Reds News

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.