The Cincinnati Reds have added six prospects to the 40-man roster today. The organization added infielders Elly De La Cruz and Noelvi Marte, as well as pitchers Brandon Williamson, Levi Stoudt, Lyon Richardson, and Ricky Karcher. With their addition to the 40-man roster it means that they will be safe from the Rule 5 draft and will also be in big league camp in 2023 spring training.
With the Reds 40-man roster full when the day began they also had to designed six players for assignment. Aristides Aquino was the lone position player who was DFA’d. He was joined by pitchers Kyle Dowdy, Jeff Hoffman, Derek Law, Jared Solomon, and Art Warren. Jeff Hoffman missed almost the entire second half of the 2022 season. Art Warren underwent elbow surgery and will miss all of the 2023 season, making his designation for assignment an easy one to see coming.
As I wrote over at Redleg Nation, three of the choices felt easy. There was no chance on the planet short of a weird hostage situation that the Reds weren’t going to add both Elly De La Cruz and Noelvi Marte to the roster to protect them. They both have all of the tools you want to see and have the performance to back it up. Brandon Williamson was another easy choice, though the lefty did have some struggles at times during the 2022 season at both the Double-A and Triple-A level.
Levi Stoudt was a guy who I felt had a big leg up to be added despite some struggles this year because none of his struggles took place once he arrived in the Reds organization. He struggled at times in Double-A while in the Mariners organization – where he posted a 5.28 ERA – but with the Reds after the trade he posted a 2.63 ERA while pitching mostly in Triple-A Louisville. He’s got good stuff but wasn’t always consistent with it.
Lyon Richardson didn’t pitch at all in 2022 after having Tommy John surgery following the 2021 season. And during the 2021 season he was inconsistent at best in High-A Dayton where he had an ERA of 5.09 while walking 38 and striking out 91 in 76.0 innings. What probably made the decision a bit easier is that now back on the mound he was hitting 99 MPH during instructional league. After throwing mostly in the 93-95 MPH range during 2021, a big jump in velocity could go a long way.
Ricky Karcher has plenty of stuff. His fastball works in the upper 90’s, his slider in the upper 80’s has plenty of bite, and he’ll show a low-90’s change up, too. His ERA on the year was 3.65 in 52 games split between Double-A and Triple-A. Where he ran into problems was with his ability to consistently find the strikezone. He walked 40 batters on the season in 56.2 innings. That got him into trouble often, but limiting the long ball – he gave up just three of them all season – helped out quite a bit in limiting the runs he wound up allowing.
The walk rate on it’s own is worrisome. But perhaps a late season turn around gave the organization confidence that he could put that behind him. In September Karcher saw 43 batters and walked just three of them (11.2 innings) while striking out 17. The sample size there is small, but that sample does look quite better than the previous month-long samples, too. With his stuff and the shape that the Reds 40-man roster was in, it was probably an easy choice to take a small risk and keep him around.
There were several players who went unprotected by the organization that could be selected in three weeks at the winter meetings during the Rule 5 draft. We’ll discuss them, as well as potential picks for the Reds in the time between now and then.