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.

15 Responses

  1. RedsKoolAidDrinker

    Completely forgot about Richardson. Has he only been a starter in the minor leagues? Since he’s now taking up a spot on the 40 (and has had arm trouble), does he start camp as a reliever

  2. RedsGettingBetter

    Between the players unprotected I think the more attractive to other teams to picking them up in rule 5 are TJ Hopkins, Isaiah Gilliam, Nick Northcut, Ivan Johnson and maybe Ryan Nutof

      • Doug Gray

        Yep. Reds could have added him to the roster a few days ago to keep him around but opted not to and now he’ll get to test the MiLB free agent waters again this offseason.

    • Bdh

      I think players like like Northcut, Johnson, Quintana, and Vellojin are probably safe since they’ve never been above AA. I think Nutof could get taken and I’m worried the reds will lose Hopkins.

      Even if Solak is about the same thing Hopkins would be I still would’ve liked to see Hopkins, who’s 2 years younger, get his shot with the reds.

      I think instead of Karcher and Richardson I would’ve added Hopkins and left Hoffman on the 40man

  3. MK

    I’ve never been impressed with Richardson, very inconsistent and never dominating. Now I have an additional concern. The last Reds product that had a large velocity increase after Tommy John was Teejay Antone. We now know how that worked out.

    • Michael E

      Most pitchers have velocity increase after TJ (and a year recovery). It’s due to the rehab strengthening process I think. I.E. they’d have improved velocity without TJ if they just committed to similar therapy/rehab workouts.

      The bigger concern would be his delivery and does it seem less than fluid (more likely to cause elbow/shoulder issues)? I have no idea, I haven’t seen him pitch yet.

  4. BK

    Lots of DFA players today … see anyone you would like to see the Reds pick up?

    • José Luis Salazar

      Creo que a Eduardo Salazar tiene las herramientas para estar en la MLB, creo que otro equipo lo va a tomar durante el draft de la regla 5. Cual es tu opinión al respecto

      • EyeballsInNooga

        Tools, yes, but he was so inconsistent as a starter this year. I don’t think he will get picked, but I do think if they move him to the bullpen he could be useful.

      • BK

        Fangraphs lo tiene como su prospecto número 31, por lo que claramente tiene potencial. Como titular, su WHIP es demasiado alto. Como lanzador de relevo, puede obtener mejores resultados. Le deseo lo mejor en su temporada 2023 sin importar dónde juegue.

      • Doug Gray

        He’s a guy who has the potential to be a big league pitcher. It’s going to be about finding more consistency. I would not be surprised if someone selected him in the Rule 5 draft and moved him to the bullpen for now. That said, I’m not sure he will be selected – I haven’t had a chance to look through all of the eligible players around baseball.

    • BK

      I do too. He gets LH hitters out and would fill a need in the Red’s pen.

  5. Krozley

    I see a need to add at least one starting pitcher, one relief pitcher, a back-up catcher, and an outfielder. My take on the players most likely to lose their spot on the new 40-man would be Reynolds (no options left), Gibaut, and Kuhnel, but not sure after that. Maybe Duarte. Gutierrez will eventually be on the 60-day and I could see some of those needs filled via trade of someone on the 40 like Senzel or K. Farmer. Richardson was the big surprise add for me. I doubt anyone would have taken him given his injury history, but I guess we’ll never know.