2 Reds prospects who have no shot to make the Opening Day roster and 1 who's a shoo-in

Detailed view of the jersey of Cincinnati Reds infielder Noelvi Marte
Detailed view of the jersey of Cincinnati Reds infielder Noelvi Marte / Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
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The Cincinnati Reds have invited a bevy of prospects to spring training this year. Elly De La Cruz headlines a talented, young group of players who are hoping to break in to the big leauges this season.

But just because a prospect is invited to major league spring training or even part of the 40-man roster is no guarantee that a player will break camp with the big league club. In fact, the chances are oftentimes stacke against them.

Last year, Hunter Greene, Alexis Diaz, and Dauri Moreta were part of the Cincinnati Reds Opening Day roster, but Matt McLain and Graham Ashcraft did not make the cut. Which two prospects have no shot at making the Opening Day roster and which top prospect is a shoo-in?

Connor Phillips has no shot to make the Reds Opening Day roster.

Connor Phillips went from relative obscurity in 2021 to, perhaps, the key acquisition in the trade with the Seattle Mariners last spring. Phillips was the player to be name later in the preseason trade that sent Jesse Winker and Eugenio Suarez to the Emerald City.

Phillips was the 64th overall selection in the 2020 MLB Draft and has done nothing but rack up the punch outs in the minors. Phillips has 261 strikeouts in just over 185 innings pitched over the past two seasons.

Unfortunately, Philips also has 112 walks in that same time span. That will have to be his primary focus in 2023 in order to eventually make it to the big leagues. If Phillips is unable to correct that aspect of his game, the idea of the right-hander will become a pipe dream.

Connor Phillips and Andrew Abbott both ended last season at Double-A Chattanooga. The pitching duo may begin the 2023 season back at Double-A despite being non-roster invitees to big league camp this spring. It'll be great for Phillips to get experience in the Cactus League, but he has no shot of making the Reds Opening Day roster.

Noelvi Marte has no shot to make the Reds Opening Day roster.

Noelvi Marte, much like Connor Phillips, was part of the Seattle Mariners organization at this time last year. Marte was part of midseason deal with the M's that sent Luis Castillo to Seattle. In return, the Redlegs received Marte, shortstop Edwin Arroyo, and pair of pitching prospects.

Marte was the big "get" of that trade, though Arroyo is a top talent as well. Marte, however, is closer to the big leagues. But the infielder is still a ways away from making his major league debut and has no shot of being part of the Cincinnati Reds Opening Day roster.

Marte, who's just 21 years old, has a good eye at the dish and is rather patient hitter. The Reds, however, are hoping that Marte can make the switch from shortstop to third base. That transition alone will be enough to keep Marte in the minors for most of, if not all, of the 2023 season.

Marte has played shortstop throughout all his professional career, but during the Arizona Fall League he switched to the hot corner. Cincinnati already has Jose Barrero, Elly De La Cruz, Matt McLain, and the aforementioned Arroyo battling to become the Reds next shortstop.

Noelvi Marte has a ton of talent. He posted a respectable 11.3% walk-rate and 20.6% strikeout-rate in 2023. The Reds will be hoping that Marte is able to maintain those numbers and up his slugging percentage just a little bit. According to FanGraphs, Marte posted a wRC+ of 131 last season. There's a lot to like, but the fanbase will need to be patient.

Spencer Steer is a shoo-in to make the Reds Opening Day roster.

Very few fans might consider Spencer Steer a prospect because he made his major league debut last season. But, the 25-year-old is still, for all intents and purposes, still a prospect and his rookie status is still intact.

Steer was acquired from the Minnesota Twins last summer. Along with Christian Encarncacion-Strand and Steve Hajjar, Steer was sent to Cincinnati in exchange for pitcher Tyler Mahle.

The Reds have made a few moves during the offseason that signal an opportunity for Steer. Cincy traded infielder Kyle Farmer to Minnesota. Farmer had playe third base over the second-half of last season after the club recalled Jose Barrero to play shortstop.

In addition to the departure of Farmer, Mike Moustakas was also cut loose this winter. By designating Moose for assignment, the Reds are essentially paying him $22M to play elsewhere in 2023. This was a signal that the club is done straddling the fence in terms of rebuilding the team, and is all-in.

Third base is wide open for the taking, and if Steer can play up to his potential, he should be the Cincinnati Reds Opening Day starter at the hot corner. Steer hit .259/.354/.479 at Triple-A last season after slashing .307/.385/.591 for Minnesota's Double-A affiliate.

If Spencer Steer struggles during spring training, the Reds could roll with Jason Vosler, Alejo Lopez, or Matt Reynolds at third base, but Steer would still likely break camp with the Reds and act as a bench bat. The University of Oregon product is a shoo-in to part of the Reds Opening Day roster.

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