One of the things that the Cincinnati Reds did this offseason was focus on adding depth. They’ve got more big league caliber starting pitchers than they’ve got spots in the rotation if everyone is healthy. The same thing can be said about the bullpen. But the team also added a lot of minor league depth with free agents that seemed to be signed to bolster things in Triple-A.

Let’s take a look at Mark Sheldon’s 26-man opening day roster projection from yesterday to see which players he has *not* making the team and heading to the minor leagues:

  • Nick Lodolo
  • Fernando Cruz
  • Alex Young
  • Ian Gibaut
  • Jose Barrero
  • Nick Martini
  • Bubba Thompson

Those are guys just from the 40-man roster. But there should be some notes from the above list, too. Lodolo would make the roster for Sheldon if he knew he would be ready to begin the year, but he’s a little behind now. That would push Brandon Williamson out, so at least for Sheldon it seems it’s one to the bigs and one to the minors to begin the year.  Jose Barrero is out of options, so if he doesn’t make the team he could find himself in another organization if he is traded and or is designated for assignment and doesn’t clear waivers. And Ian Gibaut is dealing with a forearm issue and is behind schedule, so he may not be ready to go when the season begins. If he is, though, he’s out of options.

But there are more than a few non 40-man roster players that are going to be heading to the minor leagues. Again, just using the projected roster from Sheldon, it means that these players are heading to Triple-A assuming they don’t have opt-outs or they don’t take their opt-outs if they do have them:

  • Justin Bruihl
  • Tyler Gilbert
  • Tony Santillan
  • P.J. Higgins
  • Austin Wynns
  • Mike Ford
  • Erik Gonzalez
  • Josh Harrison
  • Tony Kemp
  • Mark Mathias
  • Conner Capel

Now, we know that a few guys do have opt-outs and that could clear things up a little bit. Still, that’s 18 players listed and if a few of them either don’t wind up there, that’s more than half of the Bats roster.

Then there are 40-man roster guys like Connor Phillips, Lyon Richardson, Christian Roa, Carson Spiers, and Casey Legumina on the pitching staff, as well as Rece Hinds and Jacob Hurtubise on the pitching staff. One would assume that Blake Dunn, when healthy – he’s battling some elbow problems right now – would also be in Louisville after his big 2023 season.

That would only seemingly leave a few spots for the taking on the Bats roster. What that does is also cause a little bit of a logjam in Double-A as some guys who would have moved up in past years could find themselves back in Chattanooga because there simply isn’t enough room.

Prospect Pitchers in Camp

The Reds have listed their expected pitchers for the next few days. Tonight will see Carson Spiers and Casey Legumina pitch. On Saturday afternoon Julian Aguiar is among the four pitchers expected to take the mound. Sunday afternoon has both Lyon Richardson and Rhett Lowder among the expected pitchers.

About The Author

Doug Gray is the owner and operator of this website and has been running it since 2006 in one variation or another. You can follow him on twitter @dougdirt24, or follow the site on Facebook. and Youtube.

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9 Responses

  1. MBS

    Besides the guys you mentioned, I’d like to see Free, Trautwein, McGarry, and Hernandez in AAA. I’m good with others being squeezed out, or stuck in AA until they push someone out.

  2. Optimist

    Alas, the Nats, Rockies and A’s see at least 7, and likely 9, players from those lists which they’d select, either after a DFA or an opt-out is exercised. They might be able to trade some of the pitching for $ or a lesser PTBNL, which would clear space for a AA arm to advance. Perhaps only Josh would stay since it seems he’s transitioning into retirement at home. Still, unless Hinds/Hurtubise/Dunn all flop, the Bats should be noticeably improved this season.

  3. DaveCT

    There will be opt outs, now or later. There will DFA’s and full on releases, now, when guys return from injury, and later. When the ice starts to break up in the Arctic, it takes some time for the ice jams to work out. And spring comes late in the north country, pilgrim.

    Nonsense aside, I have begun to view the volume of veteran infielders at AAA not solely as a barrier to infield prospects there and at AA. Given the prospect laden starting pitching staff in Louisville, I find a benefit of having solid defense behind the young arms to be a plus.

  4. justafan

    Gray, the words we read is the plan is for young athletic players with good characteristics as team members who personally prepare for each game physically and mentally.

    Then a number of starting pitchers, who need to prove they are above average and can stay healthy and can possibly replace those who aren’t above ML average in 2024.

    and 2023 AAA & AA statistics are reliable on being considered ML ready

    I can’t help but wonder about the mindset of the players who believe they are on the cusp but…

  5. RedsGettingBetter

    Doug, it would be very interesting if you may write an article about the opening day roster projection of the Louisville Bats and the Chattanooga Lookouts in next weeks

  6. Melvin

    Should be a lot of talent in AAA no matter what.

  7. MK

    Is there any information on Bryce Bonnin’s health? After missing all of ‘23 I thought
    I read once that he decided to retire, but was glad to see he was on the Spring Training list.

    • Doug Gray

      I’ve heard second hand that he’s expected to be on the mound this spring.