Reds news: Hard-throwing right-handed rookie will boost the bullpen

CINCINNATI, OH - JULY 10: Ryan Hendrix #73 of the Cincinnati Reds pitches during an intrasquad scrimmage. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - JULY 10: Ryan Hendrix #73 of the Cincinnati Reds pitches during an intrasquad scrimmage. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images) /

Had the COVID-19 pandemic not snuffed out two-thirds of the 2020 season, it’s quite possible we’d have seen Ryan Hendrix make his major league debut last year. However, with only 60 games played during the 2020 season, Hendrix never saw a big league field and spent the entire pandemic-shortened season at the Cincinnati Reds’ alternate site in Mason, Ohio.

But, good things come to those who wait, and the Texas native is moments away from making his big league dreams come true. Hendrix was promoted to the Reds roster earlier today, along with right-hander Heath Hembree. In two corresponding moves, Cincinnati optioned infielder Max Schrock and pitcher Cionel Pérez to the alternate site in Louisville.

Reds pitcher Ryan Hendrix is a bit older than most prospects.

More times than not, the majority of major league prospects make their big league debut around age 23, sometimes 24 or 25. Hendrix is 26-years old, but don’t let his advanced age fool you. The former fifth-round pick has plenty of gas in the tank and his fastball will work well out of the Cincinnati bullpen.

Hendrix’s fastball sits in the mid-to-upper 90s and he’s got a nasty breaking pitch that can best be described as a slurve. Hendrix owns a 12.2 K/9 through his time in the minor leagues, and David Bell is hoping he can bring the same level of play to his beleaguered bullpen; one that surrendered 12 runs during yesterday’s debacle at Great American Ball Park.

Hendrix, ranked the No. 21 overall prospect in the Cincinnati farm system according to MLB Pipeline, might not be the last reliever to make his major league debut this season. Riley O’Brien and Vladimir Gutierrez, also ranked among the Top 25 Reds’ prospects, may find their way onto the Cincinnati roster before the end of the 2021 season.

Hembree brings a veteran presence to bullpen after having spent eight seasons in the major leagues, splitting time between Boston, San Francisco, and Philadelphia. Pérez had struggled of late and was granted fourth-year option prior to the start of the 2021 season.

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Schrock will likely find his way back to the active roster later this season, but with Mike Moustakas’ return from the 10-day injured list likely coming on Tuesday, it was likely that Schrock would lose his roster spot in a few days anyway. Adding an additional couple arms will help players like Lucas Sims and Sean Doolittle get some much needed rest during the upcoming series.