In John Fay’s Spring Training Preview he listed these 5 guys to watch for:
RHP Johnny Cueto: The 21-year-old could make the club out of spring training. There are people in the Reds baseball department who like him better than Homer Bailey. Cueto generally pitches at 90-93, but he can dial up a 96 mph fastball when he needs to.
OF Chris Dickerson: He’s nominally in the center-field race. His athleticism is top-notch – he’s Eric Dickerson’s cousin. But he struck out 131 times in 354 Triple-A at-bats last year.
RHP Josh Roenicke: He’s on the fast track. He was closing at Double-A last year, his second year in pro ball. His fastball touches 98 mph.
LHP Pedro Viola: His ERA was 0.95 at Chattanooga, 0.90 at Sarasota and 1.87 at Dayton last season.
SS Todd Frazier: Frazier was the No. 1 prospect in the Pioneer League. He’s always played at a high level, from Little League World Series hero to Rutgers All-American.
Frazier and Viola have not gotten a non-roster invite to spring training as of now and at this point I doubt it is likely to happen for either. Obviously Cueto is the stud of this grouping, but I think it will be interesting to see how Roenicke pitches in spring training against major league bats if he can stick around long enough before heading back to minor league camp. Dickerson is talked about having a chance to win the CF job, but I just don’t see it. Too much competition between a guy like Hopper or Freel who we know what they can do when healthy and then going up against the best prospect in baseball probably means Dickerson is heading back to Louisville for a little more seasoning. Like Roenicke though, I want to see how Dickerson does against proven Major Leaguers.
Pitchers and catchers report in 6 days (although plenty of guys are already there) and I know that at least I am getting excited. Its been too long since I have seen baseball, listened to baseball or actually had new baseball to talk about. I can’t wait.