Cincinnati Reds: Predicting 30-man roster with summer camp underway

CINCINNATI, OH - JULY 10: Michael Lorenzen #21 of the Cincinnati Reds (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - JULY 10: Michael Lorenzen #21 of the Cincinnati Reds (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images) /
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Cincinnati Reds
CINCINNATI, OH – JULY 10: Alex Blandino #0 of the Cincinnati Reds (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images) /

Reds role players (6)

Phillip Ervin (OF), Kyle Farmer (IF), Josh VanMeter (IF), Mark Payton (OF), Curt Casali (C), Travis Jankowski (OF)

This is where the battle for the final few roster spots begins to take shape. Players like Curt Casali, Phillip Ervin and Kyle Farmer are locks to make the team. But, Mark Payton, Josh VanMeter and Travis Jankowski are definitely on the bubble. VanMeter’s showing last season and versatility gives the left-handed slugger the edge.

After hearing David Bell’s praise for Farmer’s ability to field the shortstop position, keeping Alex Blandino on the Opening Day roster is no longer necessary. Blandino is a sound backup who hit well during spring training, but some of the other players in camp have some specialized skills that Blandino lacks.

Jankowski replaces Blandino in our latest projection because he possesses one thing Blandino does not; elite speed. Jankowski is a burner. He’s not Billy Hamilton-fast, but he’s fast enough. With the newly instituted “runner on second base” rule that will accompany the 2020 season, having a player who’s wheels can get him to home plate quickly will be very advantageous.

I would expect Ervin, Farmer, Casali and even VanMeter to receive some sort of regular playing time this season. Ervin can sub in for Jesse Winker when a lefty is on the mound and Casali is likely to do the same for Tucker Barnhart. VanMeter and Farmer offer enough versatility to give players like Joey Votto, Eugenio Suárez and Mike Moustakas a day off.