Are you desperate for spring to hurry and get here? Well, here’s a morsel of news, if you’re scoring at home: the Reds extended a spring training invitation to 19 non-roster players today:
Cincinnati also announced the invitation of 19 non-roster players to big league camp at Spring Training: catchers Rob Brantly, Chad Wallach and Shawn Zarraga, right-handers Alejandro Chacin, Vladimir Gutierrez, Jimmy Herget, Tyler Mahle, Evan Mitchell and Kevin Shackelford, left-handers Ismael Guillon, Lucas Luetge and Nick Routt, infielder Brandon Dixon, shortstop Zach Vincej, outfielders Sebastian Elizalde and Gabriel Guerrero, infielder/outfielder Patrick Kivlehan and Tony Renda and utility player Hernan Iribarren.
Of that group, Iribarren and Renda would seem to have the best shot at making the Opening Day roster. The most interesting name on the list, of course, is Vladimir Gutierrez, the 21-year old Cuban right hander that the Reds signed back at the end of August. If you remember:
At 6-foot-3, Gutierrez is a lanky, long-armed pitcher who has been one of the top prospects on the international market for a while, with his stock initially dipping upon poor early showcases before rising higher than after when his velocity spiked earlier this year, touching 97 mph after he topped out at 93 mph in Cuba to go with a swing-and-miss curveball. While his assignment for next year has yet to be determined, based on his present ability, he should start in the minors at one of the Class A levels.
For what it’s worth, MLB Pipeline has Gutierrez as the fifth-best prospect in the Cincinnati organization.