3 unheralded Reds farmhands who could make the 2023 Opening Day roster

Cincinnati Reds bat and helmet rest on the field.
Cincinnati Reds bat and helmet rest on the field. / Kareem Elgazzar, Cincinnati Enquirer via
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Spring training is officially underway and it's time to familiarize yourself with some of the lesser known players within the Cincinnati Reds farm system.

Everyone has heard of Elly De La Cruz, Matt McLain is former first-round pick, and Christian. Encarnacion-Strand has a lot of buzz due to his massive power. But what about some of the Reds unsung prospects?

Last spring, an unheralded prospect by the name of Alexis Diaz broke camp with the Reds and by season's end was the team's best reliever. Diaz heads into 2023 as Cincinnati's closer. Who are a few overlooked farmhands that could make the Cincinnati Reds 2023 Opening Day roster?

1. Unheralded farmhand Ricky Karcher could make the Reds 2023 Opening Day roster.

A lot of fans have yet to hear the name Ricky Karcher. If you're fortunate enough to see him during spring training, you're in for a treat. Karcher is power arm who throws absolute gas. The right-hander was added to the Cincinnati Reds 40-man roster over the offseason in order to protect him from the Rule 5 Draft.

Karcher split time in the minors last season between Chattanooga and Louisville while posting an impressive 35.1% strikeout-rate. But his walk-rate was rather hideous at nearly 16.0%. Still, opponents were barely able to hit over .200 against 25-year-old.

Karcher will be given a chance to make the Reds roster out of Goodyear. With Tejay Antone, Vladimir Gutierrez, and now Tony Santillan all expected to begin the season on the IL, the list of available relievers is beginning to wear thin.

Alexis Diaz and Daniel Duarte, both of whom were offseason additions to the Cincinnati Reds 40-man roster in 2021, made quite the impression on the coaching staff last spring and were part of the 2022 Opening Day roster. Ricky Karcher could receive a similar opportunity this spring.

2. Unheralded farmhand Alex McGarry could make the Reds 2023 Opening Day roster.

Alex McGarry had an interesting ascent through the Cincinnati Reds farm system in 2022. The 24-year-old made stops at High-A Dayton, Double-A Chattanooga, and Triple-A Louisville last season while slashing .264/.316/.543.

McGarry posted a wRC+ of 124 according to FanGraphs while mashing 27 home runs. Of McGarry's 110 hits, 36 went for extra bases. That's certanly going to get you noticed. McGarry, while he wasn't added to the Reds 40-man roster, did receive a non-roster invite to spring training.

But McGarry, like so many young hitters in the Reds minor league system, struggles with strikeouts. McGarry had 136 Ks in 2022 and posted a strikeout-rate of 30.3%. Furthermore, McGarry doesn't balance out that obscene number with a fair amount of walks. The Oregon State alum posted a walk-rate of just 6.2%.

But, McGarry happens to play a position that could be of great need for the Cincinnati Reds - at least to begin the 2023 season. McGarry can play both corner outfield spot as well as first base. With Joey Votto recovering from shoulder surgery, if the former MVP is unable to go, McGarry's left-handed bat could find its way onto the Opening Day roster.

Alex McGarry will need a strong showing in Goodyear in order to gain the attention of the Reds coaching staff. If McGarry fails to land a spot on the 26-man roster, he'll likely begin the year at Triple-A Louisville, where he's just a 90-minute drive from the Queen City.

3. Unheralded farmhand Casey Legumina could make the Reds 2023 Opening Day roster.

The Cincinnati Reds made the rather unpopular trade this offseason that saw infielder Kyel Farmer head off to Minnesota. In return, the Twins sent minor league pitching prospect Casey Legumina to Cincinnati.

Legumina was added to the Twins 40-man roster just prior to the trade. The 25-year-old was an eighth-round draft choice of Minnesota back in 2019. Legumina began his Twins career as a starter, but switched to the bullpen late last season.

In mid-August, it was determined that Legumina may be more effective as a reliever. In 15 appearances out of Double-A Wichita's bullpen, Legumina posted an attractive 2.55 ERA and struck out 26 of the 76 batters he faced.

As is the case with the aforementioned Ricky Karcher, Casey Legumina will be competing for a spot in a Cincinnati bullpen that has already lost three pitchers to injury. While he's said to be 100% entering camp, there has be concerns about Lucas Sims' availability to begin the year after pitching in just seven games during the 2022 season.

Legumina is certainly an under-the-radar prospect, primarily because he's only been with the Reds organization for a couple months. But don't discount his ability to post solid numbers this spring and sneak onto Cincinnati's Opening Day roster. Already on the 40-man roster, the Reds would not have to make a corresponding move in order to call him up to the bigs.

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