These are usually saved for Wednesdays, but I’m pretty excited about getting to watch some real life, practice baseball games and they start today in Goodyear. I’m going to be around all afternoon/evening so it seemed like a great time to bring this back out. Between now and 8pm (ET) if you leave a question in the comments section, I will do my best to answer it. Once you leave your question, I will get to it by editing this page, adding it to the article, then deleting it from the comments section. There are only a few rules:

  • Avoid questions with overly long answers. If you’ve been around here before, you know that I can go on forever.
  • Avoid questions that will require actual time to look up an answer for (example: Who was the last Reds minor leaguer to strike out 180 batters in a season).
  • If you’ve got multiple questions, that’s fine. But try to limit it to two per submission. You can ask more than two questions today, but don’t drop six at a time.
  • That’s about it. Get to it.

Brandon: Chances (in %) that Jake Cave and Chris O’Grady break camp on the 25-man roster going into today’s game?

I would say that the chances for Cave are about 25% and maybe 10% for O’Grady. Cave has some competition in the outfield, for sure, but some outfielders he’s competing with have options as well. O’Grady on the flip side is going up against so many guys that he’s going to have to put up a very, very big spring to stick around. While the bullpen is uncertain, the options to fill it are seemingly endless.

Bill: 1. Most agree starting pitching is the strength of our minor league system. Which position would you focus on to strengthen in future trades?

2. Which starting pitcher outside of Iglesias and DeSclafani do you think is most likely to become a rotation fixture this year?

You can never have too many shortstops. It’s not a particularly strong position on the farm either. With that said, I wouldn’t go around targeting it either. If you are making a trade and the other team has a shortstop you like, then go for it, but I wouldn’t accept a shortstop just because it’s a weak spot on the farm either.

I think we will see Robert Stephenson take a spot before the season is over and not give it back, though I think that’s probably something we see in June/July instead of early on in the season. Obviously, Homer Bailey has his spot locked in once he returns.

rgslone: I don’t fully understand the Yorman Rodriguez contract situation. Is there any scenario where Yorman Rodriguez could be assigned to AAA at any point this season (or even a future season) without placing him through waivers and possibly losing the rights to him?

Unless he is on a rehab assignment, no, he can not be sent to the minor leagues at any point moving forward in his career without being exposed to waivers. He has used up all three of his option years. This is one of the side effects of signing at 16-years-old and being pushed. You start using your options sooner because you are at higher levels and teams may take you in the Rule 5, so you can’t leave a guy unprotected to try and gain that extra year.

cam: 1. Which non-roster guys do you think have best chance to break camp in the Reds’ bullpen?
2. Out of all of the starting prospects, which guys do you see eventually settling into the bullpen? Not necessarily this year but who is the best built for those roles

I’d say that Zack Weiss is the guy with the best chance. He’s put up dominant numbers, and while he doesn’t have Triple-A experience, I don’t think that’s going against him here. He’s got the best stuff of any of the non-roster guys and that certainly plays into his favor. After him the guy that intrigues me is Tim Melville. His 2015 season wasn’t exactly strong, but if whatever he figured out down the stretch was real, he could be onto something.

I could see Amir Garrett and Sal Romano winding up in the bullpen. Both guys need more work on their third pitch, both guys can bring the heat and could play well out of the bullpen. I doubt we see either do anything like that this season, unless it’s in a September call-up kind of scenario. I believe the Reds want them both starting, but when push comes to shove there are only five spots available and it seems that for the next few years at least three of them are spoken for with DeSclafani, Iglesias and Bailey. Among my top five pitching prospects, those two need more work on their third pitch than the other three, which is why I’d pick them. That could certainly change if/when they improve upon that. I will also add that I think that Keury Mella is going to wind up in the bullpen. The mechanics just don’t look like they will hold up for 185 innings to me.

DHud: Doug, the wife and I are moving to Destin, FL this month and I’m looking forward to seeing lots of Blue Wahoos games!

1) Besides the obvious names who are projected to be in Pensacola, who are 1 or 2 sleeper prospects I should be watching this season?
2) What’s the ballpark food scene like at Blue Wahoos Stadium?
3) Better experience: Saturday night or Sunday afternoon games?

