by Matt Wilkes

Observations from the Reds’ first full-squad summer workout

As they ramp up toward Opening Day on July 23 or 24, the Reds held their first official workout of summer on Friday afternoon at Great American Ball Park. The workout was streamed on Twitter, and some members of the RC+ staff were able to watch. Here are some observations from Steve Mancuso, Spenser Brown, Matt Korte, and myself:

  • The squad was broken up into several groups based on position to stay complaint with social distancing guidelines.
  • We saw pitchers and catchers in the first two groups of players. All three catchers (Tucker Barnhart, Curt Casali, Kyle Farmer) on the 35-man GABP roster made appearances with the first group of pitchers. The only pitchers we didn’t notice — and the only players missing from the GABP roster at all — were Anthony DeSclafani, Tyler Mahle, Justin Shafer, and Pedro Strop. Note: This doesn’t mean they weren’t there — just that we did not see them in the live stream.
  • Infielders took the field in the next part of the workout. The starters (Joey Votto, Mike Moustakas, Eugenio Suarez, Freddy Galvis) were up first, followed by the potential backups (Alex Blandino, Josh VanMeter, Matt Davidson).
  • The outfielders (Jesse Winker, Phillip Ervin, Nick Castellanos, Mark Payton, Shogo Akiyama, and Nick Senzel) took the field while the second group of infielders did defensive work.
  • Blandino took reps at shortstop, while VanMeter and Davidson got in work at third base.
  • Sal Romano appeared to be using a lower arm angle and was throwing only from the stretch.
  • Cody Reed had a brace on his right knee, but otherwise looked healthy in his bullpen session. He sprained his right MCL last May and missed the remainder of the season.
  • There was certainly some rust to shake off for the infielders. Moustakas booted several backhanded grounders, as did Votto. Even the slick-fielding Galvis booted a ball.
  • Moustakas took some reps at first base.
  • Suarez, who had a shoulder injury during spring training, looked healthy, hitting a few head-turning bombs into the seats.
  • Ervin, Senzel, and Akiyama all shagged fly balls in center field.
  • Shogo Akiyama hit solid line drives on all the pitches he saw, minus one that he took.
  • There were a few long looks at balls crushed by Winker, Castellanos, and Senzel.
  • Senzel is back to his old batting stance and his bat speed was quick. His shoulder seemed healthy, and he told reporters before his workout that he’s “good to go” and feels comfortable throwing again.
  • Blandino took a lot of pitches even in batting practice. He swung at just 29.9% of the pitches he saw last year.
  • Payton looked like a pure hitter, and his lefty power could certainly play at GABP.
  • Strong round of BP from Ervin, who hit a lot of line drives.
  • In some fun moments, Casali — a right-handed hitter — took some swings from the left side, and Moustakas — a lefty — hit a home run from the right side.

Matt Wilkes got hooked on Reds baseball after attending his first game in Cinergy Field at 6 years old, and he hasn’t looked back. As a kid, he was often found imitating his favorite players — Ken Griffey Jr., Adam Dunn, Sean Casey, and Austin Kearns — in the backyard. When he finally went inside, he was leading the Reds to 162-0 seasons in MVP Baseball 2005 or keeping stats for whatever game was on TV. He started writing about baseball in 2014 and has become fascinated by analytics and all the new data in the game. Matt is also a graduate of The Ohio State University and currently lives in Columbus. Follow him on Twitter at @_MattWilkes.

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