The Cincinnati Reds made it official last night, they added four new players to the 40-man roster. Here is a breakdown of the players that were added and some reasoning behind why they were added.
Those who were protected and added to the 40-man roster
Tucker Barnhart – Catcher
Barnhart is easily the best catching prospect in the system. His defense is already Major League ready and he has shown that his bat will play at the Double-A level after hitting .260/.348/.348 this season with the Pensacola Blue Wahoos. Still young, his bat should continue to develop. He was the most obvious guy to protect with everyone figuring he was an easy option to add.
Ryan LaMarre – Center Fielder
I listed LaMarre as a “so-so” candidate yesterday afternoon to be added to the roster. From a production standpoint, he has had his fair share of struggles. He hit just .245/.327/.368 this season with Pensacola. With that said, he finished the year very strong over the final two months at the plate as he hit .281/.351/.459. Defensively he is an outstanding center fielder and he has speed to use on the bases as well. His power hasn’t matched up with his power potential, but there is room for growth there too.
Juan Duran – Outfielder
This was the most surprising of the additions to the roster. Duran was listed as a “so-so” candidate on my list yesterday, but he was a guy that I felt wouldn’t be selected by anyone but fell into the category of “could be rewarded and added in order to give him some motivation to take things to the next level”, much like I felt they did when they added Yorman Rodriguez last year. Duran isn’t ready to hit or play the field at the Major League level. He did show improvements across the board in 2013 though, which is always a good sign and he certainly has tools to work with.
Chad Rogers – Right Handed Pitcher
Of all of the pitchers who were eligible, Rogers stood out among them all. While his stuff wasn’t the best, his polish and stuff was. He has shown he can perform in the upper minor leagues and in the Arizona Fall League over the past 8 weeks. I believe most expected he and Barnhart to be the easy picks for additions to the roster.
Unprotected players with the best chance of being selected
Chris Manno – Left Handed Pitcher
He could be selected because left handed pitching is always at a premium and he has always missed bats, with 239 strikeouts in 190 minor league innings. He may go unselected because his stuff doesn’t jump off of the table at you and despite being left handed, he pitched better against right handers each of the last two years.
Drew Hayes – Right Handed Pitcher
He could be selected because he has posted strong ERA numbers prior to 2013 and has a career ERA of 3.32 and 239 strikeouts in 208.2 innings and he performed well in the Arizona Fall League earlier this offseason. He has two above-average pitches as well. He could go unselected because he has really struggled with control, walking 5.1 hitters per 9 innings at the Double-A level where he has spent his last two seasons.
Felix Perez – Outfielder
He could be selected as a 4th/5th outfielder as he can play all three outfield positions. He will be 29-years-old next season, so he isn’t likely to do much improving moving forward, but he has hit .280 over the last two seasons in Triple-A with the Louisville Bats and has solid plate discipline. Not a big upside pick, but could be a solid last guy off of the bench.
Jamie Walczak – Right Handed Pitcher
He could be selected as a long man type of reliever with solid stuff. He has started as recently as 2012 and posted a 2.95 ERA in 2013 with 54 strikeouts in 42.2 innings. He could go unselected because he struggled with his control at the Double-A level as he walked 17 batters in 33 innings for Pensacola.
Josh Smith – Right Handed Pitcher
He could be selected as a potential starter, reliever, long reliever or swingman. He has had success in both the bullpen and rotation as a professional. He posted a 3.26 ERA in 160 innings with 139 strikeouts in Double-A Pensacola this past season. He has solid stuff as a starter that could play up as a reliever with good polish. He could go unselected because his stuff doesn’t leap off of the table at you.
Junior Arias – Center Fielder
He could be selected, and in my mind may be the most likely to be selected from the Reds, because the only thing he can’t be used for at this stage in his career is to hit for average. He could come off of the bench and hit a fastball for some pop, come in as a pinch runner and steal bases or even just run faster than anyone else you have on your team and he could play the outfield for you or even third base in a pinch. He could go unselected because his plate approach is very raw and he was handled by California League pitching for the most part.
Tim Crabbe – Right Handed Pitcher
He could be selected as a starter or reliever with solid stuff and a guy who showed control for the first time in his career during 2013. He posted a 3.06 ERA in 2013, mostly at Double-A Pensacola but with 12.2 innings in Triple-A Louisville. He threw 153 innings. He could go unselected because his stuff is just solid and while his control was better in 2013 he missed bats far less frequently than he has in the past.
Travis Mattair – First/Third Base
He could be selected as a strong defender at the infield corner spots who could back up and come off of the bench to give a solid at bat and provide some pop off of the bench. He could go unselected because he struggled to hit at times in Double-A this season and corner infield only guys aren’t always the most ideal bench players because of limited flexibility.
Wandy Peralta – Left Handed Pitcher
He could be selected as a left handed reliever who shows above-average stuff. He posted a 3.80 ERA in Low-A Dayton pitching mostly out of the Dragons bullpen with 79 strikeouts and 41 walks in 85.1 innings. He could go unselected because of his lack of experience above the Low-A level and his iffy walk rate.