3 non-roster invitees who will make the Cincinnati Reds Opening Day roster

Philadelphia Phillies player Andrew Knapp (5) bats.
Philadelphia Phillies player Andrew Knapp (5) bats. / Rhona Wise-USA TODAY Sports
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The Cincinnati Reds currently have 12 players who are invited to join the team in Goodyear, Arizona but are not part of the 40-man roster. Every spring fans see a handful of players make a good impression during spring training and find their way onto the Opening Day roster.

Last year, Tyler Naquin was the most prominent name to make the team after a few successful, albeit injury-plagued seasons in Cleveland. Naquin was a non-roster invitee to Reds camp last March and turned in a career-high in games played, home runs, and RBIs.

So, while Cincinnati will likely add a few more players to the list (Nick Lodolo the most obvious among them), let's look at the current list of non-roster invitees and see which three are most likely to make the Cincinnati Reds Opening Day roster.

1. Andrew Knapp, Reds catcher

Andrew Knapp, a native of Roseville, California, was signed to a minor-league deal and given an invite to spring training. The former Philadelphia Phillies backstop recently turned 30 years old, but Cincinnati will need a backup catcher for Tyler Stephenson next season.

The Reds said goodbye to longtime catcher Tucker Barnhart over the offseason, trading him shortly after the World Series to the Detroit Tigers. After Stephenson's strong rookie campaign, it was obvious that Barnhart was going to see his playing time diminish in the final year of his contract that would have paid the catcher $7.5M.

Knapp is a below-average catcher, both defensively and at the plate. Knapp has -30 career defensive runs saved as a catcher and a lifetime batting average of just .214. Last season, Knapp posted a horrific .152/.215/.214 slash line with a wRC+ of just 18. Yikes!

While Andrew Knapp was taken in the second-round of the 2013 MLB Draft by Philadelphia because of his bat, it's been his relationship with his battery mates over the years that has kept him in the big leagues.

Knapp is a switch-hitter; something that will bode well for him in David Bell's system. Bell is always playing the matchups, and while I don't foresee a scenario where Bell will platoon both Knapp and Stephenson, the Reds skipper may be more apt to give last year's rookie a day off here and there when an opposing right-handed pitcher is on the bump.

Cincinnati Reds Brandon Bailey (55) poses during media day.
Cincinnati Reds Brandon Bailey (55) poses during media day. / USA TODAY NETWORK

2. Brandon Bailey, Reds pitcher

This all comes down to one thing; is Brandon Bailey fully healthy following Tommy John surgery last year? If the answer is yes, you might as well pencil Bailey in as one of the Reds relievers in 2022. If Bailey has yet to fully recover, it'll be a stretch to see the former Houston Astros' hurler as part of the Cincinnati Reds Opening Day roster.

Bailey recently took to Twitter to post a video of him pitching in Arizona. During the clip, Bailey can seen topping 90-MPH for the first time since undergoing his second Tommy John surgery. While that's a tremendous feat and one the 27-year-old should take pride in, eclipsing 90-MPH alone will not land him a spot in the Cincinnati bullpen.

But the heater is not the only weapon in Bailey's arsenal. Bailey's fastball is not overpowering, but the right-hander has three other pitches he can turn to. The changeup is quite possibly his most effective secondary offering, but Bailey also has a curveball and a slider as well.

The Cincinnati bullpen was the team's weakest link in 2021, and without Tejay Antone, the Reds will be looking for a handful of pitchers to compete for what will be at least three openings. Do not sleep on Brandon Bailey's ability to make the Cincinnati Reds Opening Day roster if he's healthy.

Over 10,000 spectators filled Slugger Field to watch the Louisville Bats play.
Over 10,000 spectators filled Slugger Field to watch the Louisville Bats play. / Sam Upshaw Jr./Courier Journal via Imagn

3. Lorenzo Cedrola, Reds outfielder

A former prospect within the Boston Red Sox organization, Lorenzo Cedrola was dealt to the Cincinnati Reds in 2018. Since that time, the Venezuelan has played exclusively in the minor leagues with his best season having been last year with the Chattanooga Lookouts.

Cedrola hit .320/.356/.461 for Double-A Chattanooga last season and received a promotion to Triple-A Louisville after TJ Friedl was called up to the big leagues. Cedrola played in just nine games for the Bats but still posted a .762 OPS and a wRC+ of 106.

Cedrola was originally signed to play shortstop, but showed promise as a centerfielder. He has good speed and quickness which enabled Cedrola to switch from the infield dirt to the outfield grass. The 23-year-old fielded all three positions last season, but for the majority of his minor league career, Cedrola has seen his starts come in center field.

The Cincinnati Reds outfield is a mess. Nick Senzel can't stay healthy, Shogo Akiyama can find a permanent spot in the lineup, and Nick Castellanos is likely headed elsewhere once a new collective bargaining agreement is reached.

Next. Austin Hendrick's surprising destination to begin 2022 season. dark

Both Tyler Naquin and Jesse Winker are coming off season-ending injuries, and while I'd expect both to be healthy once spring training commences, I could foresee both players being brought along slowly. This extra playing time could enable a player like Lorenzo Cedrola to establish himself as a possible fit on the Reds bench in 2022.