2020 Reds

RC+ staff reactions to yesterday’s Reds roster choices

Our writers, plus a couple friends of the site, offer initial reactions to the 57-man roster the Reds announced yesterday. The Reds assigned 35 players to train at Great American Ball Park, the remaining 22 head to the Prasco Labs complex in Mason. July 23 is the target date for Opening Day.

Kyle Berger
  • After seeing an explanation of the rules, it makes sense that Derek Dietrich and Hunter Greene were left off for roster flexibility. Non-40 man roster players can only be removed from the 60 man squad if released. Both could be added later.
  • Of the 35 players training at GABP, I think the four non roster players, plus Justin Shafer and Alex Blandino will be sent out prior to Opening Day, with Aristides Aquino grabbing the last spot on the 30-man.
  • Among the players beginning at Prasco, Aquino, Jose De León, Christian Colón and Scott Schebler seem to be the only ones with any sort of chance at making the initial Opening Day roster.
  • Mark Payton seems a near lock to stick on the roster all year as a Rule 5 pick. Easy to hide him on the roster with expanded rosters at first and the universal DH for the whole season. Could then gain full control and option him in 2021.
Spenser Brown
  • Aristides Aquino being on the 22-man Prasco Lab roster likely indicates the Reds would have started him in Louisville had 2020 been a normal season. After his torrid August failed to carry over into September, his remaining options became appealing for 2020, as the logjam in the outfield would make it difficult to get regular at-bats. I think we will still see Aquino this year, especially with the DH now in the National League.
  • No 2020 draft picks were included in the 57-man roster released Sunday. While there are still three spots to be filled, it sounds unlikely any of these will be filled by a 2020 selection. With no minor league season, there was some intrigue whether the team may add some of these players to accelerate their development and get them with the organization sooner. We’ll likely have to wait until 2021 to see any of them take the field for a Reds affiliate.
  • The squad that eventually takes the field for the Reds will be cut down to 30, so the 35-man roster will see a few players sent back to Prasco Park. My knee-jerk reaction would be the four non-roster invites (Nate Jones, Sal Romano, Tyler Thornburg, Matt Davidson), and Alex Blandino. The club seemed encouraged by Kyle Farmer’s aptitude at shortstop, and having Josh VanMeter and Nick Senzel as additional utility players could see Blandino become excess goods on the 30-man roster.
Mike Burke (Pinson343)

Five players I liked seeing on the 60 man roster. All non-roster with one exception because he’s such a long shot. I’m most excited about prospects and power bats who possess skills that might help the Reds in 2020.

