Cincinnati Reds look for help from non-roster players

(Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images)
(Photo by Victor Decolongon/Getty Images) /
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The Cincinnati Reds brought in twelve non-roster position players.

With a young and improving pitching staff the Cincinnati Reds need bench help more than anything else to improve this season from non-roster players. The Reds invited three catchers, four infielders and five outfielders to spring training this year.  They also invited twelve non-roster pitchers.

The player most likely to make the roster is infielder Cliff Pennington.  He is a career .243 batter with an OBP of .310.  He is an average MLB defender at second, third, and short.

The player that is directly challenging Pennington is Phil Gosselin.  He has to prove that he can hit and field consistently at the MLB level.  He is a career .270 hitter at the MLB level and an average fielder at all four infield positions.

The highest profile player among the non-roster invitees is top prospect Nick Senzel.  The Reds drafted him second overall in 2016 and have watched him rise up through the minors.  He is working out at shortstop this spring, even though he is usually a third baseman.

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Then there’s minor leaguer Brandon Dixon.  He can’t play shortstop, so his chances are more limited.  He does have the most power of the four infielders, already hitting a homer this spring.

The Cincinnati Reds also have a few interesting outfielders among the non-roster invitees.

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Reds fans will be extremely familiar with one of the outfielders in Patrick Kivlehan.  He spent all of 2017 in Cincinnati after being a top prospect for the Seattle Mariners just two years ago.  His flexibility will help him make it back to the team, but his bat hasn’t produced as hoped.

Mason Williams may be the most exciting outfielder among the group.  He has plus speed and a good offensive record in the minors.  Unfortunately, he played for the New York Yankees in 2015, 2016, and 2017, but never stuck for more than a month.

Darnell Sweeney also has a change to make the team as bench player.  When he made his debut for the Philadelphia Phillies in 2015, he played second, third and all three outfield positions.  He batted .281 with an OBP of .355 in half of a season for the Bats last year.

Next: Reds will be better in 2018

The Reds may not even have a spot on the roster for any of the non-roster position players.  Three of the bench spots are already gone to Devin Mesoraco, Dilson Herrera, and Jesse Winker if they are all healthy.  That just means that the non-roster players have to stand out if they want to avoid opening the season playing for Louisville or Pensacola.