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.

Jose Peraza

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.

Scott Schebler

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.

Yorman Rodriguez

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.

Jake Cave

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.

Join the conversation! 32 Comments

  1. Surely the Reds can wait 11 days to get Reed in a major league uniform. No brainer there. In the outfield it looks like Duvall is a lock for left field, at least as half a platoon, and I like YRod and Holt over Cave and Schebler, at least for now. But that all feels a bit like the deck chairs on the Titanic problem. Can’t wait for Reed, Stephenson, Winker and some of the younger prospects to really be ready (2017?) instead of the stop gap measures of the moment.

    • I’d go with Duvall, Cave & YRod, plus Hamilton and Bruce, while sending down Schebler and Holt. It’s very likely Bruce will be traded, Hamilton will lost his roster spot and/or an injury is always a possibility, so at least they’ll have two replacements outfielders available on-hand. Likewise, I’d send Peraza to AAA to play everyday until a trade or an injury happens. He’d be inserted as SS, 2B or as CF if Hamilton is (hopefully) demoted.

  2. How many ABs would Peraza need a week to justify being up in Cincinnati and not delay his development? 20? 25? Split the difference and give him 90 for the month. Which leaves him at about 270 by July when maybe someone is traded (Cozart?) and he can play more regularly. Batting at the top of the order (where I think he’ll slot in) means he may average a little over 4 AB/Game when he does play. But we’re still talking 5 starts to get to enough ABs. Can he get that between SS, 2B, and CF? Would that cause any negative feelings from the veterans he’d be replacing in the line up?

    Spread out evenly over the month that would be about 7 games at each position. Of course there’s no guarantee that the starts would be spread evenly throughout the positions. But that situation causes other issues. Can Cozart garner enough trade value if healthy but not playing every day or consistently? Essentially the Reds will need to trade Cozart or release him. He’ll cost too much money to be a bench piece, especially when he only plays one position and doesn’t offer much as a PH. Their best hope is play him and hope he replicates last season’s good start at the plate and are able to trade him to open up time for younger guys. Will Hamilton and the other young OF’ers (Cave, Rodriguez, etc) be able to get enough ABs if Peraza is taking ABs from CF? How will Phillips react to being sat on a consistent basis?

    It just seems too much muck to sort through to get Peraza the needed ABs. And a big potential headache considering some of the possible ramifications. It’s really unfortunate that the roster is where it is and we couldn’t unload more players that won’t be a part of the future.

    • I think it would be tough to get him that many at-bats a week. As much as we all seem to think it’s a terrible idea – Brandon Phillips looks like he’s going to be hitting cleanup for the Reds. He’s not sitting twice a week for Peraza to start the year. Cozart could sit twice a week, probably without much issue – use the knee/normal rest as the reasoning if you have to (“we don’t want to push it, Zack”). Hamilton in center is another one. Maybe you can use the shoulder as an excuse early on – but after that, the team probably wants to use 2016 to get him as much time on the field as possible given his offensive struggles.

    • Given Price’s managing style, I don’t see any way Peraza could get enough plate appearances to warrant being in the Show to start the season.

      Being named a “starter” means something to Price, even though it shouldn’t. In his eyes, Cozart/Hamilton/Phillps/whoever have “earned” their spots and they get to play no matter the detriment to the Reds future.

      Just my two-cents! Peraza should start the year in AAA to play every day (hopefully moving between SS/2B/CF to stay fresh) and be ready for an injury or a trade. Once either happens, he’s probably a mainstay on the big-league roster.

  3. I just don’t think the Reds will be able to give Peraza enough ABs to justify a spot on the 25-man. About 3 starts a week is all that would probably be reasonable.

    I agree about Rodriguez. If the Reds were in win-now mode, then they could risk losing him but with his tool-set, I don’t see how he can’t be on the roster come the start of the season. I’m not his biggest fan but he’s young, has strong tools, and the Reds need to see what they have considering they are rebuilding. I’m impressed with his plate discipline this spring.

    • Agreed. I have always been down on Yorman, but I’m coming around this spring. Plate discipline stats are the quickest to stabilize. Improvements in those stats are generally indicative of someone’s approach or mechanics being changed. Yorman’s approach seems very decent, as Doug notes above.

      Given the way this off-season is shaping up, I hope Yorman breaks camp with the club and gets an opportunity to the tune of 3 starts a week at least. He should be able to spell Jay Bruce in RF against tough lefties, as well as play LF when Duvall is playing 3B giving Suarez a breather.

      • Rodriguez has never had good plate discipline, so I’m still skeptical. That said, I like what he’s done at the plate this spring. This is especially true of his 6 walks.

        • I need to chime in here – Yorman has had good plate discipline, at least in terms of understanding the strikezone, for a few years. What he hasn’t had was the walks. He’s not a huge free swinger, a guy who just swings at everything. He’s an aggressive guy in the zone, mostly. You saw in 2013 and 2014 a guy who started to walk more, but in 2015 regressed in that area – but he was still showing an understanding of the zone – the walks just weren’t there.

          • Thanks Doug. Your insight is always welcome. This is especially true since you have seen so much of these players in action.

  4. Peraza only had a handful of ABs with the Dodgers, I don’t think he was up for many games.

    Why the heck should the Reds have Peraza on the MLB club where he doesn’t have a full time place when they can use the excuse to send him to AAA and gain another year of service time?

    Especially for a speed guy like Peraza, the club should try to get as many years as it can from him under 30 years of age and then let some other team pay him. I certainly agree 100% on ensuring we get another year from Reed — how does that same logic not apply equally to Peraza?

