Tue, 12 Dec 2017 20:18:19 +0000 en-US hourly 1 4444956 Will the Cincinnati Reds trade Billy Hamilton? Tue, 12 Dec 2017 19:45:11 +0000 Cincinnati Reds center fielder Billy Hamilton is drawing interest from a handful of teams at the Winter Meetings, but will the Reds trade him?

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Billy Hamilton has been the Cincinnati Reds center fielder since the start of the 2014 season. He’s been incredible in the field. He’s been incredible on the bases. But, he’s been terrible at the plate. Over the last three seasons only JJ Hardy has posted a worse wRC+ with the bat. By one point. Essentially, Hamilton is arguably the worst hitter in the Major Leagues, and there haven’t been any signs of improvement along the way.

Despite the clear struggles with his bat, teams are very interested in his services according to Ken Rosenthal.

Billy Hamilton’s skillset may be better suited for larger ballparks. With bigger gaps, both his defense, and offense, could play up. Defensively his range would shine, and more space in the gaps could allow a few more hits to find the grass, and with his speed, maybe a few more extra-base hits, too.

As Ken Rosenthal notes, the Giants are very interested. They have an enormous center field to cover, and Hamilton would certainly help with that. At the same time, the Giants had one of, if not the worst offenses in baseball in 2017. Billy Hamilton doesn’t help much there.

Of note in the tweet is that Rosenthal said the Reds outfielders, with an s. You’d have to imagine that means teams are asking about Adam Duvall and Scott Schebler, too. They are both under team control for longer than Hamilton, and are still making the league minimum. That gives the Reds a little more room to not “need” to trade either of them. But, it also gives both players more value because they are cheap and locked up for a handful of years.

The Cincinnati Reds, if they do trade Billy Hamilton, would need to likely acquire a center fielder from outside of the organization. While they’ve talked about the idea of Scott Schebler in center field, I have seen nothing that suggests they believe he should be out there every day. With how they used Phillip Ervin when Billy Hamilton was hurt late in the season, it doesn’t seem they believe he should be playing out there every day either. There’s no on in the upper minor leagues that’s a true center fielder in the organization at this point. If Hamilton is moved, finding another center fielder would be an absolute must.


Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer just posted a report that says the following about a Billy Hamilton to the Giants trade:

The source said that talks are advanced enough that something could be completed before the Winter Meetings end Thursday at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort. However, the source said that’s no guarantee a deal is ultimately struck.

Hold onto your butts.

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Rule 5 Draft Preview: The Infielders Tue, 12 Dec 2017 16:33:03 +0000 Former Cincinnati Reds prospect Zach Vincej is one of the few options available in the Rule 5 Draft who can handle shortstop.

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Yesterday we looked at several pitchers that would be good targets for the Cincinnati Reds in Thursday morning’s Rule 5 Draft. Today we will take a look at the infielders that could be available.

The Reds need someone who can handle shortstop. While they have Jose Peraza, he is the only player on the 40-man roster who seems capable of being an every day defender at the position. After losing Zach Vincej on waivers to Seattle, they also don’t have anyone set for Triple-A who can handle the spot there, either. Perhaps a minor league free agent can be signed to provide that defensive depth for now. But, there could be options in the Rule 5 Draft, too.

One guy that jumps out that could fill a need for the Reds is Pirates prospect Pablo Reyes. He was 23-years-old last season and spent the entire year in Double-A. He has spent the last two seasons roaming center field and playing both shortstop and second base. Reyes is capable of playing all of the spots defensively. At the plate he was solid, hitting .274/.356/.410 in 115 games. He walked 51 times with 70 strikeouts and had 10 home runs. He struggled on the bases. While the infielder stole 21 bases he was also caught 14 times. Speed is clearly there, but he needs to use it better.

The other option that makes the most sense from a shortstop perspective is Zach Vincej. He can handle the position every day, defensively. There are some questions about his bat and how it would play in the Majors, he makes contend at a good rate and held his own at the plate in Triple-A last year. It may look bad if the Reds selected him, though. They could have just kept him two months ago and been able to option him to the minors instead of having to keep him on the 25-man roster all year. But, Vincej certainly could fit a need that the Reds currently have.

The Baseball America list has a few defensive first shortstops, but both have struggled mightily at the plate in Double-A (or lower) that I just can’t see them making much sense for the Reds.

Will the Reds select an infielder?

Beyond shortstops it’s tough to see where the Reds would be looking. The 40-man roster already has three catchers on it, and carrying a 3rd catcher on the 25-man roster for a second straight year seems impossible. The team already has eleventy-billion options for second base, and Dilson Herrera must remain on the 25-man roster as it is in 2018. If the Reds don’t go shortstop, I’d be incredibly surprised to see them take an infielder on Thursday. The other positions just aren’t ones of need.

