Cincinnati Reds: Former big leaguers dominate Triple-A Louisville roster

Early morning over Louisville Slugger Field on April 11. Later in the evening the Louisville Bats will play their home opener against Gwinnett.
Early morning over Louisville Slugger Field on April 11. Later in the evening the Louisville Bats will play their home opener against Gwinnett. /

Tim Adelman, Art Warren, Mark Payton, Scott Heineman, Mike Freeman, and Max Schrock are just six of the 30 players who’ll begin the 2021 season with the Louisville Bats, the Cincinnati Reds‘ Triple-A affiliate. All seven have major league experience. In fact, 21 of the 30 players have at least some amount of time on a big league roster.

The 2020 season relied heavily on the alternate site; for the Reds it was Prasco Park in Mason, Ohio. So far this season, Louisville Slugger Field has been home to Cincinnati’s alternate training site, and it will likely provide a few more players in the coming months as injuries inevitably occur and well-rested bullpen arms are needed.

The Reds Triple-A affiliate is home to some major league talent.

Heineman and Payton are likely to see some time in the bigs this coming season. However, the Cincinnati outfield is stacked with talent. Payton has already seen two different stints with the big league club, so it stands to reason that a productive minor-league campaign would warrant another call-up.

Experienced infielders like Freeman and Schrock could have their name called as the season progresses, in fact, we’ve already seen Schrock for a handful of games this season. Alfredo Rodriguez will be an interesting player to keep an eye on, especially if an injury befalls Eugenio Suárez. Cincinnati has little depth at the shortstop position.

Cheslor Cuthbert saw quite a lot of time on the field in Goodyear, Arizona, and it’s a good bet that the former Chicago White Sox infielder will see a good deal of time at first base for the Bats. Another former White Sox player, Nicky Delmonico can play both first base and the outfield.

One of the Reds top outfield prospects TJ Friedl will finally get his chance to debut at Triple-A. Friedl is one of the better hitting prospects in Cincinnati’s farm system, but just like the aforementioned Heineman and Payton, it’ll be hard to break into the big league outfield with the Reds current crop occupying the grass at Great American Ball Park.

On the pitching side of things, the Reds have more prospects.

While the position player-side of things is dominated by former major league talent, there are actually a few top prospects who’ll be toeing the rubber at Louisville Slugger Field. Tony Santillan, Vladimir Gutierrez, and Riley O’Brien all have a chance to make their major league debuts this season, but they’ll have to showcase their talents for the Bats first.

Tim Adelman was recently re-signed by the Cincinnati Reds, and you don’t have to squint very hard to see the right-hander get a call-up to the big leagues at some point this season. Another veteran on this year’s Bats’ roster is Brandon Finnegan. A former starter for the Reds, Finnegan is trying to work his way back onto the 40-man roster.

R.J. Alaniz, Shane Carle, Josh Osich, and Braden Shipley all saw time with the team during spring training. Chris Okey and Beau Taylor will be duking it out for time behind the plate. Rocky Gale is listed among the Louisville Bats’ backstops.

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The Louisville Bats roster is loaded with major league talent, and there’s a good chance that several players who are on the current roster will get a call at some point to join the Reds in Cincinnati. Until then, they’ll be calling the Derby City home and working on improving their chances to make it to The Show.