Cincinnati Reds: 3 players who benefit from injury-plagued roster

The Cincinnati Reds take in the game.
The Cincinnati Reds take in the game. /
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Scott Heineman #26 of the Cincinnati Reds in action during a preseason game.
MESA, ARIZONA – MARCH 01: Scott Heineman #26 of the Cincinnati Reds in action during a preseason game. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images) /

2. Scott Heineman, Reds outfielder

Scott Heineman has been one of the most impressive players in camp this spring, but a crowded Cincinnati Reds outfield is going to make it difficult for the former Texas Ranger to find his way onto the major league roster. However, the hamstring injury suffered by Shogo Akiyama will give the hulking outfielder a chance to make the Reds squad.

Whether or not Akiyama returns for Opening Day, he’ll be playing behind Nick Senzel in the early-going of the 2021 season. Akiyama felt the effects of missing a good chunk of spring training last year due to the coronavirus, and the Japanese outfielder was absent from Goodyear for seven days while tending to his injured wife back in Cincinnati.

Those missed at-bats are going to hurt the 32-year-old’s timing and likely push back his 2021 debut. When healthy, Akiyama has the ability to be a solid contributor atop the Cincinnati batting order, but the team’s outfield depth will insure that there’s no need to rush Akiyama back into the lineup if he’s not yet ready.

Scott Heineman is a versatile outfielder, capable of playing all three spots as well as first base. Joey Votto’s absence will also help Heineman’s chances of making the team out of spring camp. Heineman has speed on the base paths and power in the batter’s box; a perfect utility player whom David Bell can deploy late in games to help the Reds secure some early-season wins.