  • Jose Garcia is a shortstop with extreme defensive skill that can save a win when it’s late and close. And I’ve seen him throw.
  • Nick Lodolo has virtually no pro experience but has a major league slider and control. According to everyone, Lodolo has major league maturity and poise. Remember how Mike Leake did his first 3 months. And with a shortage of left-handed relievers …
  • Matt Davidson offers a power bat off the bench and depth at first base. He has hit for power at the major league level.
  • Some players hit better at the major league level. If the Reds start to run out of healthy bodies, let’s see what Jonathan India can do.
  • I’m in the school of thought that Scott Schebler was a major talent whose career — even his two productive seasons — has been destroyed by shoulder injuries. That short, powerful swing was a thing of beauty. Schebler’s 30 HRs in 2017 could have been 40+. In 2018 he improved his walk and line drive rates. If he regains that stroke, and if a whole lot of other ifs develop, he could be the most unexpected hero in what portends to be a season of unexpected heroes.
Nick Carrington
  • I’m surprised Aristides Aquino is not training with the big league club. I already thought he had an uphill climb to make the team, and even with a 28-man roster, he doesn’t seem likely to make the team without injuries and trades that open up spots.
  • The bullpen has more depth than they’ve had in a while. They could shorten a lot of games.
  • Mike Moustakas, Nick Castellanos, and Jesse Winker look like prime DH candidates with Joey Votto getting some time in that slot during grueling parts of the schedule.
  • Exciting to see talented young guys in the secondary camp: Tyler Stephenson, Jonathan India, and Jose Garcia all have potential to help this team soon.
  • The Reds will have a strong bench every night. When they need a good matchup in later innings, they can call upon some guys that can hit.
Benjamin Clarke (Gingersaurus Rex)
  • For those like me who were looking forward to seeing the impact of Kyle Boddy’s teachings in the Reds farm system this season, all is not lost! Eric Jagers, who worked under Boddy at Driveline prior to coming to the Reds this offseason, will likely oversee guys like Tejay Antone, José De León, Ryan Hendrix, Nick Lodolo, and Tony Santillan in 2020. In addition to Jagers, CJ Gillman was brought into the fold this offseason in an effort to help the Reds streamline Alan Zinter’s hitting philosophies throughout the organization. It will be interesting to see how some of the organization’s top position prospects like Tyler Stephenson, Jose Garcia and Jonathan India benefit from his tutelage.
  • At first thought, it seems a little weird that Boog Powell cracks the roster while guys like Derek Dietrich and Hunter Greene are left at home. You’re probably asking why the Reds would need an 11th outfielder on the roster, right? The Reds could view Powell as insurance in case they lose lefties Scott Schebler and Mark Payton before the season begins. Schebler is out of options and will need to clear waivers while Payton will need to be offered back to Oakland if they aren’t on the team’s Opening Day roster. Losing both would create some need for an additional lefty hitting outfielder who can play CF; see Boog Powell.
  • There’s still no proven option to play shortstop if Freddy Galvis goes down. While José Garcia may be the SS of the future, he’s still never played a game above High-A and the Reds usually aren’t interested in calling guys up who haven’t yet played in Double-A. The Reds spent big money on Alfredo Rodriguez and he hit well in ST, but the bat has never really improved enough to warrant a call up. Christian Colon has looked okay, but he’s played more 2B and 3B in his career than SS. It’s possible they pick up someone on waivers before Opening Day, but either way Reds fans should hope Galvis doesn’t go down.
Matt Habel
  • Not surprised that the Reds gave themselves some breathing room and did not assign a full 60 players right away. I imagine they will be waiting to see if anyone outside the organization would be worth bringing in/trading for (pre 8/31) and then will make the internal additions if nothing else materializes.
  • I personally am a supporter of the universal DH and think this roster has a lot of potential to maximize that position this year. It gives manager David Bell plenty of options to win games and keep players fresh with the condensed schedule.
  • Prospect wise, a bit of a reality check in regards to the farm system that has been drained in recent years. A lot riding on Jose Garcia, Nick Lodolo, Jonathan India and Tony Santillan. hopefully they can stay focused and continue to develop with all this change and uncertainty. And hopefully we don’t go all season without seeing Hunter Greene and/or Tyler Stephenson.
David Kelley
  • Surprised with the Reds leaving Tyler Stephenson off of the summer camp roster. With the expanded rosters, I thought this would be a great opportunity to get Stephenson up earlier than most expected this year – even if it is just playing DH some games.
  • Hunter Greene should be on the Mason roster. Come September, he could really come into games and be a difference maker if he can locate his fastball.
