3. Pitcher Rhett Lowder could sneak onto the Reds 2024 Opening Day roster
Okay, some Reds fans are going to laugh at the notion of last year's first-round draft pick making a run at the team's Opening Day roster. While it would seem rather unlikely, it's certainly not impossible. In fact, Lowder won't be the only first-round pick from the 2023 MLB Draft who's competing for a roster spot.
Pittsburgh Pirates' first-round pick Paul Skenes will be looking to secure his spot on the Buccos' Opening Day roster as well. Skenes, who made his professional debut last season, went to the Steel City with the first-overall pick in last year's draft, while Lowder went to Cincinnati with pick No. 7.
Lowder is behind a long list of potential starters, so it will certainly be an uphill climb. Hunter Greene, Nick Lodolo, and Graham Ashcraft will have a leg up on the competition, and Andrew Abbott, Brandon Williamson, and Connor Phillips will be in the mix as well. Don't forget Frankie Montas, and perhaps even Nick Martinez.
If the list of potential starters is already that long, how in the world will Lowder even break into the Reds Opening Day rotation. Well, not to be pessimistic, but Greene, Lodolo, Ashcraft, and Montas all spent time on the 60-day IL in 2023. Abbott battled fatigue down the stretch, while Phillips was very erratic during his brief time in the big leagues.
While it's true that fans rarely see a pitcher skip over the minor leagues entirely, former Reds draft pick Mike Leake did so in 2010. After being named Pac-12 Pitcher of the Year in 2009 while throwing for Arizona State, Leake skipped over the minors entirely and won the spring training competition for the fifth spot in the Reds rotation.
The odds are not in Lowder's favor, but the Wake Forrest product has an advanced repertoire that will already play at the big league level. Though the most likely scenario would be for Lowder to perhaps start at Double-A Chattanooga, the fact that he's receiving an invite to big league camp suggests that the Reds coaches and player development staff see him as a quick riser.