Those two minor league deals paid off on Opening Day for the Cincinnati Reds. Derek Dietrich and José Iglesias were the stars on Thursday evening.
Has there ever been a better start to a Cincinnati Reds‘ career than what Derek Dietrich and José Iglesias put together on Opening Day? The two non-roster invitees who signed minor league contracts with the team during the offseason made the biggest impact during Thursday’s game at Great American Ball Park.
José Iglesias got the Reds rolling in the second inning. After a one-out single by José Peraza, Iglesias stepped into the batters box and mashed a 0-1 pitch over the head of the leaping Corey Dickerson in left field. Peraza motored around the bases and scored to give the Reds a 1-0 lead. Iglesias, standing on second base was fired up.
Derek Dietrich did damage in the bottom of the seventh inning with the game tied at 2. Dietrich was called upon to pinch hit for pitcher Zach Duke and then sent a shot to right-center field. The ball landed a few rows deep in the seats and gave the Cincinnati Reds a 5-2 lead over the Pittsburgh Pirates. Dietrich was pumped as he rounded the bases and emerged from the dugout for a curtain call.
Both Iglesias and Dietrich were non-roster invitees to Spring Training this season and were thought to be key pieces on the Reds bench. Dietrich had spent the previous six seasons in Miami with the Marlins, while Iglesias began his major league career with the Boston Red Sox in 2011 and joined the Detroit Tigers in 2013.
The injury to second baseman Scooter Gennett necessitated a position change for José Peraza from shortstop to second base and Iglesias took over the role of starting shortstop. Iglesias, known more for his glove than his bat, did not disappoint in his Reds’ debut, going 2-for-3 with an RBI double and a run scored.
Dietrich, who can play all over the diamond is likely to get his fair share of time at varying positions throughout the season. The Ohio native can play several infield spots and pick up some slack in the corner outfield positions as well. His left-handed bat is sure to get several opportunities to pinch hit, much like he did on Opening Day.
The depth on the Cincinnati Reds’ bench is incredible. When the roster is 100% healthy, Dietrich and Iglesias would be considered role players. Matt Kemp didn’t even receive and at-bat yesterday and the Reds’ top prospect Nick Senzel, who was in contention to make the team, isn’t even on the 25-man roster.
If Derek Dietrich and José Iglesias can maintain the same intensity and production that fans saw on Thursday, the Cincinnati Reds are going to be a formidable offensive team this season. Dietrich and Iglesias accounted for all but one of the Reds runs on Opening Day.