The Rule 5 draft is tomorrow. Today I wanted to look at a few Reds guys who have a chance of being selected and a who the Reds may select.
Let’s start with the arms. Justin Freeman throws in the low 90′s with a good slider. He is coming off of a season in AA Pensacola where he posted a 2.91 ERA with 16 walks and 68 strikeouts in 68 innings pitched. Freeman isn’t a guy who will wow the scouts, but at some point results matter and he has had them for his entire career and his stuff is of Major League quality. Tim Crabbe is another guy who throws in the low 90′s with his fastball and he throws a good change up and mixes in a slider/cutter as well. He struggled in AA with the Blue Wahoos, but was very strong in the second half with the Blaze. He showed much better control in the second half. A team could be interested in his as a reliever where he could focus on his fastball/change up. Mark Serrano, like the others, has a low 90′s fastball to work with and he mixes in an above-average slider. He too was in Pensacola and posted a 3.95 ERA in 93.1 innings with 30 walks and 95 strikeouts.
I think there is probably only one position player at risk and that is Josh Fellhauer. While he was used almost exclusively as a platoon outfielder against right handed pitching, he profiles very well as a fourth outfielder. He hit .314/.409/.420 with 54 walks and 54 strikeouts in 399 plate appearances. He can play defense at all three position in the outfield, has some solid speed and a good plate approach. Again, not a guy with the tools that will wow anyone, but he has produced and has solid tools to work with.
Who the Reds could select
There may not be any specific player that I can peg as a potential Reds pick, especially as they have one of the last picks so it would be really tough to nail down a specific player. With that said, I think we can look at specific areas of need. On the big league club the rotation and the bullpen are full. The player would need to stick on the 25-man roster all season long and I just can’t see the Reds selecting a pitcher who they would give priority over anyone on the current pitching staff. The Reds outfield seems full with Stubbs, Heisey, Bruce, Paul and whoever they bring in for left field. That leaves up the infield, where the starters seem good to go, but the backups are in serious question. This is exactly where the Reds could look to bring someone in to compete for a position. They need someone who can first and foremost cover shortstop because the Reds won’t go without someone on the bench who can do that. Ideally this player would also have a decent bat, which aside from one season from Miguel Cairo, the Reds back up infielders have sorely lacked over the last few years.
Jonathan Mayo has up his Top 20 Rule 5 eligible prospects at MLB.com if you wanted to check it out and familiarize yourself with some of the names. Mayo’s list is pitching heavy with no one who fits where I think the Reds should be looking to fill their needs. There are a few former top prospects available.
Baseball America has up a subscriber only two part series. You can see part one at this link and check out part two here. In part two there is one guy who could fit the profile that I believe the Reds desperately need. Cole Figueroa (stats) is a second baseman who has spent a small amount of time at shortstop and third base in his career. He also has more walks than strikeouts in his career, so he brings a solid plate approach as well. He seems like a perfect fit for the Reds bench in my opinion.