The Cincinnati Reds currently have more outfielders than they have starting spots available. But, what they don’t have, is multiple center field options. Billy Hamilton is the only true center fielder on the 40-man roster. He’s also the only true center fielder the Reds have above A-ball right now, too. While I’d be surprised to see the organization select someone who plays only corner outfield, with Hamilton on the trade market and no options internally to replace him, grabbing a center fielder in the Rule 5 Draft could make sense.

Carlos Tocci is probably the biggest name among the outfield group. He’s ranked as highly as #5 in the Phillies system in the past, but has seen his stock fall a bit from there. The now 22-year-old spent most of his year in Double-A where he hit .307/.362/.398 on the season. That came with a high contact rate, but without much power. He struggled in a brief call up to Triple-A in 17 games.

The Cubs have an interesting option available in Charcer Burks. The former 9th round pick in 2013 spent all of 2017 in Double-A. He hit .270/.370/.395 on the season with 69 walks and 107 strikeouts. He gets on base, has enough pop to keep pitchers honest (hit 10 home runs in 2017, 11 in 2016) and can handle center field. He’s spent plenty of time in left field, too. So this kind of pick may come down to just how your scouts feel about his abilities in center.

Roemon Fields isn’t ideal as a starter, because he’s got less power in his bat than even Billy Hamilton does. He hit .291/.355/.352 in Triple-A last season as a 26-year-old. He stole 50 bases on the year, so he does bring value there, and he can go get it in center. But he also has hit a total of seven home runs in 442 minor league games.

Ian Miller could be another name to keep an eye on. He had a good year in Double-A, but in 41 Triple-A games he had real struggles. In Arkansas he had an .812 OPS in 83 games, but that dropped by .201 points in 41 Triple-A games with Tacoma. His plate discipline dropped off at the highest level.  Miller has big time speed, stealing 40+ bases in the minors multiple times.

The Baseball America list has a few more names to look at, but these guys seem like the most likely options.

Will the Reds select an outfielder

As noted above, if the Reds take an outfielder I believe it will be someone who is a center fielder. I can’t imagine a scenario where they take a corner outfielder who isn’t capable of playing center field on a daily basis if needed. They have those guys in the organization already. Scott Schebler can back up center every so often if needed. Phillip Ervin can as well. It just doesn’t seem that the need is there for a corner type of guy.

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20 Responses

  1. Colorado Red

    Looking at the list, I would not mind the Reds taking a flyer on Fields.
    At 350 OBP is much better then Billy.
    Plus, if we trade Billy soon, it would open a spot for him to play.
    Plenty of speed, and Stolen Bases.

    • Doug Gray

      Fields is like Hamilton, though, in the sense, that I’d expect the walks to dry up in the Majors because pitchers will have no reason at all to fear throwing him strike after strike after strike.

      • David

        If they pitch strike after strike than Fields will usually be on base and the Reds will tally plenty of RBI’s. I think he will stay in the Jays system. Mariners or Angels should grab him while he’s cheap though. I think his ceiling is a long way off.

  2. The Duke

    So I guess my top 5 for the rule 5 (ensuring that we’d get one of them) would be:

    Burch Smith
    Nick Burdi
    Anyelo Gomez
    Charcer Burks
    Carlos Tocci

    • Piggly Wiggly

      Burch Smith is the one if he is there. Just because he could fill multiple roles all season long. Burdi is a very good second choice. Reds can definitely put him on DL until August if he is ready then. Even with Burdi, it would be worth going into the 2019 season for him to meet the requirements of getting out of the Rule 5 required days. I might pass if both are already selected before #5. There might be 1 or 2 others to consider here, but that is stretching it a little wee bit.
      I think they will use 1 40-man roster spot here if they can get who they covet, one of those 2 pitchers.

      • Colorado Red

        Traded Keller for cash/PTBNL to the Royals.
        So, they payed 100K for him. I would hope the cash is > 100K.

      • Doug Gray

        I’m sure they’ll get more money if they take cash instead of a player to be named in this transaction.

    • Shamrock

      Heck, it’d be the equivalent of 1995 when we traded Deion Sanders to the Giants for little Darren Lewis. (Dang, history certainly has a way of repeating itself)

    • Doug Gray

      He’s got speed. He’s not a plus runner, but he’s definitely above-average.

  3. Scott C

    My question would be, we talk about players having no power because they only hit (x) number of home runs. I know home runs are a part of the power game but isn’t hard contact just as much to do with power as anything else. I would think that a player who makes consistent hard contact could tweak his swing and get more power. That would seem much better than a guy who makes less hard contact but hits an occasional fly ball that goes over the fence.

    • Doug Gray

      Home runs can’t be caught. Hard contact can be. And is, often enough. That’s one reason why home runs matter way more than hard contact.

  4. Wes

    Man hope the marlins got a lot more than alcantara for Ozuna! If marlins give him away too they are the worst new ownership in mlb history!

    Deal should start with Flaherty and Gonzales with atleast 1 more piece.