The Cincinnati Reds announced earlier this week that they have signed IF/OF Derek Dietrich to a minor-league contract with an invitation to Major League spring training. Dietrich retruns to the Reds after a 2019 season full of ups and downs. Dietrich saw an eventful start to the 2019 season. On April 7th, Dietrich hit a towering 2-run home run off of Chris Archer that landed in the Allegheny River. Archer, not pleased with how Dietrich stood at home plate to admire his home run, threw behind him in his next at-bat, leading to a bench-clearing incident.
May is where things really took off for Dietrich. He hit .304/.400/.841, good for an OPS of 1.241 and an OPS+ of 204. In 69 at-bats, Dietrich had 21 hits, 12 of which were home runs. From June to the end of the season, Dietrich’s production plummeted. Dietrich never hit higher than .150 in any month and only managed to hit two more home runs. He struggled with some injuries as the season progressed, but even when his health returned, his production did not.
Coming into this season, Dietrich will look to return to the level of play he exhibited in April and May of 2019. As a minor league invite to Major League spring training, Dietrich will have to battle for a roster spot. The pop in Dietrich’s bat, along with his versatility, add to his chances of breaking camp with the big league club. The possible path to do so is a little clearer in the wake of the injury to Eugenio Suarez. If Suarez is unable to start the season, Mike Moustakas will likely slide to third, opening up a spot at second base. Dietrich spent most of his time at the position last year and would be a viable short term option to start the season.
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