That team is going to be loaded with starting pitching and they should all be big names. I think the guy who could wind up there who could take a step forward some is Calten Daal. He’s not going to wow you with his bat, but he could be a solid average, good defense, good base runner type of guy. Not sure if Taylor Sparks will make the jump to Double-A to start the season or not, but if he does, he could be an interesting guy to follow. Loud tools, still working on some of the skills.

There are a lot of food options in Pensacola. I’m usually a burger kind of guy, so I tend to stick with that if I’m eating at the stadium, but they have more than their fair share of options.

In Pensacola? Depends on the time of year, I’d imagine. Night games in the heat seem better than day games in the heat, that’s for sure. As a photographer, I prefer the sun being out because it makes for better pictures.

Kyle J: 1. If Lorenzen and/or Finnegan get moved to the bullpen, how long until one of them is the Reds closer?

2. With Reed likely to start the season in AA and Rookie, Garret, Romano, Mella, Travieso, and Astin all ready for AA, who are the odd men out. Do they go to the pen, or start out in HiA?

3. Do Jagielo start in AAA or AA?

I think that the closers job is going to go through both Hoover and Jumbo Diaz before anyone else would get a shot at it.

Despite what Walt Jocketty said on the Caravan tour, I fully expect Cody Reed to begin in Triple-A. The Double-A rotation, in my opinion will be: Garrett, Romano, Nick Travieso, Keury Mella and Rookie Davis. Astin will go to the bullpen. Jackson Stephens is the tough call. Does he repeat in Daytona or move to the Double-A bullpen?

At this point I’m expecting Eric Jagielo to begin the year in Double-A with Pensacola. I could see it going either way for him, but I think with his defensive shortcomings that letting him focus more on that in an environment where he’s had success with the bat already could let him focus a little more where he needs the most work.

Jeremy C: 1. In regards to the draft, how long into the college baseball and high school seasons does it take for the top guys to really start differentiating themselves from the pack and we start to narrow down the list of potential Reds options at #2?
2. Do you foresee any Reds players in the rookie of the year conversations?

I think we will probably be narrowing things down by early/mid May. It could happen sooner depending on just how things work out though.

I’d think that you could see one of the starters contend if they stick around all season (John Lamb, Jon Moscot). I’d be more surprised if someone like Scott Schebler, Yorman Rodriguez or Jake Cave made a real run at things simply because I can’t see them getting a full seasons worth of playing time. Dark horse: Zack Weiss if he makes the bullpen out of the spring or comes up before mid-May. He could get 50+ innings and I think he will perform well.

Norwood Nate: Let’s say one of YRod, Schebler, or Duvall start in LF and the bench is populated by Barnhart, DeJesus, and the other two guys that don’t start in LF. There’s one more bench spot open. Who do you give it to?

Who would you pick to start off as the closer for this year? And does Weiss have much of a shot to take over that role at some point this season?

 I’m not entirely sure that I would dismiss Cave in favor of Schebler at this point. It depends on how other guys look in center. Maybe Schebler goes back to Triple-A to start the year and Cave or Holt take one of those backup spots as a center fielder type of sorts. Ideally though, I’d like to see another infielder on the roster. De Jesus is really the only back up infielder on that bench. Duvall has some time at third, but he’s not known to be much of a fielder. The issue is, the only other guy to even consider would be Jose Peraza. I can’t imagine them using him as a super-sub kind of guy, though if I were running the team I’d at least consider it. Get him some time at 2B/SS/CF 4-5 days a week, rotating him in and giving Hamilton/Phillips/Cozart a day off here and there.

To start the year I would go with Diaz. Low walk rate, good strikeout rate. No free passes is a key to being a closer, unless you can be Chapman and strike out 17 batters per 9 innings pitched. Hoover is likely to get the role, but he’s handing out too many walks for my taste in that role. I’m confident that Weiss gets to the big leagues this year, but I’m less confident that he gets a real shot at closing games out at the big league level this year.

The Duke: 1) Billy Hamilton had a .264 BABIP last year which seems incredibly low given his speed, and his K rate was a respectable 16.5%. Is he primed for a bounce back year offensively?

2) Will the Reds send one of Finnegan or Lorenzen to the bullpen when both Lamb and Bailey are back, or will they send one back to AAA to keep starting? I assume Moscot we’ll have the shortest leash and get yanked first.