    • The same logic generally applies, but it might not ‘exactly’ apply because defense and speed aren’t paid highly in free agency or in arbitration. At least not like home runs, batting average, and RBI. For example, Peraza is likely to make less as a 2 WAR player than another 2 WAR player who is a bat-first type. I’m planning an article later on this once I can find a good way to quantify this currently theoretical view.

      So, if Peraza ends up being a good enough player for the Reds that they want a 7th year of him, then that’s an overall win anyways (because Peraza has been good). And that 7th year (as part of a FA contract, or an extension given during arb years) is likely to not cost a ton, unless Peraza turns out to be a star. If he turns out to be a star, again, Reds ‘win’ regardless of service time issues.

      Speeding up the decision making process about whether this is a middle infielder for your next contender or not is the potential upside. Maybe this is a marginally small upside, but the uniform, non-thinking that it seems everyone does now in relation to service time is troublesome to me. It’s not always the right decision to keep players down. Usually it us, but every once in awhile it might make sense to bring a guy up and get him as much MLB experience as possible.

      From what I can gather, I’m in the very small minority on this issue. Especially when the different between a 7th year or not can sometimes be as little as 2 weeks (a la Kris Bryant).

      • So you’re looking at putting together something with the premise that the market inequity right now is that speed and defense are undervalued in the current market? Interesting concept. I’m not sure I agree, mostly because I’m in the small camp that feels all WAR isn’t created equally. That’s mostly due to my distrust of defensive metrics, especially over a single season or less. It will be very interesting to see what you come up with though and I’m sure a good and informative read, as all your posts have been so far.

        • This will likely be the most difficult article I research all year, because I’m not even 100% convinced myself. If I do the research and it doesn’t show anything useful, it’ll just be a big waste of time!

          But I hope it isn’t.

          • Research is never a waste of time. It is always, at its minimum, a learning experience.

        • Touche, sir. You are certainly correct about that.

  5. Cody “Rocket” Reed.

  6. Nobody has mentioned the elephant in the corner of the room where OF spots/ Peraza are concerned that being just how much is Hamilton going to be able to play (regardless of production) at the beginning of the year.

    In a more normal universe than RedsWorld, they’d already being looking on at starting Hamilton on the DL and eventually using a rehab stint to get him up to speed when he shows some signs of being really ready. Another alternative would be to option him to accomplish the same; bit of course 11-12 days down (on option) would bring him up short of three years service for arb eligibility, although if he up by mid may, one would think he would be a super two if they survive to the new CBA.

    • I went to BBRef and checked, Hamilton is at 2 years and 28 days time. If my logic and math are correct, he actually has around 40 days he could spend on option and still make three years for automatic arb eligibility next off season.

  7. Just announced in the last several minutes… Cody Reed was among the group of players “reassigned” to the minor league camp this morning. Everybody can exhale now.

  8. Somsen also got sent back, I suspect it was all but officially predetermined than Reed was going back regardless of what transpired last night; but I’d guess Somsen really hurt his chances with his melt down in the 4th, He did not help himself by not failing to retire the pitcher. However a normally competent 2B probably gets him out of the inning on Kemp’s “hit” which Pacheco failed to get an inning ending out on ahead of the bases clearing (3 run) triple by Meyers.

    • Above, He did not help himself by not failing to retire the pitcher. obviously should have been He did not help himself by failing to retire the pitcher.

    • Is there anyone who has been more underwhelming than Pacheco so far this spring?

      • Of the healthy players? Blake Wood. 2nd blown save in a row with a 9+ ERA. Otherwise, Hamilton has been pretty rough at the plate, even for his standards.

        • Wood has been pretty bad. I’m not a huge Hamilton fan but in all fairness to him, I’m not sure he’s healthy.

  9. Totally agree on Reed. I was beginning to think that he might force his way onto the team, but last night took the pressure off the organization, if indeed there was pressure to begin with.

    I’m also a little curious about Pacheco. Playing second base last night, he wasn’t able to field a sharp grounder that would have bailed out Somsen, as Jim mentioned. But if he can play catcher, and the Reds want a third catcher with Mesoraco coming back from injury, whose roster spot does that take?

    Still having Phillips and Bruce really creates a logjam.

    • Honestly, if I’m in desperate need of a 3rd catcher, I’m just putting Cabrera on the 25-man. He’s a much better catcher and honestly, not a much worse hitter.

    • The alleged catcher Pacheco has also played 1st/ 3rd/ 2nd and I believe a spot of LF this spring. That would match him up pretty directly with Duvall who has an option. Maybe the optionless YRod gets the RH batting side of a LF platoon and Duvall goes back to AAA for as long as they need the third “catcher”???

      A good sales person could probably even get Duvall on board without too much rancor by pointing out it would give him time to further learn the ropes in LF out of the glare of the bright lights.

  10. II just have a feeling that we will be seeing a lot of kids as the season progresses. I believe that by the AS break you may have a practically new set of starters at new positions. Winker and Ervin, Reed, Peraza, Blandino. This will be a season when many kids will take the place of veterans.

  11. I am slightly off subject here but stay with me. The deal with sending Reed down to “not start the clock” is good management. The other side of that coin is BP, I am disappointed that we didn’t move him but this was his agent getting him to do what was best for BP and he earned that right. I am not one of those who blame him for being “greedy” or hurting the team it is a business for him the same as it is for the Reds for delaying Reeds clock. I am in agreement with the majority that we are going to be real bad bordering on terrible this year. That makes keeping Yorman and Cave on the 25 man roster a no brainer. Does it make any difference between winning 73 games or 65? You maybe could argue poor defense might stunt the pitchers growth by damaging their confidence but to either play those 2 or lose them in a year that is going to be a disaster anyway. I say keep them on the 25 man roster until it is clear you are beating the proverbial dead horse.

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