With most eyes focused on the pitchers and shortstop early this spring, the Cincinnati Reds made an interesting move this week regarding their outfield.
The Ben Revere signing didn’t slide under the radar, but one wonders if it might end up making a greater-than-expected impact down the line.
At worst, he provides the Reds with a backup centerfielder who can provide some speed on the base paths late.
He might also push Billy Hamilton in what has to be considered a make-or-break year for the speedster.
Revere resembles Hamilton in some ways, except his career batting average is 36 points higher. Revere strikes out a lot less, but he also doesn’t walk much and has even less pop in his bat than Hamilton. The latter could be a result of different approaches at the plate, which again is an area Hamilton could still use some work.
At 29, the Kentucky native still has plenty of baseball left in him. The question just has to be what kind of role Revere is now suited for.
He’s only with the Reds on a minor-league deal, so there is no risk involved in this signing.
As far as the pitching, the early returns are pretty positive.
On Tuesday, Anthony DeSclafani and Tyler Mahle continued the trend of strong appearances by players at least marginally in the running to win a spot in the starting rotation.
They pitched two scoreless innings apiece as the Reds lost to the Brewers.
Read more from Hal McCoy on that game here.
Meanwhile, Amir Garrett says he has put behind him problems with injuries and confidence that marred a 2017 season that started with great promise.
“I had a great offseason and watched a lot of video. When you go through struggles you find out a lot about yourself. I’m back and no matter what I go through, that confidence will never, ever leave me ever again. I was timid. All of that is out the window. The real Amir that they were excited about is back; 2017 is over.”
He pitched two scoreless innings in his spring debut.
Robert Stephenson, perhaps weighed down by my thoughts that fifth spot is his to lose since he’s been around the longest of the young guys, is the only starter candidate to struggle in his first appearance this spring.
He gave up three runs and three this in 1 and 2/3 innings Monday…
And what about shortstop?
Well that’s interesting because the job has fallen to Jose Peraza, another prospect probably facing a make-or-break season.
He’s another guy who brings a lot of speed to the offense, but he’s got to get on base to make it work.
And there’s extra intrigue at this position because of No. 1 prospect Nick Senzel getting some work there early.
It certainly looks like Peraza’s job to lose, but that’s a heck of a fallback plan.
And in case you missed it, the old shortstop made some headlines this week thanks to a reality check attributed to his wife…
The high school basketball tournaments are raging on these days, and we had a few notable happenings last night.
Next up for the Knights is another GCL opponent and a third game against Chaminade Julienne.
Ohio State recruit Justin Ahrens scored the 2,000th point of his career for Versailles as the Tigers beat Milton-Union 66-23. With 21 points, Ahrens nearly outscored the Bulldogs himself. He already broke the MAC career scoring record earlier this season.
Speaking of top recruits in the area, Sidney’s Andre Gordon scored 27 points as the Yellow Jackets took care of business with a 56-45 defeat of Beavercreek.
Next up for Sidney is a sectional final against Springfield on Friday night. The Wildcats were tied with Springboro at halftime before pulling away in the second half Tuesday night.
In Division II, Trotwood’s boys fared better than its girls, trouncing Northwestern 93-45, but the win came at a cost. Rams coach Rocky Rockhold must miss the next two games after being ejected from this one. That suspension begins Friday night against Northridge.
Also notable from the girls tournament: West Liberty-Salem beat Greeneview in a sectional final that also served as a de facto Ohio Heritage Conference championship game.
The Tigers, champs of the OHC North, avenged a regular-season loss to the Rams, who won the OHC South.