Considered by many to be the centerpiece for the Reds in the deal that sent Johnny Cueto to Kansas City, Brandon Finnegan is the first player to play in both the College World Series and the MLB World Series in the same year (2014). Finnegan appeared in 14 games for the Royals in 2015 before the trade, and six games for the Reds after. He ended the 2015 season with a 5-2 record and 3.56 ERA between the two teams, striking out 45 batters in 48 innings.
Finnegan is the last of the 2015 Reds in the 1990 Score style. By my calculations, we have posted 99 cards total: 65 Reds (plus one “alternate” version), 12 highlights, and 21 ex-Reds (including one “alternate”).
Another possible solution for the Reds’ left field problem is Kyle Waldrop, a 12th round pick in 2010. While he struggled in Louisville last year, Waldrop batter .338 in 2014 between Bakersfield, Pensacola, and Surprise. He struck out in his big league debut on August 2, which happened to be his only appearance with the Reds in 2015.
Could rookie Ryan LaMarre be the answer to the Reds’ left field woes? The 2010 second-round draft pick is not a power hitter; he has hit 36 home runs in six minor league seasons. Nor does he hit for average, as his .261 clip demonstrates. However, he is just a step below Billy Hamilton on the basepaths, with 139 steals in the minors, including a season of 55 swipes in 2011.
The Reds had a major hole in left field that Marlon Byrd was expected to fill in 2015. In his time in Cincinnati, Byrd was serviceable: 19 home runs, 42 RBI, and a .237 batting average. Not All-Star numbers, but likely better than a rookie could have produced. Tensions between Byrd and a member of the coaching staff, however, could have been a factor in the trade announced in August. Byrd would join former teammate Mike Leake in San Francisco for the remainder of the 2015 season.
Originally signed by the Pirates in 2008 as an amateur free agent, Ramon Cabrera was traded to the Tigers for Andy Oliver in 2012. Two years later, the Pirates selected him off waivers from the Tigers, but then released him following the season. He had not yet appeared in a major league game. The Reds signed Cabrera as a free agent in December, 2014, and he made his debut in the ninth inning on September 5 against the Brewers. He collected 11 hits in 30 at-bats, good for a .367 average. His first career home came on September 11 against John Lackey.
A late addition to the team in 2015, Tyler Holt was selected off waivers from the Cleveland Indians on September 27. After 36 games in 2014 and 9 games for the Indians in 2015, Holt appeared in only five games for the Reds, and will still be considered a rookie in 2016.
One of several former Reds to appear in the 2015 postseason, Dioner Navarro only mustered one hit in 13 at-bats between the ALDS and ALCS. He was an All-Star for the Tampa Bay Rays in 2008, but has since been relegated to backup duties for Russell Martin in Toronto. He has already played for six teams in his 12-year career, including two stints with the Dodgers (2005-2006 and 2011). As a free agent, it will be interesting to see if he lands somewhere that can give him more playing time in 2016.
Jeff Pico pitched for the Chicago Cubs from 1988-1990, going 13-12 with a 4.24 ERA. He appeared in the original 1990 Score set as a Cub. Pico was named the Reds pitching coach in 2014 after several years of coaching in the Arizona Diamondbacks system. It was announced last month that his contract would not be renewed for the 2016 season.
Jay Bell was a 2-time All-Star in his 18-year career. He collected 1963 hits and batted .265 for the Indians, Pirates, Royals, Diamondbacks, and Mets from 1986 to 2003. He appeared in the 1990 Score set as a member of the Pirates and also had a “Young Superstars” card. Bell was named to the Reds’ coaching staff in November, 2013; like Pico, he will not be returning for the 2016 season.
Mack Jenkins never made it to the majors, but pitched in the Reds’ minor league system from 1986 through 1988. As a member of the Billings Mustangs in 1987, Jenkins was the winning pitcher that ended the Salt Lake Trappers’ record winning streak at 29 games. He is currently serving the Reds as bullpen coach.
Mike Stefanski was a 1994 Texas League All-Star, but never made the jump to the major leagues. He became the Reds’ bullpen catcher in 2004 and was named catching coordinator in 2013.
Billy Hatcher was a member of the 1990 World Champion Cincinnati Reds and set World Series records for highest batting average (.750), most consecutive hits (7), and most doubles in a four-game series (4). He appeared in the 1990 Score set as a member of the Pirates, and in the Score Rookie & Traded set for the Reds. Hatcher has been stationed in the first base coaching box for several years, but in 2016 will transition to the third base coaching box.
Freddie Benavides made his major league debut with the Reds on May 14, 1991, as the starting shortstop against the St. Louis Cardinals. He was 0-1 that day, but scored a run after being hit by a pitch in the fifth inning. Benavides will step into the first base coaching box in the 2016 season.
Keyvius Sampson was a fourth-round draft pick in 2009 for the San Diego Padres. The Reds selected the pitcher off waivers in January, and he made his major league debut in July in Cincinnati, striking out two Pirates batters in the eighth inning of a 15-5 win. He was then moved to the starting rotation and proceeded to start 12 games, finishing the season with a 2-6 record and 6.54 ERA, striking out 42 batters in just over 52 innings.