That is a tough question to answer. Hamilton’s speed should suggest a higher BABIP, but the guy put the ball in the air a whole heck of a lot and without any power, that shortens the field big time. That hurts his BABIP. Toss in that he’s also coming off of shoulder surgery and has one of the lowest exit velocity rates in the game already and we could see a whole lot of very weak contact, which will again lower his BABIP. I’m not saying it’s impossible, but I think that the way things look, I’m skeptical there’s a bounce back of any real sort coming.

I think it will depend on not only how they are all performing, but also how the bullpen is performing at the time. If the guy is throwing strikes, I could see either being shifted into the bullpen upon the return of one of those guys. If they aren’t, then I’d imagine they are going to head to Louisville to work on controlling the zone better.

RFM: Who is going to win today? Reds or Indians? How do they decide which team is the home team in Goodyear?

The Reds are going to win, of course. I’m honestly not sure how they decide the home team in that scenario. Flip a coin?

madoffjc: How do you see the left field situation playing out and who do they go with at the end of spring training?

What does your starting bullpen look like at the end of spring training?

I think there will be a platoon in left field to start the season. I’d be surprised if it didn’t include Adam Duvall as one part of it. The other guy is probably more up for grabs. I’d wager on it being Yorman Rodriguez, but if Jay Bruce is moved, he’s probably the guy they put in right. I don’t think they will give the outright job to any one player.

Hoover, Diaz, Cingrani, Wood, Cotham, Sampson and Contreras (out of options – short leash,but if he has an ok spring I think he gets a spot).

Brennan: 1 safe to say Bruce is a Red to start the season now?
2 with a hot spring could Waldrop earn a bench spot? He isn’t mentioned much for it.
3 when lamb and bailey return who is the AAA rotation? Sanchez, Moscot, Stephenson, reed, and one of Lorenzen/Finnegan?

I’m not wiling to say that just yet with Bruce. Ask me again in a week and I will feel safer about it, but I still think there’s a chance he could be moved.

Possible, but I’d say it’s unlikely simply because of how he performed in Triple-A last year combined with the fact that he’s got options and other guys simply don’t.

Sanchez, Stephenson and Reed are the ones I feel comfortable with at this point. Moscot/Lorenzen/Finnegan/Lamb could all wind up back in Louisville depending on how things are going in the big leagues.

Greg: Unless the Reds are convinced that Peraza can’t handle SS at MLB level – IOM – he should go to AAA and work there every day.
Puts off service time and possibly increases value.
Other than the PR nightmare – if Peraza is an every day MLB SS in 2018 the BP trade rejection becomes a positive.

Your thoughts?

I would LOVE to see Peraza go to Louisville and play shortstop almost every day. If he can play that position, it’s a huge boost in his overall value. I’d like to see them at least attempt it. Shortstops are a lot tougher to find than second basemen.

Warren McLean: Doug: I love the site. Great updates. My “surprises” of this camp are the following: 1) RHP Stephen Johnson…I think he shows a power right arm and improved location and command and will move quickly into a late-inning reliever for the Reds; 2) Jose Peraza will win the every-day SS job by the end of April, if not before, and will become the Reds leadoff hitter; he and Phillips are a dynamite double play combo; 3) Robert Stephenson wins a job in the Reds rotation and will be a mainstay by early May; and, as a result, Michael Lorenzen becomes the team’s closer — making the pen a strength…4) Billy Hamilton stumbles out of the gate, again, with the bat, and spends most of the year at AAA (where he belongs until he can learn how to hit or switches back to a full-time RH); Yorman Rodriguez takes full advantage and becomes the team’s starting CF…Your thoughts…

I think Johnson has more work to do in terms of his control/command. If he finds it, he’s a legit big league arm in that 7th/8th inning role.

I’d be downright shocked if Peraza is the Reds shortstop, sans an injury, before the middle of the season. The Reds have essentially said the job is Cozart’s at this point, so I can’t imagine him losing it within a month unless he’s hurt.

There’s next to no chance that Stephenson comes north with the club without a few injuries. There is no reason to start his clock this early, especially when there are other options. Even with a strong spring it would be a real questionable choice for the Reds to waste his 2022 season in favor of a month of 2016.

