1 Reds player who will shock the fans this spring and make the Opening Day roster

Cincinnati Reds, Connor Phillips
Cincinnati Reds, Connor Phillips / G Fiume/GettyImages

There are arguably more opportunities on this year's Cincinnati Reds roster since David Bell's arrival prior to the 2019 season. The Redlegs are in the midst of a rebuild and very few players will be assured of a starting job or even a spot on the Opening Day roster.

Roster spots are always difficult to come by. Each February, teams head to their respective training facilities in either Arizona or Florida and try to whittle down their roster to 26 players before the season gets under way.

There's always a player or two, that nobody saw coming, who is able to shock the fanbase during spring training and find his way onto the Opening Day roster. Which Reds player will surprise the Cincinnati faithful this year and shockingly head into 2023 as part of the club's Opening Day roster?

RHP Connor Phillips will shock the fans and make the Reds Opening Day roster.

From player to be named later to Opening Day roster. That would be kind of fun to see, wouldn't it? Don't put it past right-handed pitcher Connor Phillips to make the Cincinnati Reds Opening Day roster this season.

Phillips was part of the trade that sent Jesse Winker and Eugenio Suarez last March. Phillips was the last piece of the puzzle after outfielder Jake Fraley, right-handed pitcher Justin Dunn, and left-handed prospect Brandon Williamson had already been included once the trade was consummated.

Phillips is not your typical PTBNL, in fact, the 21-year-old was a second-round pick of the Mariners back in 2020. A native of Houston, Phillips split last season between High-A Dayton and Double-A Chattanooga. Collectively, he went 5-8 in 24 starts with a 3.78 ERA.

Now, if Phillips were to make his major league debut as part of the Reds Opening Day roster, it would likely be as a reliever. Although he's been a starting pitcher throughout his minor league career, many scouts foresee him eventually finding a role at the back end of the bullpen.

Even though the Reds have several relievers returning from injury this spring, you can never have too many relief pitchers. Last season, Lucas Sims, Tony Santillan, Tejay Antone, Justin Wilson, and Jeff Hoffman all spent considerable time on the Injured List.

Connor Phillips has a fastball that sits in the mid-90s and his curveball is arguably a plus-pitch. Phillips' slider and changeup are both a work-in-progress.

Phillips racked up 150 punch outs in 109.2 innings of last season after striking out 111 opposing batters in the Seattle organization back in 2021. Phillips has the ability to make batters miss which is a highly-coveted trait.

If Connor Phillips is hoping to make the Cincinnati Reds Opening Day roster, he's already halfway there after receiving a non-roster invite to big league camp. If Phillips shows off during spring training, the Reds may have a very difficult time keeping him off the Opening Day roster.

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