2. Ryan Hendrix, Reds right-handed pitcher
Were it not for the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, we likely would have seen Ryan Hendrix debut last season. Unfortunately, the lack of a minor league season left the right-hander at Prasco Park all summer. However, Hendrix has the stuff to make an impact out of the Cincinnati Reds bullpen.
With so many unknowns among the crop of relief pitchers, outside of Amir Garrett, Lucas Sims, Sean Doolittle, and Noé Ramirez, it’s anyone’s guess as to who’ll be emerging from the Reds bullpen on any given night. GM Nick Krall has made several additions, but none of those players are guaranteed a spot among the relief corps.
Hendrix is a power pitcher with a plus, plus-fastball and a devastating slider. A two-pitch combo like that is sure to turn heads during Reds spring training. Think Robert Stephenson, butt with better control. Stephenson always had a great mix of stuff, but his exceedingly high walk-rate (12.1% according to FanGraphs), never allowed him to reach his potential.
The absence of many assured spots in the Cincinnati bullpen gives Ryan Hendrix a tremendous opportunity to impress the coaching staff during spring training. It’ll be a tight competition, and may come down to minor-league options. Since Hendrix has all three options remaining, he may get passed over. However, if he shows out during camp, David Bell may be hard-pressed to keep him off the active roster.