Cody Reed took the mound for the Cincinnati Reds last night as they took on the San Diego Padres. He came out firing gas and firing strikes. His first three pitches of the game were 93-94-95 MPH and hit the glove of Tucker Barnhart without the catcher moving an inch. Pinpoint. It was a thing of beauty. He would hit 96 MPH later in the inning. That pinpoint accuracy left him after that at-bat though and he began to miss high, though largely still staying in the strikezone. He would run into some problems in the 4th inning, walking his second batter of the game and giving up several hard hits, including a long home run to Wil Myers. At the end of the day he threw 3.1 innings with 4 hits, two walks, three strikeouts and four earned runs.
The rough outing may have been a blessing in disguise for the Reds manager and front office. Reed had been dominant in his previous outings, although limited. With the injuries piling up to the rotation, and the other starting options all having struggles, had Reed continued to perform it would have been a tough sell to send the lefty down with a valid excuse. He needed 59 pitches, and threw 35 strikes to get through 3.1 innings and had problems throwing strikes and was struggling to find his spots when he was in the zone. In order to keep a player for an additional year of service time they need to spend 11 days in the minor leagues. Wasting an entire year of additional control so a player can get two starts would be a monumental mistake, particularly in a season like 2016, which even the organization doesn’t expect much from aside from development. Hopefully the Reds take this outing as an opportunity to send Reed to minor league camp and get it out of the way and don’t tempt fate that he comes out the next time and dominates while others continue to struggle.
There are still a lot of minor leaguers in camp with the Reds, despite going through two rounds of cuts already. Some of them are more noteworthy than the others at this point though. Let’s talk about a few of them and what the spring means for them.
The main part of the Todd Frazier trade, Peraza has played all around the field this spring. He’s spent time at second base, shortstop and center field. After starting the spring by going 0-7, the Venezuelan native has turned things up and has gone 13-29 since (.448). The Reds clearly want him to be on the roster, but without having a position open for him and his having options remaining, the big question will be about whether or not the team wants to use him as a bit of a super-utility player or do they want him playing every day and thus choose to send him to Triple-A? The team would have to be awfully creative to get Peraza enough playing time at multiple positions to warrant keeping him on the roster instead of playing him every day in Louisville.
After starting out the spring by going 7-19, Scott Schebler has gone just 1-16 since and watched his average drop to .222 and his on-base percentage to .300. The power numbers are still nice, slugging .528 thanks to five extra-base hits. He’s played all around the outfield this spring, though left field seems to be where he profiles best. Just a few days ago manager Bryan Price said that Schebler may be in line to platoon with Adam Duvall in left, but his slump may very well be changing that plan. The slump, along with the fact that Schebler has options while Yorman Rodriguez doesn’t, and the team can’t send Jake Cave down, could mean the 25-year-old outfielder winds up in Louisville to start the season.
As was just noted, Rodriguez is out of options. Despite being just 23-years-old, the Venezuelan outfielder can’t head to the minor leagues this year unless it’s on a rehab assignment without first clearing waivers. Last night, offensively at least, was a good representation of what things have gone like for Yorman Rodriguez this spring. In his first trip to the plate he laced a ball into left-center, but the center fielder chased it down for an out. The hits simply haven’t exactly poured in for Rodriguez yet this spring, he’s hitting just .250 – but it seems that almost every time he’s hit the ball hard it’s found a glove. The next time he went to the plate he battled for his sixth walk of the spring (to go along with just seven strikeouts) as he continues to show a strong plate approach. In his third plate appearance he hit a ball all of 70 feet and got a base hit out of it. He’s certainly had his share of blunders on the defensive side of things this spring, and those certainly can’t be helping his cause in the eyes of the manager. With all of that said, he’s out of options, young and has tools to work with. Maybe if the Reds were in compete mode you take a chance and try to pass a guy like that through waivers, but the Reds aren’t there right now. There’s no reason at all to let a talented player go in a 2016 type of season without seeing what they’ve got beyond a handful of at-bats in spring training.
While he’s not exactly in the same boat as Rodriguez, as a Rule 5 draft pick, he can’t be sent to the minor leagues in 2016 unless it’s on a rehab stint or he has to be offered back to the New York Yankees. He got out to a quick start, going 7-21 in the first eight games. Since then things have slowed down, going just 3-15 since. He’s played around the outfield, though he’s gotten a good share of time in center field while Billy Hamilton continues to recover from his offseason shoulder surgery. The defensive versatility certainly helps his cause, and from a scouting perspective, I like what I’ve seen in terms of his athleticism at the plate. While there’s a chance he doesn’t make the team, it’s got to be a small chance at this point. He’s shown enough, both at the plate and in the field to earn another look during the season.
This article was completed in the bottom of the 6th inning of the game against San Diego on Monday night at 12:25am. Any stats that took place after that point were not included in this article.