Why the Reds should sneak Ivan Johnson onto the 40-man roster

Cincinnati Reds prospect Ivan Johnson throws the ball.
Cincinnati Reds prospect Ivan Johnson throws the ball. / Nigel Cook/News-Journal via Imagn

When you look at the huge number of Cincinnati Reds prospects who will need to be added to the team's 40-man roster in order to be protected from the Rule 5 Draft, some obvious names stick out.

Elly De La Cruz is the Reds' top prospect and will undoubtedly be added to the 40-man roster in the coming weeks. Brandon Williamson and Levi Stoudt, both of whom were traded from Seattle to Cincinnati this past year will surely be added as well.

But Ivan Johnson is not a name that will be familiar to many fans throughout Reds Country. However, the former fourth-round draft pick could sneak onto Cincinnati's 40-man roster this offseason.

Why the Reds should sneak Ivan Johnson onto the 40-man roster.

When you take a serious look at the Cincinnati Reds offseason, you'll see approximately 25 names that will unquestionably be part of the team in 2023. These names include the likes of Jonathan India, Hunter Greene, and Joey Votto.

Then there's a group of players that are on the edge of retaining their roster spot and being non-tendered or released shortly after the World Series concludes. Nick Senzel, Matt Reynolds, and Derek Law are among those in that camp.

And then there's the young, up-and-coming prospects like the aforementioned De La Cruz, along with players like Noelvi Marte and TJ Hopkins who will be added to the roster as well. But it's players like Ivan Johnson who'll be of great intrigue when these upcoming roster decisions are to be made.

Johnson was limited to just 50 games and fewer than 200 at-bats in 2022. The results were not as impressive as season's past with the switch-hitting infielder slashing .261/.325/.428 while playing for the Chattanooga Lookouts.

A wrist and shoulder injury slowed Ivan Johnson's 2022 season, but his future is still rather bright if the 24-year-old can return to the .267/.354/.451 performance from 2021 that showcased his talent, then the Cincinnati Reds may be very happy that he was added to the team's 40-man roster.

The injuries and presence of so many talented infield prospects on the Reds roster certainly make Johnson's ascension through the minor leagues more difficult, but leaving him off the 40-man roster and unprotected is a risk, and one the rebuilding Reds can't take.

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