GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- With Tuesday being the first of two off-days for the Reds at Spring Training, this seems like as good of a time as any to revisit MLB.com's 25-man Opening Day roster predictions from the start of camp.Since pitchers and catchers reported, there have been cuts, injuries and
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- With Tuesday being the first of two off-days for the Reds at Spring Training, this seems like as good of a time as any to revisit MLB.com's 25-man Opening Day roster predictions from the start of camp.
Since pitchers and catchers reported, there have been cuts, injuries and additions via free-agent signings that could shake up Cincinnati's roster when it opens the season on March 29 vs. the Nationals at Great American Ball Park.
A couple of caveats before moving forward: Because of early off-days on the schedule in the regular season, the club could officially carry four starting pitchers and manipulate its roster to have an extra reliever or bench player for the first few games. And, of course, more additions are possible via waiver claims, which happened near the end of the last two springs.
Without further ado ...
The everyday eight: Catcher Tucker Barnhart, first baseman Joey Votto, second baseman Scooter Gennett, shortstop Jose Peraza, third baseman Eugenio Suarez, left fielder Adam Duvall, center fielder Billy Hamilton, right fielder Scott Schebler
Nothing has changed here to this point. This was the prediction going in, and it remains the same.
Rotation, first prediction:Anthony DeSclafani, Homer Bailey, Brandon Finnegan, Luis Castillo, Sal Romano
Rotation, new prediction: Bailey, Finnegan, Castillo, Romano, Tyler Mahle
What changed? The first prediction looked solid until a tumultuous Sunday. Manager Bryan Price revealed that DeSclafani, who missed all of 2017 with a right elbow injury, strained his left oblique during his start on Saturday. It's the same injury that DeSclafani endured in Spring Training 2016, one that kept him out until late June. A couple of hours after Price's revelation, Finnegan sustained left forearm spasms in the first inning of his start, then exited. Finnegan is expected to be OK, but he will have to play catch-up to get his innings in after a late start to Cactus League games. He was limited to four starts last season because of left shoulder issues.
Romano has looked good to this point in his battle for the fifth rotation spot after entering camp on the inside track. Mahle has been impressive as well, earning raves for his fastball command.
Bullpen, first prediction:Raisel Iglesias, Jared Hughes, David Hernandez, Wandy Peralta, Michael Lorenzen, Vance Worley, Ariel Hernandez
Bullpen, new prediction: Iglesias, Hughes, D. Hernandez, Peralta, Lorenzen, Kevin Shackelford, Amir Garrett
What changed? Ariel Hernandez was cut on Friday after not looking good in his one Cactus League game and other non-league games. Worley, a non-roster invite, gave up runs in each of his outings -- including five runs on six hits in 1 1/3 innings during his first appearance. Garrett has pitched sensationally thus far -- including 10 strikeouts over his first five innings. He's also on the 40-man roster and would give the Reds three lefties. Although he wouldn't have the same type of role, Garrett could take away a spot from Oliver Perez. Cincinnati signed Perez on Feb. 24 to be a situational lefty, but he hasn't pitched well to this point. Shackelford has the benefit of being on the 40-man roster, and he's versatile. Lorenzen is still making a bid for the rotation, and he had a strong outing on Sunday to help his cause, but he would return to the bullpen if he doesn't crack the starting five.
Bench, first prediction: Catcher Devin Mesoraco, outfielder Jesse Winker, second baseman Dilson Herrera, utility players Phil Gosselin and Patrick Kivlehan
Bench, new prediction: Mesoraco, Winker, infielder Cliff Pennington, outfielder Ben Revere, Gosselin
What changed? Pennington was signed to a Minor League deal on Feb. 15 to back up Peraza at shortstop, and Revere was added on Feb. 26, also via a Minor League contract, to compete for a spot as the fifth outfielder and lefty pinch-hitter. Gosselin and Kivlehan are similar players with pinch-hitting backgrounds, but Gosselin has outhit Kivlehan in camp, and he has more experience. Herrera, who is out of Minor League options and is still nagged by right shoulder problems, was sent outright to Triple-A Louisville on Tuesday, but he will remain in the Reds' Major League camp for now as a non-roster invitee.
With the Herrera move, Cincinnati has two open spots on its 40-man roster. For this prediction to work out, three players need to be added in Pennington, Revere and Gosselin. While moving Herrera out created a second opening, one more guy will have to come off the 40-man roster.
Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast.