The 2020 Louisville Bats season has been completely canceled by the coronavirus. When two-time MLB All-Star Sonny Gray played the rubber at Slugger Field on Monday, it was the first baseball game played in the park since the end of the 2019 season. more than a year and a half earlier.
Gray wasn’t posing for the bats, however, but for the Cincinnati Reds Alternative Red Site team. By the end of April, the squad – consisting of a few players who are expected to play in Cincinnati soon – will have played eleven games at Slugger Field.
The Louisville Bats, now playing in the newly formed Triple-A East League, begin their season on May 4th.
More than a dozen players between the ages of 23 and 33 who are on the Reds’ alternative training venues list have played in the majors. Here are some players who are especially worth keeping an eye on this month:
Garcia highlights the squad as it could be the Reds shortstop of the future. He’s a good outfield player and was named the organization’s minor league baseball hitter of the year in 2019.
There was a lot of hype about Garcia after that season, but during the coronavirus-shortened 2020 year, he made a huge leap from high-A to the majors, and he didn’t excel in limited promotions.
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He narrowly scored .194 in 24 games with Cincinnati, but the 23-year-old still seems like a top prospect for the organization. In 2019, he hit Daytona Tortugas .280 with the High-A and led the Florida State League with 37 doubles.
A few months ago, Baseball America predicted that Garcia would be the Reds around the corner, and they ranked him a top prospect in the Cincinnati organization, ranking 79th overall.
The Reds were the last MLB team to never have a Japanese player on their active squad until Akiyama made his debut for the club last year. The 32-year-old, who signed a three-year $ 21 million deal with Cincinnati in January 2020, played at the highest level of Japanese baseball – the same league that spawned players like Ichiro Suzuki – for nine years with a career Beat average of .301. With 216 goals in 2015, he set a league record.
Akiyama, a leftist, hit .245 with a base percentage of .357 in Cincinnati last year – the second best among the newcomers to the National League – and the outfielder was a finalist for the gold glove. He is in Louisville recovering from a hamstring injury he sustained last month. He didn’t play on Monday but will likely play for the next week.
Finnegan, 27, has completed 260.2 career innings in MLB and is the only player to compete in both the NCAA College World Series and the MLB World Series that same year (2014 with Texas Christian and the Kansas City Royals) occurred).
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Most recently, he was represented in the Majors with the Reds in 2018 and has had a bit of problems with the Minors since then, although he was invited to take part in the Big League camp last spring training.
“I’ve been through a lot over the last few years and it sucks, but one thing is, I’ve kept trying to work and work and get back to where I know I belong and that’s in the big league field “Pitching for a big league team,” Finnegan said last month, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer.
Sonny Gray, who was Cincinnati’s inaugural start last year, was scheduled to return to Cincinnati on Tuesday after pitching in Louisville, but pitchers are still to be seen in Louisville. Tony Santillan, a 6-foot-4, 240-pound righty, was named the Reds Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2018 after posting a 3.08 ERA over 149.0 innings at Daytona and Double-A Pensacola .
Baseball America named the soon-to-be 24-year-old a “Dark Horse” candidate to secure a spot in Cincinnati’s rotation this season.
In a crowded Cincinnati outfield, Mark Payton was selected for the Alternative Training Site last week.
Payton, who has worked his way through the minor leagues since his draft seven years ago, met in Triple-A .334 in 2019 and made his MLB debut for Cincinnati last year.
A limited number of tickets – general admission and $ 10 each – are sold for each scrimmage. Masks are required when you are not eating or drinking. The games are played in the style of spring training games, which means that they don’t necessarily span nine innings.
The remaining start dates for the alternate training site are as follows:
April 6 against Kansas City at 7 p.m.,
April 7th against Kansas City at 7 p.m.
April 8 against Kansas City at 7 p.m.
April 9 against Kansas City at 3 p.m.
April 12 against Cleveland at 7 p.m.
April 13th against Cleveland at 7 p.m.
April 14th against Cleveland at 1 p.m.
April 24th against Pittsburgh at 7 p.m.
April 25 against Pittsburgh at 7 p.m.
April 26 against Pittsburgh at 1 p.m.
Hayes Gardner can be reached at [email protected]; Twitter: @HayesGardner.