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Cincinnati Reds #22 Prospect: Gavin LaValley Tue, 12 Dec 2017 05:04:06 +0000 Cincinnati Reds prospect Gavin LaValley hit 22 home runs between the Florida State and Southern Leagues in the 2017 season.

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Gavin LaValley returned to Daytona to start his 2017 season. In the first game of the year he went 2-4, but then went into a bit of a slump over the next week. From April 14th through the 28th he had hits in 13 of the 14 games, hitting .358 with five doubles and six home runs. In the last two games he would go 0-7. Overall it was a very good opening month for LaValley, hitting .293/.330/.587 with seven home runs.

May didn’t get out to a good start. In the first half of the month, Gavin LaValley went 9-49 with just one double. For as rough as the first half of the month was, the second half was just as good. In the final 14 games of May he hit .377/.433/.830 with six doubles and six home runs. While inconsistent, for the month he performed well. In 115 plate appearances the first baseman hit .284/.348/.529.

Gavin LaValley started out June by going 11-34 in the first eight games and hitting two more home runs, pushing his season total to 15. On June 17th he took part in the Florida State League All-Star game and took full advantage of the spotlight. LaValley hit two home runs, both two run shots to help his side take home the win. The 22-year-old was promoted to Double-A for the final week of the month. With Pensacola he got out to a hot start, hitting .370 over the final week with two doubles and two homers.

For as hot as Gavin LaValley was to end June, he was that cold over the first 17 days of July. He went just 9-57 (.158) in 16 games over that span. Like previous months, he turned things around down the stretch. Over the final 12 games of the month he went 18-48 (.375) with five doubles. The surge wasn’t enough to overcome the slow start this time as he finished July with a .257/.319/.371 line.

August began with another slump for Gavin LaValley. In the first nine games of the month he went 4-36 (.111) with 13 strikeouts. He would rebound over the next four games, going 6-18 with two doubles, but then went into another big slump. For the next week he went 1-19. Things would pick up from there for LaValley, finishing out the final two weeks of the season by hitting .333 in 12 games. It was a rough stretch over the final five weeks where he hit .217/.268/.261 over 127 plate appearances.

For all 2017 Season Reviews and Scouting Reports – click here (these will come out during the week throughout the offseason).

Gavin LaValley Spray Chart

*includes playoff games*

Gavin LaValley Scouting Report

Hitting | Gavin LaValley can and does use the entire field. That’s the good. But, he’s really only done damage, both for hits and power, to the pull side throughout his career. His hit tool is a little below-average.

Power | This is where Gavin LaValley can shine. If we include the All-Star game and three playoff games, he hit 22 home runs this season. While his power dropped off with his promotion to Double-A, he’s got above-average power potential with 20+ homers in the future not being unrealistic.

Running | He’s a well below-average runner.

Arm | His arm is average, though at first base it doesn’t come into play very often.

Defense | Almost all of his time came at first base in 2017 after seeing some action at third base in previous seasons. While he could probably still be a backup caliber player at third, it would seem his future is going to be at first base. There’s still some work to be done at first base, but he’s capable over there now.

Gavin LaValley’s future in the Reds organization is one of uncertainty. He plays the same position as Joey Votto, who doesn’t seem to be going anywhere for quite a while. If you produce, someone will find a place for you though, even if it’s not the current team you are with. LaValley hit quite well in the first half with Daytona, but he struggled in his time in the second half. Double-A pitchers were able to take advantage of his pitch recognition a little bit more and it led to less contact and combined with the ballpark in Pensacola, much less power, too. His OPS in Pensacola was 136 points lower than it was when he was on the road, and it was almost all due to a 126 point slugging advantage away from Pensacola.

The power will play in the future. Where Gavin LaValley will need to show improvements is in finding more consistency and with his pitch recognition moving forward. He will only be 23-years-old next year and likely returning to Double-A Pensacola. The pop is the selling point for LaValley, but if he can improve offensively a little bit in other areas (small boosts to his average and walk rate) there’s starter potential at first base in the long haul (even though it probably wouldn’t be for the Reds).

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Rule 5 Draft Preview: The Pitchers Mon, 11 Dec 2017 15:32:28 +0000 The Rule 5 draft will take place on Thursday morning to wrap up the Winter Meetings. Which pitchers stick out as possible picks for the Cincinnati Reds?

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The Rule 5 Draft will take place on Thursday morning at 9am. The Cincinnati Reds will have the 5th pick in the draft if they choose to participate. They currently have a 40-man roster with two roster spots open. That means it’s possible that they could make two selections like they did two seasons ago. Neither player selected stuck to the roster that season. Last year they selected two players as well, though one was immediately traded to San Diego. They kept Stuart Turner all season.

Today we are going to look at the pitchers that could be available. We will look at infielders and outfielders the next two days. Pitchers are generally the easiest players to select for teams. They can usually be hidden in the bullpen, used in long relief, and generally stick more often than position players.