Billy Hamilton actually wanted to give up switch hitting and the Reds reportedly told him no. It wouldn’t surprise me if he did wind up back in Triple-A this year because of his bat. Not sure where they would go with center at that point – it would probably depend on who was playing well. Rodriguez would probably be the first guy I’d look at, but Cave or Tyler Holt would also be options to look at.

DaveCT: 1. What could we reasonably expect from a YRod/Schebler/Duval combination in LF? .250/.330/.450, with 15 HR’s and 20 SB’s?
2. Who are the five minor league pitchers you are most excited to see in person this year? I am wagering these may include Lopez, Reed, Weiss, and Rainey.
3. Same question, five position players?

I think that .245/.310/.450 could be doable. I’d expect more home runs from that group, less steals.

Cody Reed is at the top of the list. I happened to see his start last year in Pensacola in which he got roughed up. I’m looking forward to seeing him on a day in which he’s got his best stuff from right behind the plate. Jose Lopez is probably the next guy. Jacob Constante, Tanner Rainey. Stephen Johnson is probably the last guy. I haven’t seen any of the final four guys in person and for me, that’s something I’m looking forward to more than just seeing some big time arms that I have seen before.

Tyler Stephenson, Kevin Franklin, Reydel Medina, Jake Turnbull and Alejo Lopez. Hoping to be able to see everyone.

rick in boise: Are there any good reasons for telling BHam to keep switch-hitting? I know some of you are coaches so… ??

For me, it’s a simple no. His swing simply isn’t fluid from the left side in the slightest. The idea at the beginning was that he could get an extra infield hit from the left side every so often because of his speed and being closer to the bag, but that really hasn’t panned out over the years.

chris: Doug,
1) Have the minor league guys started their spring training/games yet?
2) I’m still confused as to why Dall is an invite this year. was he up against his options?
3) Are you higher on Duvall or Holt?

No. Minor League pitchers report on the 4th. Position players report on the 9th. Games begin on the 17th.

You can never have enough middle infielders in spring training. He’s a non-roster invite, so he’s not using any options. He’s a good defender and especially with Cozart needing a little time to get going it makes tons of sense to bring in a true shortstop to play early on.

Duvall. I trust his bat more, and I think that’s going to keep him around a little bit even if it’s just as a bench guy/platoon type. Holt certainly is on a different level of defense/baserunning/contact, but I’m just not sold that he will hit enough to stick around. With that said, it wouldn’t surprise me at all if he did hit enough to carve out a decent career as a 4th/5th outfielder because of the speed and defense. With Duvall though, he’s got that 25+ home run power and teams will generally give that a few more chances than a guy who’s more of a defensive guy.

John: 1. If the Reds are clearly out of contention by midseason (which is pretty obvious at this point), what would be the benefit of calling up Winker, Stephenson, Peraza or Reed? Why waste service time on your top prospects when you know you’re not going to contend at all?
2. If you had to make your best guess, what would you say is going to be the starting rotation in Dayton?
3. If I set the over/under at 1.5, how many international free agents do you think the Reds will sign in the next cycle for the same price, or more, that they paid to Yorman ($2.5m)? Do you think they’ll go over their allotment?

At that point, you aren’t really wasting any service time. You aren’t gaining an extra year from any of those players by that point unless you also plan to keep them down to start the 2017 season as well. So, the benefit of calling them up is to get them experience in the big leagues and hopefully pick up things they wouldn’t against minor leaguers and help accelerate the transition to the big leagues.

Tanner Rainey, Jose Lopez, Ty Boyles, Jacob Constante seem like locks as long as they are all healthy. The final guy could be someone like Ian Kahaloa (very young, so doubtful – but he’s polished), Jesus Reyes, Wendolyn Bautista.

I’d take the over on 1.5. I believe that they will sign at least two guys for that kind of money in the 2017 signing period, if not three. Maybe it’s just my wishful thinking, but it seems that all of the pubic talk they’ve had for the last three months that they are expecting to do something. They are talking like they are and they’ve been in on some of the bigger names over the last six months even if they haven’t signed them. That they’ve even been in on them tells us that they were willing to go over their budget in the right scenario.