A lot of Cincinnati Reds fans desire the team to make some move to improve the bullpen. Right-hander Alex Powers is a great in-house option.
A former 25th round draft pick of the Chicago White Sox back in 2013, Alex Powers received a non-roster invite to the Cincinnati Reds spring training in Goodyear, Arizona. A relative unknown among most Reds fans, Powers is not a player to overlook once camp begins.
Powers made a name for himself two years ago while piling for the Pensacola Blue Wahoos, who, at the time, were the Double-A affiliate of the Reds. Powers pitched in 39 games that season, racked up 18 saves and put up a WHIP of 0.968.
Last season, Powers began the year with Double-A Chattanooga. In 17 games, Powers owned a 1.23 ERA over 22.0 innings of work. Powers’ WHIP was a ridiculous 0.727 and his strikeout-rate, according to FanGraphs, was 40.2%. Powers’ dominance at the Double-A level earned him a promotion to Triple-A Louisville.
In 23 games with the bats, Powers put up a respectable 1.98 ERA and while his WHIP (1.317) was not as impressive as it had been in Double-A, Powers had just a 0.33 HR/9 and a 10.87 strikeout-rate.
At 27-years old, Powers is a bit long in the tooth in terms of a major league rookie, but next year could be his best opportunity to crack the big league roster. It was a bit surprising that Powers didn’t receive a call-up last summer.
With the Cincinnati Reds having yet to address the bullpen situation, one has to wonder if Dick Williams and Nick Krall will looking to upgrade from within. Michael Lorenzen, Amir Garrett, Raisel Iglesias, Robert Stephenson, and Lucas Sims are virtual locks to be in the bullpen next season.
Matt Bowman, Cody Reed, Sal Romano, Joel Kuhnel, and Jose Dé León will be duking it out for the final few spots. Throw Alex Powers name into that mix as well. In fact, when Kuhnel received the call last September to join the big league club, it could have just as easily been Powers.
Powers misses bats, as his 10-plus K/9 over the past three seasons in the minor leagues. Can he put it all together this spring? He’ll have his work cut out for him, as Reed, Romano, and Sims are out of minor-league options and will likely be given a long leash during spring training. Still, don’t count Powers out just yet – he can be a nice piece out of the pen next year.