Reds: Max Schrock has been an unexpected standout in spring training

GOODYEAR, ARIZONA - MARCH 03: Max Schrock #32 of the Cincinnati Reds gets ready in the batters box. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images)
GOODYEAR, ARIZONA - MARCH 03: Max Schrock #32 of the Cincinnati Reds gets ready in the batters box. (Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images) /

Max Schrock returned to the Cincinnati Reds lineup last night and picked up where he left off. The 26-year-old went 1-for-2 with a walk and two runs scored. Schrock is a fringe candidate to make the Opening Day roster, but if begins the 2021 season inn Triple-A, don’t expect him to stay there for long.

Shifting Eugenio Suárez from third base to shortstop has thrown a wrench into the outlook for the Reds infield. In all likelihood, Suárez will start at shortstop while Mike Moustakas will return to third base, and Jonathan India will begin his MLB career as the Reds Opening Day starter at second base.

Max Schrock could still find his way onto the Reds Opening Day roster.

It seemed like a long shot before spring training began, but Max Schrock has a real shot to make the Reds Opening Day roster. A lot depends on whether or not Joey Votto is back in time for the start of the 2021 season.

Currently on the injured list, Votto tested positive for COVID-19. The mandatory timeframe has now passed and provided the six-time All-Star is healthy, he can rejoin the team. If not, David Bell may have to figure out who will take reps at first base heading into April 1st clash with the St. Louis Cardinals.

If Bell wants to keep the current infield alignment the same, then it’s likely we see Kyle Farmer or Scott Heineman take over at first base until Votto returns. Votto’s absence would allow Schrock to sneak onto the 26-man roster.

Farmer and Dee Strange-Gordon are likely to be the top two utility infielders on the Reds this season. But, if Farmer is to be counted among the regulars until the former MVP’s return from the IL, Max Schrock is the most likely player to land that final spot one the Cincinnati bench.

Max Schrock has put together a solid spring for the Reds.

Max Schrock is not going to wow you with power, exit velocity, or launch angle. You’re not going to be overly impressed by his slick fielding or elite-level speed. Schrock is ballplayer. He’s a gritty, fundamentally sound player who understands how to play the game.

Schrock is kind of a throwback player in some ways. A 13th round pick of the Washington Nationals back in 2015, Schrock was traded twice; once to the Oakland Athletics and then a second time to the St. Louis Cardinals.

Schrock’s fringe arm prevents him from being a key contributor on the left side of the infield, though he does have major league experience at  third base. Being a left-handed bat, it would be conceivable that David Bell could platoon Schrock at second base with the aforementioned Jonathan India.

While most of Reds Country would despise that idea, it’s a real possibility and one that fans may need to wrap their minds around. Yes, India looks the part of a regular in the Cincinnati lineup, but during his rookie season, the 24-year-old is bound to take his lumps.

Having a dependable bat like Schrock, who knows how to work the strike zone, could be quite valuable as a spot starter once or twice per week. This spring, Schrock has slashed .467/.556/.533 with a double, two walks, and a pair of stolen bases as well.

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Again, Max Schrock is not going to wow you and he does not have an imposing presence in the batters box; he only stands 5-foot-9. But the former South Carolina Gamecock looks like he’ll find a home on the Cincinnati Reds roster at some point this season.