The Reds kicked off their first full week of spring training games by dropping three in a row to the Diamondbacks, White Sox, and Brewers. However, the team rebounded and closed the week strong. Cincinnati currently owns a four game winning streak. Again, these results tell us little about how the team will perform in 2017, but it was still nice to get some wins on the board (especially two against the Cubs).
Without further ado, let’s get to this week’s Reds Report.
Anthony DeSclafani Won’t Start Opening Day
Last week, there was some concern regarding Anthony DeSclafani. The team stated he was dealing with “elbow tenderness,” and his spring training debut was delayed. Fortunately, the issue doesn’t look to be serious, and DeSclafani should make his debut within a week.
Bryan Price mentioned this week that the delay likely takes “Disco” out of the running for Opening Day starter. However, he’s still on track to start the season in the rotation. Mark Sheldon noted that DeSclafani could appear in any other of the team’s first five games.
What is likely to happen, barring setbacks, is DeSclafani could pitch 2nd, 3rd, 4th or 5th game of season. Just not opener. #reds
– Mark Sheldon (@m_sheldon) March 5, 2017
DeSclafani was Cincinnati’s best starter a season ago. He went 9-5 with a 3.28 ERA, but he did struggle with an oblique injury that limited him to 20 starts. A healthy DeSclafani could have a significant impact on Cincinnati’s record at the end of the season.
Devin Mesoraco is Progressing
There isn’t a bigger question mark on the Reds roster than Devin Mesoraco. In 2014, he had the most productive offensive season of any catcher in baseball. Unfortunately, he’s been unable to build on that production as injuries have limited him to just 39 games over the past two seasons.
Zach Buchanan checked in on Mesoraco’s progress, and noted that he faced live pitching for the first time since May this week. Buchanan described Mesoraco’s process of trying to re-discover the swing that made him so successful. The shoulder injury Mesoraco dealt with in 2016 got him into some bad habits, but he’s working hard to break those as he tries to re-establish himself as a middle of the order bat.
Mesoraco hopes to play in his first spring training game within a week.
The State of the Bullpen
The Reds bullpen was historically bad for the first few months of the 2016 season. Things started to turn around once Raisel Iglesias and Michael Lorenzen got healthy. The team has made it clear they are going to heavily depend on both pitchers in a variety of situations this season.
It looks as if the team won’t start the year with a set closer. Several pitchers (Iglesias, Lorenzen, and Drew Storen) will get opportunities to earn saves. Steve Adams of MLB Trade Rumors noted the team’s intention to possibly give both Iglesias and Lorenzen around 100 innings of work. They were clearly the team’s best options out of the bullpen last season, and I’m all for letting them pitch as much as possible.
Speaking of Michael Lorenzen, Zach Buchanan’s profile of the Reds reliever was one of the best things I read during the off-season. You should definitely take some time to check out “In the Name of the Father.”
Assessing the Reds Farm System
Jonathan Mayo of MLB Pipeline took some time to break down the Reds farm system.
– Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) March 1, 2017
Bryan Price on Rule Changes for 2017
Earlier this week, MLB announced several rule changes for the 2017 season. The changes getting the most attention pertain to intentional walks and replays. This year a manager simply has to signal for an intentional walk, and the batter will immediately go to first. The pitcher no longer has to throw four balls to the catcher. The other change is that managers will now have a 30-second time limit to challenge a ruling on the field.
Mark Sheldon of MLB.com got Bryan Price’s take on these changes.
It has been a slow week. Let’s get Red Hot.
As you can tell from the news above, it’s been a pretty slow week around the team. Why don’t we take this opportunity to re-live the time the 1990 Reds released a rap song?
A few months ago, I did an in-depth look at what makes this song so…great?