Will Matt Reynolds' injury force Reds prospect Spencer Steer into the lineup?

Cincinnati Reds shortstop Matt Reynolds (4) throws to first base.
Cincinnati Reds shortstop Matt Reynolds (4) throws to first base. / Kareem Elgazzar/The Enquirer / USA TODAY

Matt Reynolds, who has been one of David Bell's most valuable bench pieces in 2022, filled in for Jose Barrero at shortstop on Sunday. But Barrero replaced the 31-year-old in the bottom of the seventh inning.

It was revealed after the game, courtesy of the Cincinnati Enquirer's Bobby Nightengale, that Reynolds left due to hip soreness, an injury that he'd been dealing with for the past few days.

Of course, this may be an injury that the veteran infielder can play through, especially considering Reynolds serves as more of a reserve off the bench. But, if a stint on the 10-day IL is in Reynolds future, perhaps the Cincinnati Reds will select the contract of Spencer Steer.

Will Matt Reynolds' injury force the Reds to promote Spencer Steer to the major leagues?

Matt Reynolds has been the consummate professional during his first season in Cincinnati. A former second-round pick of the New York Mets in 2012, Reynolds has been a Swiss Army knife for Reds manager David Bell this season. Reynolds has played all four infield positions, seen time in the outfield, and even pitched in two games this season.

Steer is slashing .311/.391/.525 with three home runs and nine RBIs in 15 games with the Louisville Bats. According to FanGraphs, Steer's wRC+ is currently sitting a 145. He also has also reached base safely in 31 consecutive games. With those numbers, the Reds may have no choice but to call up Steer if Reynolds does indeed hit the IL.

Steer will need to be added to the 40-man roster in the next few months anyway in order to protect him from the Rule 5 Draft. Including the time he spent in Minnesota's minor league system, Steer has now amassed 63 games at the Triple-A level with a walk-rate of 11.0% and an .850 OPS. There's little more that Spencer Steer needs to prove in the minor leagues.

The only hesitation the Cincinnati Reds may have with elevating Spencer Steer to the big leagues may be the amount of available playing time. Even with Joey Votto out for the rest of the season, the Reds infield is pretty well set with Mike Moustakas at first base, Jonathan India manning second base, Jose Barrero at shortstop, and Kyle Farmer at the hot corner.

There's also the skilled bat of Donovan Solano who, like Steer, has the ability to field all four infield spots. Both Solano and Steer are also right-handed hitters, so the idea of platooning the duo based on the pitching matchup can be thrown out the window.

If Spencer Steer is not going to get regular at-bats in the major leagues, the Cincinnati Reds brass may prefer to keep the infielder at Triple-A until a spot in the everyday lineup becomes available. Still, at some point, Steer needs to be given the opportunity to showcase his talents, and at this point, what do the Reds have to lose except more games?

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