Today is the first day of February, and that means that Cincinnati Reds pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training in just 17 short days. As it happens, today is infielder Kristopher Negron‘s 29th birthday, and he would like nothing more than a shot at regular playing time in 2015. Negron is Number 17 on our Countdown Team.
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Selected by the Boston Red Sox in the seventh round of the 2006 draft, Negron scrapped his way through two minor league systems before making his Major League debut with the Reds in June of 2012. That summer, Negron got into four games as an outfielder and pinch-hitter, collecting just one hit in five plate appearances.
After another season, his fourth, with the Louisville Bats in 2013, Negron got another shot at the Bigs when Reds’ regulars began to drop like flies during the 2014 season. Last summer, Negron found his way into 49 games, batting .271 in 158 PAs and showing a little pop with six home runs. Significantly for the Reds, Negron displayed great versatility as he started games at shortstop, second base and third base, and he logged a couple of brief appearances in the outfield.
At 29 years of age and with a very limited Big League resume, Negron won’t crack the Reds’ starting lineup out of Spring Training, but his strong performance on the Riverfront gives him a decent shot at sticking with the team as a utility man when they break camp in a couple of months. He still has a chance to develop into the type of super-utility player who can help teams get over rough patches, and that’s a valuable commodity for a fragile team with a bulging payroll.