Cincinnati Reds start a different sort of spring training

(Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
(Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images) /

Forced to use so many rookies in 2017, the forty man roster is tight for the Cincinnati Reds.

The Cincinnati Reds used sixteen different starting pitchers in 2017.  They also had to keep Stuart Turner and Dilson Herrera on the forty man roster all season to protect them from leaving.  That resulted in a tight forty man roster this off-season.

The impact is that the battles are well defined heading into spring training.  Unlike recent seasons, the Reds aren’t desperate to find enough people to fill the roster.  One or two non-roster invitees could make the team, but it that is unlikely.

On the pitching staff barring injury there is only the long reliever spot in the bullpen that could be open for someone off of the roster.  During the off-season the Reds signed a pair of veteran relievers to help get the ball to closer Raisel Iglesis.  Even if former set-up man Michael Lorenzen ends up in the rotation, the bullpen is close to set.

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The rotation should include the big three of Anthony DeSclafani, Homer Bailey, and Brandon Finnegan combined with two prospects.  Luis Castillo appears to be the new ace of the team.  That leaves one spot in the rotation for all of the other prospects that got some starts last season.

All of the non-roster invitees on the position player side for the Cincinnati Reds are bench players, save one.

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The Reds have eleven non-roster invitees in camp that play in the field.  Ten of them are fighting for a potential bench spot.  The eleventh could fight his way into the every day line-up.

The Reds invited top prospect Nick Senzel to his first spring training this year.  If he makes the club out of spring training, he will be starting somewhere.  The Reds are giving him time at shortstop, which is the most likely spot he will play in, if he makes the team.

The headliner among the non-roster invitees is former Seattle Mariners top prospect Patrick Kivlehan.  

He can play all three outfield positions and the corner infield spots.  He spent all of 2017 as the primary right handed pinch hitter for the Reds.

Next: Reds are loaded with young starting pitchers

Anyone on the forty man roster has a chance to make the roster at the start of the season with chances higher for those that have already made their MLB debut.  An injury causing someone to go on the sixty day DL would also help.  Otherwise, it’s just picking from among players the Reds already know.