Alexis Diaz's performance in 2022 has paved a path for this Reds pitching prospect

Cincinnati Reds prospect Ryan Nutof.
Cincinnati Reds prospect Ryan Nutof. / Ralph Freso/GettyImages

The Cincinnati Reds added Alexis Diaz to the team's 40-man roster last winter. Diaz was a name that very few fans of the Reds had actually heard of, but the right-hander made the most of his opportunity and looks to be a key piece of the Cincinnati bullpen moving forward.

Could Ryan Nutof follow a similar path to the big leagues? Nutof, who was out of action for the entire 2021 season following Tommy John surgery, has posted numbers that are eerily similar to what fans saw from Diaz in 2021.

Diaz, without the benefit of any time at Triple-A Louisville, made the leap to the major leagues and was part of the Cincinnati Reds Opening Day roster. The competition for next year's roster will be intense, but Nutof has the ability to make the leap as well.

Can Reds prospect Ryan Nutof follow Alexis Diaz's path to the major leagues?

Ryan Nutof was a 16th-round pick of the Cincinnati Reds back in 2017. For those who don't know, Alexis Diaz was selected in the 12th round of the 2015 MLB Draft. It's not often that later-round draft choices make it to The Show. However, Diaz along with Chuckie Robinson (21st-round pick in 2016) Alejo Lopez (27th-round pick in 2015) are all on the Reds active roster at the moment.

Nutof, now 26 years old, has spent all season with the Chattanooga Lookouts, but was recently promoted to Triple-A Louisville. In 39 appearances out of the bullpen, Nutof has a 2.96 ERA, 3.40 FIP, and 65 punch outs in 54.2 innings of work. Last season at Double-A, Diaz had a 3.83 ERA, 2.41 FIP, and struck out 70 batters over42.1 innings pitched.

Ryan Nutof is eligible for the Rule 5 Draft this winter, so if the Cincinnati Reds want to keep the right-hander in the organization, it would behoove them to add him to the 40-man roster. Cincinnati has only two players (Joey Votto and Mike Moustakas) who's contracts are guaranteed for next season, so the club has more than enough flexibility to include Nutof on the offseason roster.

Even if Nutof doesn't make the same leap that Alexis Diaz did from the minor leagues to the major leagues, Cincinnati will need some more bullpen arms on the roster. Jeff Hoffman, Tony Santillan, Lucas Sims, and Tejay Antone are all recovering from injuries that ended their 2022 season. Adding Nutof seems like a smart move.

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