  • Love Derek Dietrich and what he did for Cincinnati last year, but don’t really see a spot for him on the team with Eugenio Suarez and Nick Senzel healthy now. Would much rather see them giving bats to Josh VanMeter and other young guys.
Matt Korte
  • The 2020 Reds roster was built as if they could utilize a DH, so having the universal DH this year due to the modified season will be a huge advantage. Jesse Winker and Nick Castellanos will both benefit greatly from this and make the crowded outfield a little less difficult to navigate for David Bell.
  • Mark Payton stands the most to gain from the expanded rosters in 2020. Even when Aristides Aquino seemed less and less likely to make the Major League squad, there didn’t seem to be space for Payton pre-pandemic. The Rule 5 selection should be able to see the field in the condensed season and get a chance to prove his AAA numbers were not a fluke.
  • I’m intrigued to see how Tyler Mahle is used in 2020. He will be next in line as soon as a starter goes down, but with the chance to start in the bullpen rather than the minors we could see Mahle settle into that role.
  • Even with Kyle Farmer and Alex Blandino on the GABP roster, I still don’t feel confident in the Reds shortstop depth. I would not be surprised if the Reds either make a move for one outside of the team, or give Alfredo Rodriguez a chance at some point during 2020.
Steve Mancuso
  • Looking at it all in one place, the Reds have a strong starting roster, solid across position players, deep starting rotation and bullpen. If they can stay reasonably healthy, COVID and otherwise …
  • The Reds say Hunter Greene isn’t on the list because he’s still in rehab. If, by mid-September, Greene can spot a 100+ mph fastball and throw a second pitch in the direction of home plate, he could definitely help the Reds in the postseason from the bullpen. Hard to see him not benefiting from working with Mason roster.
  • By Opening Day, the Reds have to cut at least five players from the 35 who will train at GABP. I expect most of those to be pitchers, of which there are 19 on the current roster. Hard to see them carrying more than 16, possibly just 15.
  • I thought José De León would be ahead of pitchers like Nate Jones, Tyler Thornburg and certainly Sal Romano. De León has experience starting. Could make an excellent long-reliever, which may be more in demand this season. The 40-man roster is still a thing. De León is on it. Jones, Thornburg and Romano aren’t.
Steven Ortlieb
  • I think the biggest loser, though unsurprisingly, is Tyler Stephenson with the mandate that one of the players on the taxi squad must be a catcher I thought there may be a chance that they list Kyle Farmer as an infielder and designate Stephenson the third catcher. Putting him on the Mason roster makes sense to get him more regular at-bats albeit in intersquad games. I think leaving Hunter Greene off of the roster is the right call in the end. He can continue his rehab out West where he’s comfortable.
  • I believe that Kyle Boddy is also staying in Arizona so, it’s totally speculative on my part, he and Greene could possibly form some sort of workout program together. And with 3 spots open on the Reds’ roster there is time to add Hunter later and use him as a potentially potent bullpen arm down the stretch.
Matt Wilkes
  • Scott Schebler’s placement on the secondary roster is pretty telling of his place in the organization. There’s no doubt Aristides Aquino, another secondary squad player, is higher on the pecking order as well. Schebler is a former 30-homer hitter and has value if he’s healthy, but the writing seems to be on the wall for him. Barring an injury or two, you have to think he’ll be designated for assignment since he’s out of options.
  • There’s been a lot of focus on Hunter Greene, but don’t underestimate Nick Lodolo. He’s viewed as a prospect who could move through the system quickly, which means he could find a role in the Reds’ bullpen at some point in the season.
  • Should be interesting to see what happens with Aquino. The expanded rosters and DH certainly would help out with the outfield logjam, but there are still a lot of mouths to feed and Mark Payton has a good chance to stick, at least compared to a normal Rule 5 pick. Aquino probably has the best chance of making the active roster among those on the secondary squad, but today’s roster announcement certainly showed where he stands for now.


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Brian Van Hook
9 months ago

Hey there, guys, this question is regarding service time. Players will be credited with the service time up to what they accrued last season, right? Where does that leave Payton?

If he is on the Reds’ active roster for the entire season — all two months of it — is he credited with a full season on the active roster, allowing the Reds to send him down to the minors next season if need be, without offering him back to Oakland ??

Steve Mancuso
9 months ago
Reply to  Brian Van Hook

I don’t know the answer for sure. But they did explicitly decrease the # of days a Rule 5 player has to be on the active roster (as opposed to the DL) from 90 games to the proportionate lower number. My semi-educated guess is if they keep him on the roster (and/or major league DL) all year, they can send Payton to the minors in 2021 without having to offer him back. Good question.