3. Alexis Diaz, Reds right-handed pitcher
It was mentioned earlier that the Cincinnati Reds bullpen had a pair of fresh faces. In addition to aforementioned Daniel Duarte, Alexis Diaz is expected to break camp with the team. Diaz might be the most surprising name on the Reds Opening Day roster, as the 25-year-old has yet to pitch above Double-A.
However, Diaz did two things well for the Chattanooga Lookouts in 2021. He kept the ball in the ballpark (0.43 HR/9) and he got batters to swing and miss (38.9% strikeout-rate). Both of those numbers bode well for the former 12th-round draft pick.
But, just like Duarte, the inexperience will have Diaz on a much shorter leash than the likes of Dauri Moreta, Ryan Hendrix, and Tony Santillan. Diaz is the younger brother of New York Mets closer Edwin Diaz. The Reds are hopeful that the ability to shutdown opponents in the ninth inning runs in the family.
For now, however, we're likely to see the high-leverage situations go to pitchers like Santillan, Luis Cessa, and Hunter Strickland. David Bell has already announced that after the fifth starter (Nick Lodolo) joins the rotation next week, one of the relievers will be sent down.
We're likely to see an in-season battle between Alexis Diaz, Daniel Duarte, Ryan Hendrix, and Dauri Moreta; all of whom will be vying for a more permanent role in the Cincinnati Reds bullpen. Diaz's lack of experience may be his downfall, but his stuff is flat-out filthy.