4. Alexis Diaz, Reds right-handed pitcher
It's not incredibly surprising to see right-hander Daniel Duarte make the Cincinnati Reds Opening Day roster. Duarte posted a 12.05 K/9 and 31.2% strikeout-rate while pitching across three levels of the minor leagues last season.
But Alexis Diaz has yet to see time at Triple-A, so it's mildly surprising to see the Reds choose to go into the season with both right-handed rookies as part of the relief corps. Diaz, the brother of New York Mets closer Edwin Diaz, pitched in 35 games for Double-A Chattanooga last season.
In those 35 appearances, Diaz posted a 38.9% strikeout-rate, but also an 11.1% walk-rate. This spring, Diaz has four strikeouts in four inning of work. But, the right-hander also has two hit batsmen, has given up two hits, including a home run, and walked three batters.
Diaz will likely serve as a low-leverage reliever in the early-going of the 2022 season, and depending on how he or Duarte perform in the first five games of the season, one or the other will likely be sent to Triple-A Louisville in order to make room for Nick Lodolo.
There are definitely some surprises on the Cincinnati Reds 2022 roster, but most of them are good surprises. We've already seen the Reds make the surprising move to release Shogo Akiyama, so there may be more surprises around the corner this season.