CINCINNATI -- This is Part 2 of a series previewing the Reds for the 2016 season, which gets underway next week when pitchers and catchers report to the team's complex in Goodyear, Ariz., with the first workout on Feb. 18. The series began Tuesday with a look at the team's bounce-back candidates. The focus of the second installment is "The New Guys."
Understandably this offseason, there has been more focus on a couple of popular players who departed the Reds in Todd Frazier and Aroldis Chapman. And unlike recent seasons when Cincinnati took aim at winning the National League Central, there has not been a big or even a medium-name acquisition. But there still are some new players to get to know:
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2B Jose Peraza: He was traded twice within six months last year, including to the Reds in the three-team deal that sent Frazier to the White Sox in December. That shouldn't be seen as a negative, as it underscores how organizations value Peraza's talent. Set to turn 22 on April 30, Peraza is a .302/.342/.387 hitter in five Minor League seasons and is known for a plus glove (he was No. 71 on MLBPipeline.com's Top 100 Prospects list). Last season, he batted .293 with 33 steals in the Minors and made his first appearance in the big leagues for the Dodgers. With the Reds, Peraza currently lacks a clear spot for playing time at the big league level. Brandon Phillips did not accept a trade and remains at second base. Peraza could fill in there, or at shortstop and center field. To get regular at-bats, Triple-A Louisville could be his best option for now.
OF Scott Schebler: Also acquired in the Frazier trade, Schebler did well last season as a first-timer in both Triple-A and the Majors. He batted .241/.322/.410 with 13 homers, 50 RBIs and 15 steals in 121 games at Triple-A Oklahoma City, and he batted .250/.325/.500 with three homers in 19 big league games for the Dodgers. A left-handed bat, Schebler is in the mix of candidates for the spot in left field.
RHP Blake Wood: Once a prospect for the Royals, Wood has been trying to re-establish himself since undergoing Tommy John surgery in 2012. He has a 4.39 career ERA in the Majors from 2010-14 with the Royals and Indians. Wood spent the 2015 season at the Pirates' Triple-A Indianapolis affiliate. In 57 appearances, Wood had an International League-leading 29 saves, 46 games finished and a 10.74 strikeouts-per-nine innings ratio.
RHP Rookie Davis: One of four Minor Leaguers acquired from the Yankees in the Chapman trade, Davis is a power right-handed starter who will try to work his way to the forefront in the battle for a rotation spot. He likely needs more development time after splitting 2015 in Class A Advanced (19 games) and Double-A (six games). The 22-year-old finished with a combined 3.86 ERA, 129 strikeouts and a 1.21 WHIP over 130 2/3 innings.
OF Jake Cave and LHP Chris O'Grady: Both are Rule 5 players, which means they have to stay on the 25-man roster all season or be offered to their old clubs for $25,000. Cave is a 23-year-old left-handed-hitting outfielder from the Yankees' system who can play all three spots in the outfield. He lacks power but batted .285/.346/.391 in four Minor League seasons and reached Triple-A in 2015. O'Grady, who turns 26 on April 17, is a command pitcher without power stuff. The Reds do not view the reliever as a lefty specialist, but instead as someone who can get hitters out on both sides of the plate.
LHP Jonathan Sanchez: A non-roster invitee, Sanchez previously pitched for the Giants, Royals, Rockies and Pirates, but he has not been in the Majors since 2013. His manager in Puerto Rico winter ball this year was Double-A Pensacola manager Pat Kelly, who provided positive reports about the 33-year-old. Sanchez, who threw a no-hitter for the Giants in 2009, could be a candidate for either the rotation or bullpen.
Pitching coach Mark Riggins: Brought in to replace Jeff Pico, who was let go after two seasons, Riggins has been the Reds' Minor League pitching coordinator for the past four seasons. While there is a roster full of inexperienced pitchers, the 59-year-old is familiar or already worked with most of them. Once a pitching coach for the Cardinals (1995) and Cubs (2011), Riggins will be tasked with helping a large crop of young pitchers realize their potential at the Major League level.