What's not to like about Reds non-roster invitee Alex Young?

San Francisco Giants relief pitcher Alex Young.
San Francisco Giants relief pitcher Alex Young. / Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

If the Cincinnati Reds are looking for a left-handed reliever to pair with last year's rookie Reiver Sanmartin, the club may have found it in Alex Young.

Young, who signed a minor league contract with an invite to spring training, should arrive in Goodyear alongside all the other pitchers and catchers this week.

Young pitched for the San Francisco Giants last season. An alum of Texas Christian University, Young was a second-round draft selection of the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2015 and put forth his most productive season in 2022.

What's not to like about Reds non-roster invitee Alex Young?

The Cincinnati Reds didn't have much left-handed help out of the bullpen in 2022. Justin Wilson was supposed to be David Bell's go to in left-on-left situations last season, but an elbow injury forced the former New York Yankees reliever onto the 60-day IL after just five appearances out of the bullpen.

Reiver Sanmartin began the season as part of the Reds starting rotation, but a disastrous start saw the southpaw optioned to Triple-A. Sanmartin returned midway through the 2022 season and became a solid contributor out of the bullpen.

But aside from that, the Reds had to rely on Ross Detwiler. Alex Young's numbers from last season are solid. The lefty threw 26.2 innings and posted a 2.36 ERA and 2.89 FIP. Young also produced a career-best 54.2% ground ball-rate and didn't allow a single home run.

While Great American Ball Park won't provide Young with the same pitcher-friendly environment that Oracle Park offered him in 2022, his home/ road splits are not that drastically different.

What is interesting, however, are the reverse splits Young has when it comes to facing left-handed and right-handed hitters. Lefties actually got the better of Young to the tune of an .873 OPS-against, while right-handed batter only posted an OPS of .612. In the day of the three batter minimum, this may actually work in the Reds' favor.

Alex Young will, of course, have to show up during spring training and will need to displace one of the other relievers currently on the 40-man roster. But with only one other left-handed reliever, Young has an advantage over many other non-roster invitees and even those currently on the Cincinnati Reds roster.

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