Spring training began in Goodyear for minor leaguers less than a week ago. The first workouts were held on Sunday in Goodyear, and for many of the players it was the first time on the field since mid-March of 2020. Some guys did get on the field for instructional league, a few had time in winter ball in their home countries, and a few did see action at the alternate site last year as well as “early minor league camp” this spring that began at the same time as big league spring training did. Still, it’s been a long time coming for a lot of these guys to get back on the field.
With the minor league spring training roster in hand, as well as the alternate site roster – there are 147 players in total. Usually there are 25-man roster sizes in the minor leagues, which would mean that 47 of these guys wouldn’t have a spot on Opening Day on May 4th at one of the four full-season affiliates. This season, though, roster sizes have increased to 30 for A-ball, and to 28 for both Double-A and Triple-A. That’s an additional 16 roster spots out there for the taking.
I sat down and completed a rough prediction of what the starting 9 (listed 4 outfielders, but every team has a DH at least some of the time), plus the starting rotations could look like at each of the four affiliates based on who is in camp or at the alternate site.
Some of these are based on a lot more information than others. We know that Nick Lodolo, Hunter Greene, and Jose Garcia are all likely to begin in Double-A thanks to Reds general manager Nick Krall saying so earlier this week. Many of the Triple-A guys are already in Louisville with the alternate site team (I say many because a few of them are with the Reds currently as members of the traveling taxi squad out west). With the pitchers, I at least am working with the information of who is at least working as a starting pitcher this spring, so that helped out some. But beyond that, these are just educated guesses on who winds up where.
A few notes
A few players with a lot of versatility – guys like Alejo Lopez and Brian Rey for example, who can play spots on the infield or outfield – could be moved off of “the starters” list to make a spot open up for someone who isn’t listed here yet as those two could play 4-5-6 times per week at multiple spots on the field. This was just me trying to get a name on every line and there’s probably more than a few that I got very wrong. Pobody’s nerfect.
Vladimir Gutierrez is at the alternate site in Louisville with the Reds team that’s there. Two interesting notes on him: First is that he gets credit now for games towards his suspension and he will be eligible to pitch once the games begin in the regular season. Second is that while he is in Louisville with the alternate site team, I’ve been told that he is not eligible to pitch in front of paying fans while he is still serving his suspension. Looking at the alternate site schedule – the Kansas City, Cleveland, and Pittsburgh alternate site hosts don’t seem to be offering tickets for sale for their games (perhaps they are and it’s just not apparent in any way at all on their official websites). The plan seems to be that if his scheduled day to throw would be when the Reds team is in Louisville that he’ll just throw live BP/simulated games, but if it falls on a day when they are on the road (and no tickets are being sold for the game) he will pitch in those games.