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Reds top prospects 2022: Nick Lodolo and Hunter Greene should be in Cincinnati’s rotation soon

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Major League Baseball’s owners may have locked out the players, triggering the league’s first work stoppage since 1994-95 and bringing the offseason to a halt, but that doesn’t mean we’re letting it derail our typical offseason plans. Indeed, CBS Sports is in the process of highlighting the top three prospects for all 30 teams, as well as naming the top 50 prospects in the minors, regardless of team affiliation. 

That journey finds us today focusing on the Cincinnati Reds‘ farm system. 

Do note that these lists are formed after conversations with scouts, analysts, and player development folks from around the league. There is personal bias baked in, as one would expect from subjective exercises, so some disagreement is to be expected.

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Now, onto the gasbaggery. 

1. Nick Lodolo, LHP (No. 20 on MLB top 20)

Lodolo was the first pitcher to come off the board during that 2019 draft, albeit relatively late at No. 7. He’s atoned for it by zipping through the minors, accruing a 2.31 ERA and a 7.09 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 13 starts across Double- and Triple-A in his first full professional season. (He was hampered by blisters and shoulder fatigue.) Lodolo doesn’t have loud stuff; he does have a good slider and a broad arsenal of average-ish offerings that play up because of his command and the deception he creates with a lower release point. Provided Lodolo is hearty and hale, he ought to debut early this spring, with a straightforward path toward mid-rotation status.

Greene, the No. 2 pick in the 2017 draft, made his first regular-season appearances since 2018 after missing time because of Tommy John surgery and the pandemic. He didn’t disappoint; rather, he posted a 3.30 ERA and a 3.56 strikeout-to-walk ratio over 106 innings in 2021, with most of those coming in Triple-A. Greene still has big-time arm strength, but there’ve long been concerns about the pitch’s lack of movement. He still needs to work on his command and his changeup, too. Greene’s pure velocity and promising slider should help him survive until he can make up for lost reps.

Despite being held as one of the safest picks in last summer’s draft, McLain slipped all the way to the Reds at No. 17 — ostensibly in part because of a perceived lack of upside. He took out whatever frustration that may have caused him by hitting .283/.389/.462 in his 31-game introduction to professional baseball. McLain is an above-average runner with a hit-over-power profile who should be able to stick somewhere up the middle, be it at short, second, or even in center field. Depending on how much McLain hits, he could develop into a fast-moving second-division starter. 

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José Ramírez and Josh Naylor homer in Guardians' 8-0 victory over Blue Jays

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José Ramírez and Josh Naylor both hit home runs in the Cleveland Guardians’ 8-0 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays.



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Novak Djokovic withdraws from Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati due to COVID-19 vaccination status

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World No. 6 Novak Djokovic has withdrawn from next week’s Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati because of his COVID-19 vaccination status. The unvaccinated tennis star’s participation in the US Open, which begins on Aug. 29, is still uncertain.

The hard-court tournament in Cincinnati is set to take place Aug 13- 21. At this moment, unvaccinated foreigners are not allowed to travel to Canada or the United States. Earlier this month, Djokovic had to pull out from the Canadian Open in Montreal. He also had to miss the Australian Open in January after being deported from the country due to his unvaccinated status.

Djokovic has won the US Open three times and was the runner-up last year, falling to Daniil Medvedev in the title game. The Serbian star has registered 21 major championships and is still fresh off his seventh career Wimbledon title. He only needs one more Grand Slam title to tie Rafael Nadal for the men’s record, but he has already said publicly that he does not intend on getting the vaccine.

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“I’m not vaccinated and I’m not planning to get vaccinated so the only good news I can have is them removing the mandated green vaccine card or whatever you call it to enter United States or exemption,” Djokovic said after his Wimbledon win. “I don’t know. I don’t think exemption is realistically possible. If that is possibility, I don’t know what exemption would be about.”

Djokovic doesn’t necessarily need to rule out the US Open yet, as the CDC could still change its guidelines to allow unvaccinated travelers into the country in the next few weeks.

“This updated guidance is intended to apply to community settings,” reads the CDC page. “In the coming weeks CDC will work to align stand-alone guidance documents, such as those for healthcare settings, congregate settings at higher risk of transmission, and travel, with today’s update.”

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Phillies' OF Matt Vierling prevents Mets from winning in walk-off fashion after throwing out Starling Marte at home

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The Philadelphia Phillies defeated the New York Mets in extra innings after OF Matt Vierling threw out a tagging Starling Marte who would have been the winning run.



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