It should come as no surprise that every time Cincinnati makes a trade or signs under the radar, the players are likely to be a very good match for what the baseball operations department is looking for. Recently, the Reds have focused on landing pitchers at a high spin rate.
Heath Hembree fits into the Red’s shape.
Heath Hembree, who last played for the Philadelphia Phillies in 2020, was part of the Cleveland Indians roster this spring. The tribe released Hembree over the weekend, and Cincinnati, who shares the Goodyear complex with Cleveland, took the opportunity to sign the 32-year-old.
According to Baseball SavantHembree’s fastball spin is in the 93rd percentile and his curveball spin is in the 76th percentile. Red’s pitching coach Derek Johnson seems to covet these kinds of weapons, and who should we argue about?
Fans have seen Lucas Sims flourish under Johnson’s tutelage. The former Atlanta Braves starter stood out from the Reds Bullpen, and according to Baseball SavantSims’ fastball and curveball spin is some of the best in baseball.
Heath Hembree has an outside chance to form the Reds squad.
With the Cincinnati Reds signing Hembree on a minor league deal, any chance the right-hander ends up on the opening day roster means someone will have to be fired from the team’s 40-man roster. Heembree isn’t the only non-roster contestant vying for a place on Cincy’s 26-man roster.
Brandon Finnegan, Cam Bedrosian and Jesse Biddle fight for one of the last places in the Cincinnati bullpen. Neither of these three pitchers rose above the bout, and David Bell could make some tough decisions ahead of the April 1 opener against the St. Louis Cardinals.
Heath Hembree was spectacular this spring. The native of South Carolina posted a 1.42 ERA from the Indians bullpen in seven appearances this spring and beaten eight batters over 6.1 innings of work. Hembree has spent six walks and four hits, including a home run.
But compared to the others who were fighting for a roster place, Hembree was slightly above the group of helpers who were trying to get a place in the Red Bullpen because of his statistics. The presence of Hembree could increase competition in the final week of the Cactus League game.