Leftfield Still Undecided
Jake Cave is leaving fate in the hands of others. He just once to play baseball and would love to play it in Cincinnati.
Cave was picked up by the Reds’ in the Rule V draft. He has to be on the Reds’ roster the entire season or be offered back to the New York Yankees, who picked Cave in the sixth round of the 2011 draft. Like many young players in that organization he had to wait out veteran free agent signees an long term contracts that kept him in the minor leagues for the past six years.
Cave is competing in the wide open race for the starting job in leftfield. Manager Bryan Price is in the unenviable position of sorting through, Yorman Rodriguez, Scott Schebler, Adam Duvall, Tyler Holt and Cave for the position that will be a platoon.
“Everybody is playing well. I don’t worry about the competition. It will take care of itself. I just go out there and play baseball,” Cave said. “I’d love to stay here. I love the Reds. My dream since I was a little kid was to play baseball. If they keep me, I’ll be able to do that.”
“I keep waiting for someone to separate themselves,” Price said. ‘I haven’t told anyone whether they made the team or not but it will be soon.”
Cave, who can play centerfield as well as left, would also serve as insurance for the health and development of Billy Hamilton. He started in centerfield on Sunday against the Dodgers. It is his 15th appearance in center. He has started three games in left.
Coming into the game, Cave is hitting .244 with a home run and three RBI in 21 games.
Scott Schebler makes his 12th start in left against the Dodgers. He has five starts in center.
Schebler is tied for the team lead with three home runs. He is hitting .250 in 18 games with nine RBI.
Rodriguez has played in 21 games and is hitting .225 with no home runs and one RBI. He is out of options and will be exposed to waivers if he doesn’t make the team.
Adam Duvall leads the team in at-bats (53), hits (17), total bases (31) and RBI (13). Duvall, who has starts at thirdbase and firstbase, is hitting .321.
Holt played 13 games in center, four in left and two in right. He is hitting .220 with no home runs and three RBI.
“There will be a little bit more clarity over the next three days,” Price said.
Minor League and Major League Pitchers Switch
Jon Moscot will start his first game since March 11 on Monday but it will not be against the Milwaukee Brewers as expected. That honor will go to Robert Stephenson, who was optioned to Louisville earler. Moscot and Raisel Iglesias will start in minor league games.
A.J Morris and Josh Smith will start against the Brewers and White Sox respectively. Brandon Finnegan will start in the last game in Arizona as scheduled. Alfredo Simon will start in Indianapolis April 2 against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
“We’re going to do a few things coming down the stretch,” Price said. “We need to get some of our guys stretched out with five or six up and down. It is part of the conditioning program as much as the pitch count is. You can’t guarantee that will happen in big league games. We can ensure that in a minor league game.”
Far too often this spring, Reds’ starters have exhausted their pitch count before their innings were complete.
“It hasn’t been pretty,” Price said. “We’ve given up a lot of runs.”
Ross Ohlendorf is an important signing. He’s done everything in the major leagues from starting to closing.
The Reds’s starters are young and due to various injuries haven’t been stretched out other than Anthony DeSclafani and Finnegan. Ineffective starters will tax the bullpen. The Reds need more bullpen guys who can pitch more than one inning.
“Ross being a starter in his career can certainly pitch more than one inning,” Price said. “Once I know who is on the team, I can start to define roles. It sounds silly and of course pitchers will say they’ll take the ball whenever you give it to them but they do prepare differently for different roles. The long guy knows he has to be prepared early in the game or if there are extra innings. If I call down there and tell Hoover to get up in the third, he will be caught off guard. He’s going to be physically and mentally unprepared.”