3 Reds players to watch during the Cactus League opener vs. the Guardians

Cincinnati Reds shortstops Jose Barrero (2), Elly De La Cruz (44)
Cincinnati Reds shortstops Jose Barrero (2), Elly De La Cruz (44) / Cincinnati Enquirer-USA TODAY Sports
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3. Reds player to watch during the Cactus League opener: Brandon Williamson

Last spring, the Cincinnati Reds front office began to tear it all down. Sure, there was some foreshadowing during the winter when Tucker Barnhart was traded and the team waived left-hander Wade Miley. Even trading Sonny Gray to the Minnesota Twins was somewhat expected.

But it was mid-March last year when the Reds rebuild became fully-known to everybody. With one phone call from Cincinnati to Seattle, the Reds traded fan favorites Jesse Winker and Eugenio Suarez to the Mariners and in return received a relatively unknown outfielder, an injured pitcher, and two prospects.

Now, Jake Fraley has since shown himself to be, at least, a serviceable outfielder. And while Justin Dunn is likely out until later this season, there's hope that once he's healthy he can reach those lofty expectations that come with being a first-round draft pick.

But it was those prospects that could really help turn things around for the Reds. Connor Phillips is a non-roster invitee to big league camp and will likely begin the 2023 season down at Double-A Chattanooga. But Brandon Williamson has a real chance to break camp with the Reds this spring.

Williamson draws the start for today's Cactus League opener against the Cleveland Guardians. It's highly unlikely that Williamson goes more than two innings (if that), but it's got to be encouraging to see one of the pieces that Cincinnati acquired last spring set to toe the rubber this afternoon.

Williamson is locked in a battle with a handful of veterans for one of the last positions on the Cincinnati Reds Opening Day roster. A strong showing today and throughout Cactus League play could see the southpaw wind up on the 26-man roster that'll take the field on March 30th versus the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Next. 5 bold predictions for the Reds 2023 season. dark