It is time for the weekly Cincinnati Reds update. Thankfully, wins and losses do not matter at all for the Reds in spring training. This week’s update includes the inevitable injury bug, waiver moves, and profiling three of the Reds hottest hitters this spring to date.
The Injuries Begin
Just as Reds fandom was starting to get excited for the beginning of season, injuries have started to hit the team. Anthony DeSclafani was hit with an oblique strain on March 11. According to Reds beat reporter John Fay, there is no timetable for DeSclafani’s return.
Unfortunately, that may be signaling the beginning of the end of a once promising career. DeSclafani was diagnosed in 2017 with a sprained UCL, followed by tendinitis to knock him out the rest of 2017. In 2016, he was hit with a strained oblique that knocked him out for half of the season.
As soon as the news released, Brandon Finnegan left the game with an arm injury. Finnegan has since quelled any rumors of lasting injury, saying it was just precautionary and nothing serious.
Finnegan would serve a better role in the bullpen with that wicked sinker. It would protect his arm more and he could be an elite lefty option to go with Michael Lorenzen and Raisel Iglesias. Regardless, Finnegan’s situation will be worth monitoring as the regular season looms.
Waiver Wire Fun
Dilson Herrera survived waivers before being sent down to minor league camp. He is staying as a non-roster invitee in the major league camp for the time being. The shoulder injuries that have plagued Herrera for the past season and a half must have scared away any potential waiver claims.
The Reds have been very aggressive on the waiver wire the past couple of springs. In 2016, the Reds claimed Dan Straily off waivers after the Padres designated him for assignment. Straily went on to throw 191 1/3 innings for the Reds that season, maintaining a 3.76 ERA and accumulating a 4.3 WAR. He was moved in the 2017 offseason for Reds future ace Luis Castillo.
In 2017, the Reds made another waiver claim, snagging Scooter Gennett from the Brewers. Gennett had a very productive 2017 season, hitting .295 with 27 home runs. Gennett will not be a free agent until 2020, giving the Reds another power hitter in a premium position for the next two seasons.
The Reds have not been shy about putting in waiver claims with rather successful results. Keep an eye out over the next week or two as teams start trimming down their spring training rosters.
Let the Outfielders and Tucker Rake
Jesse Winker has done everything Reds fandom could hope for. In 28 at-bats, Winker has a .357/.424/.607 slash line. Winker has shown some power too, with four doubles and a home run in his limited at bats.
Billy Hamilton’s slump (3-for-26) may see Winker lead off for the Reds on Opening Day to give Joey Votto somebody to knock in. Winker, Eugenio Suarez and Votto should be making Reds fans excited for the top part of their lineup.
Winker is not even the hottest hitter in the outfield either. That title belongs to Scott Schebler. Schebler is slashing .500/.531/.893 in 28 at-bats this spring.
Wick Terrell of Red Reporter wrote a very good article analyzing Schebler’s 2017 season. Schebler’s 2017 final stat line was hurt by one very bad month where he tried playing through a shoulder injury. He very well could be a .260 hitter with 30 home runs and double-digit steals if healthy this season.
Tucker Barnhart is also putting together a heck of a spring training. In 23 at-bats, Barnhart is slashing .435/.480/.957 and leading the team with four home runs. The man is already elite defensively, but if he puts together a decent offensive season to boot, you may hear his name start to circulate amongst the top catchers in baseball.
One must remember to take all spring training stats with a grain of salt. The last week or two of spring will give Reds fans something to look forward to as the battle for the last rotation spot (or two with DeSclafani’s injury) looms ever closer.
Make sure to tune in next week as I write my final spring training piece for the Reds. 13 days until opening day!
Featured image from David Banks of USA Today Sports
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