With an outfield as strong as the Cincinnati Reds have with guys like Jay Bruce, Shin-Soo Choo and Ryan Ludwick, it can almost be impossible to find an area where you can squeeze in some playing time. But so far this spring, Reds’ outfielder Xavier Paul is making a strong case for himself that he will not be one of the guys who gets cut when it comes time to shave the roster to 25.
Paul was added late last season to the Reds’ roster after struggling to find a place on the Washington Nationals‘ roster and ultimately being released.
In just 55 games, Paul batted .314 with two home runs and seven RBI and was a valuable left-handed hitter off the bench. Paul was someone last season that came off the bench and could give the Reds’ a quality at bat and at times fill in a spot that Dusty Baker needed when he gave guys a day off.
So far this spring, Paul leads the team in runs with six, and is batting .286 with a home run and two RBIs. This is exactly what spring training is for. We all know that the regulars like Bruce, Choo, Ludwick are the main three guys that are going to be playing everyday and have essentially locked up a spot on roster. But it’s guys like Paul that need spring training to show that they can make plays and help the Reds win another NL Central Division title.
Am I getting ahead of myself? Probably. Do I think Paul can come in and absolutely dominate and overtake a starting role on this team? No. Do I think he deserves a spot on the team after what he did last year and what he’s doing so far this spring? Absolutely. Paul has been there before with several other teams. He knows his limits on what he can and can’t do athletically and I look forward to seeing him help the Reds much like he did last year.