Which left-handed reliever has the best chance to join Reiver Sanmartin the Reds bullpen?

Cincinnati Reds pitcher Alex Young
Cincinnati Reds pitcher Alex Young / Sam Greene / USA TODAY NETWORK

The Cincinnati Reds have made no bones about it, they'd like to add another left-handed reliever to the bullpen before the 2023 season begins.

Until Wednesday's acquisition of former Chicago White Sox pitcher Bennett Sousa, the Reds only left-handed reliever on the 40-man roster was Reiver Sanmartin.

But just because Sousa landed on the 40-man roster does not automatically give him a leg up on the competition. Let's look at the three southpaws who'll be competing for a spot in the Cincinnati Reds bullpen.

Which LHP has the best chance to join Reiver Sanmartin the Reds bullpen?

Since his name has already come up, let's begin with Bennett Sousa. The Florida native appeared in 25 games during his rookie year with the Chicago White Sox last season. Sousa posted a 3-0 record, but struggled to really get opposing batters out.

Sousa recorded 12 punch outs but also had 10 walks in just over 20 innings of work with the White Sox. But Sousa has a very respectable 2.78 ERA in five minor league seasons with 11.4 strikeouts per nine innings. According to FanGraphs, Sousa had a 30.2% strikeouts-rate in Triple-A last season.

The Reds also have two non-roster invitees in spring training. Former San Francisco Giants reliever Alex Young and longtime Detroit Tigers lefty Daniel Norris will also be in Goodyear looking to secure a spot on the Cincinnati Reds Opening Day roster.

Young posted a very nice 2.36 ERA in 25 games with the Giants in 2022. While his 11 free passes through 26.2 innings are a bit more than most coaches will want to see, the southpaw was able to keep the ball in the ballpark and didn't allow a home run all season. Of course, that's a lot easier to do when half your games are in the pitcher-friendly confines of Oracle Park.

Norris has been in the big leagues for quite some time. The lefty was a highly-rated prospect within the Toronto Blue Jays back in 2012. His best performance came back in the pandemic-shortened season of 2020 when he posted a 3.25 ERA. Last season, after re-signing with the Tigers following a stint with the Chicago Cubs, Norris appeared in 14 games and struck out 23 batters.

One of these three pitcher will undoubtedly join Reiver Sanmartin in the Cincinnati Reds bullpen next season. Based on previous performance, Alex Young might have the inside track, but he'll have to show it in Cactus League contests over the next few weeks.

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