Why Reds outfielder TJ Friedl could begin the 2023 season in the minor leagues

Cincinnati Reds outfielder TJ Friedl
Cincinnati Reds outfielder TJ Friedl / Dylan Buell/GettyImages

It seems a bit cray to even suggest this, but a scenario exists in which Cincinnati Reds outfielder TJ Friedl coul begin the 2023 season at Triple-A Louisville.

After struggling to begin his rookie season, Friedl returned midway through the 2022 season and was arguably the Reds best hitter over the second-half. Friedl rejoined the club in mid-August and, according to FanGraphs, hit .267/.354/.533 and had a wRC+ of 139.

But, don't be shocked if you Friedl's name among the final cuts prior to Opening Day despite the fact the 27-year-old has hit .300/.364/.475 this spring.

Reds OF TJ Friedl could begin the 2023 season at Triple-A Louisville.

If the Cincinnati Reds decide to option TJ Friedl to Triple-A rather than include him on the Opening Day roster, it would be more about roster flexibility and less about the outfielder's performance this spring.

Having seen Chad Pinder let go on Friday, the Reds roster is all but set. Jonathan India, Jose Barrero, Kevin Newman, Spencer Steer, Wil Myers, Will Benson, Jake Fraley, and the three catchers will all be headed north next week.

You'll notice that one name is absent from that list - Joey Votto. While the six-time All-Star has appeared in seven games this spring, questions persist about Votto's availability for Opening Day.

If Votto is unable to go, look for Jason Vosler to be named to the Cincinnati Reds 26-man roster. Vosler was a non-roster invitee who played for the San Francisco Giants in 2022. Vosler has hit just .212 this season, but the 29-year-old does have two home runs, a slugging percentage of .485, and is able to play both corner infield spots.

If Votto is unable to go on Opening Day, it's a virtual lock that Jason Vosler will be part of the Reds roster. Even if Votto is the Reds Opening Day first baseman, the team could still choose to add Vosler and fellow non-roster invitee Henry Ramos to the roster.

Both Vosler and Ramos have minor-league options remaining, but would need to be added to the 40-man roster first. TJ Friedl has done nothing to lose his spot on the Reds Opening Day roster, but Ramos has certainly played his way into the conversation.

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