the club lost 13-2 after surrendering 17 hits and reminding me just how paper-thin this team’s pitching staff is at the moment (especially without Tejay Antone and Justin Dunn), it’s nice to wake up to some positive Reds content...even if it’s about another couple of years down the road.
Old friend John Fay caught up with old man Joey Votto at camp in Goodyear, getting his thoughts on topics ranging from Phil Castellini being an ass to the Rosie Reds to where Votto’s health is as Opening Day nears.
Over at The Athletic, C. Trent Rosecrans spoke with ED44 about EDLC44, and it’s enough to make you giddy just reading it.
Finally, a quick update on the rash of injuries that has managed to inject itself into Major League Baseball in the last few days. Los Angeles Dodgers infielder Gavin Lux looks likely to miss significant time after his right knee bent awkwardly running the bases yesterday, while San Diego’s Joe Musgrove apparently busted a toe in half in a weight-lifting accident. Tyler Glasnow looks set to miss the start of Tampa’s season due to an oblique injury, while a similar injury has forced Chicago Cubs outfielder Seiya Suzuki to pull out of Japan’s World Baseball Classic squad, too.