As the cactus league winds down it's time to project who's in and who's
out on the Reds opening day roster.
There were not a lot of roster questions coming into Spring Training. The two biggest among the position players were who would be the 6th infielder and who would be the backup catcher. Both of those questions have pretty much been answered.
Devon Mesoraco has been not only the biggest surprise in camp but also the most productive player period. Meanwhile, Miguel Olivo had some early success at the plate but has struggled since and he's not on the 40 man roster. It's a no brainer, Mesoraco stays.
All three of those fighting for the backup infield job have played well. Cesar Izturis is hitting .300 and plays good defense. Emmanuel Burris is batting around .265 and can run. He has 5 stolen bases on the spring. Jason Donald meanwhile is hitting .323 and has walked 6 times. Donald is already on the 40 man roster so he has the edge for this job.
There are also a few decisions to be made in the bullpen. Assuming Chapman closes, he's a lock along with Jonathan Broxton, Sean Marshall, and Sam LeCure. That leaves Jose Arredondo, Alfredo Simon, Manny Parra, Logan Ondrusek, and J.J. Hoover vying for 3 spots. Arredondo is out of options so he probably stays. Manny Parra is left handed which will play in his favor. Alfredo Simon is used to pitching in long relief so I think he makes it. Logan Ondrusek is having a so so spring so it wouldn't be shocking if he is sent down. J.J. Hoover on the other hand has been outstanding. Last night he struck out all four hitters he faced.
Here's what I think the roster will look like come opening day.
Starting Pitchers (5) Bullpen (7)
Johnny Cueto Aroldis Chapman
Mat Latos Jonathan Broxton
Bronson Arroyo Sean Marshall
Homer Bailey Jose Arredondo
Mike Leake Alfredo Simon
Catchers (2) Infielder (6)
Ryan Hanigan Joey Votto
Devin Mesoraco Brandon Phillips
Then again I could be completely wrong especially about the pitching. J.J. Hoover could make the team. And with opening day still almost 2 weeks away don't discount the possiblity of a trade.
Bronson is Bronson
Colorado's Dexter Fowler started the Rockies half of the first inning by hitting a ball to deep center field that might still be going. That was Bronson Arroyo's real mistake. He went on to pitch 5.2 innings of 5 hit baseball with a strikeout and a couple of walks. There were a few times when it looked like he was in trouble but that's when Arroyo did his thing. With two on a one out in the 3rd he coaxed Charlie Blackmon to ground into a double play. He did they same thing in the 4th after Todd Helton walked to start the inning. In the 5th with runners on 2nd and 3rd with one out he managed a ground out and a strikeout to get out of the jam. Arroyo also doubled and drove in the Reds first run.
Hoover is Rolling
J.J. Hoover relieved Arroyo in the 6th with 2 out and a runner on first. He promptly struck out Tyler Colvin. He then struck out the side in the 7th. Maybe they can't keep him off the opening day roster.
Maybe the third time is a charm
In his first two at bats against lefty Jorge De La Rosa Jay Bruce struck out. Things got better when another lefty Christian Friedrich faced him in the 6th. Bruce pounded a solo home run to right for the Reds third run on the night.
Billy Hamilton takes off earlier this spring
Hamilton Lets loose
Centerfielder Billy Hamilton showed off his speed last night. He led off the 7th with gap shot to right center. The ball was cut off before it ever rolled to the warning track but by then it was too late. Hamilton had an easy triple.
Opening day tickets on sale
1,500 Opening Day tickets will go on sale Saturday at 9am at Great American Ball Park ticket windows. There are just 1,000 View Level tickets ($32) and 500 Standing room only tickets ($20) available. Linit 4 per person.