The Cincinnati Reds certainly could use some pitching. They probably aren’t looking to add a starting pitcher from the Rule 5 draft, though. They seem to have plenty of options there, but they could grab someone who is currently a starter and use them in the bullpen. That guy could also provide depth at starter down the road if needed. Baseball America has a good list that is a nice starting point.

The top guy on the Baseball America list is right hander Burch Smith. The Rays pitcher missed the 2015 and 2016 seasons after having Tommy John surgery. He returned in 2017 and showed big stuff, but also showed some rust. The bullpen would be a good destination to put him and just let the stuff play. Of course, he may not be there for the taking for the Reds, either.

The third player on their list is Cale Coshow from the Yankees. He is an incredibly intriguing guy. He’s got two above-average offerings to work with in his fastball and slider. He has started in the past, and found success in the role. However, in the upper minor leagues he’s mostly been used as a reliever. Between Double-A and Triple-A in 2017 he posted a 3.75 ERA in 60.0 innings with 24 walks (4 intentional) and 76 strikeouts. A solid walk rate and two above-average pitches could play in the bullpen, especially if you can pick and choose his spots earlier in the season.

The most intriguing arm in the entire Rule 5 draft to me, though, might be a guy who won’t pitch in the first half of 2018. Nick Burdi underwent Tommy John surgery in May of 2017.The former Louisville Cardinal would have probably reached the Major Leagues with the Twins in 2017 had he not been injured. The 24-year-old spent the first six weeks of the season destroying the Southern League. In 17.0 innings he held Double-A opponents to just nine hits and posted a 0.53 ERA with four walks (1 intentional) and struck out 20 batters. His fastball works in the mid-to-upper 90’s when he is healthy and he’s touched triple digits.

Another Yankees prospect that is rather interesting is Raynel Espinal. He missed the 2015 season, though I can’t track down why. The now 26-year-old right hander doesn’t have much experience in the upper minor leagues. He’s only thrown 19.2 innings above A-ball, all coming in 2017 for Trenton. He’s coming off an absolutely dominant season between three levels. The right hander posted a 1.09 ERA between Low-A, Advanced-A and Double-A with 15 walks and 93 strikeouts in 74.1 innings. Aside from his age and lack of experience in the upper minors, he’s got one bit thing working against him: He’s been a big time fly ball pitcher in his career. There’s some stuff there, and he’s got arm strength.

The Yankees are loaded. Right hander Anyelo Gomez is another New York prospect that went unprotected. He saw action at four different levels in 2017. Gomez started in Low-A at age 24, but quickly moved up to Advanced-A and then to Double-A where he saw the most action. He even made one appearance in Triple-A. Between all of his stops he posted a 1.92 ERA in 70.1 innings with 21 walks and 87 strikeouts. He’s reached 100 MPH with his fastball and shows off a good change up. If you are going to target a true reliever, this seems like the kind of guy that would be at the top of your list.

There are some other names out there, but these are the guys that stood out to me the most. You can check out the Baseball America list and if you have a subscription there, you’ll get a whole lot of names. MLB Pipeline also has a much smaller list to check out. We’ll look at more guys tomorrow as potential options for the Reds.

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Cincinnati Reds #21 Prospect: Phillip Ervin Mon, 11 Dec 2017 05:09:52 +0000 Cincinnati Reds prospect Phillip Ervin showed some new things in 2017, but he still battled inconsistency in his time between the Minors and Majors.

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After a solid, but unspectacular season in 2016 with Pensacola, the Reds promoted Phillip Ervin to Triple-A. The outfielder started out the season with a 4-game hitting streak. That came with three walks along the way and stealing two bases. After going 0-3 on the 10th to end his hitting streak, he would put together a nice stretch over the next eight games, hitting .310 with three home runs and three doubles. Ervin would be promoted to the Major Leagues and make his debut on the 22nd as a pinch hitter. He would go 0-2 with a walk over three games – all in a reserve role, before being sent back to Louisville to finish out the month. Between the two stops he performed well, hitting .269/.329/.507 in 74 plate appearances.

May began with a massive slump for Phillip Ervin. He had just two games in which he had a hit over the first nine games played. That stretch spanned the first two weeks of the month. He hit just .061 over 35 plate appearances. While things improved in the second half of the month, they still didn’t go well. Ervin went 13-52 (.250) with four walks and just two extra-base hits. It was a very tough month as he hit just .176/.231/.200 on the month with six walks and 26 strikeouts in 92 plate appearances.

The first week of June followed the trend set in May for Phillip Ervin. The outfielder went 4-23 (.174) with just one extra-base hit. The next week things began to pick up. While he hit just .227, he walked six times with just two strikeouts and made his hits count as he slugged .409. The third week was another step forward for Ervin. He hit .391/.462/.478 in seven games played. The final week of June was a bit of a slump as he went just 4-20 (.200). Consistency was an issue, but he rebounded some from May, hitting .250/.359/.341 with 14 walks and 18 strikeouts in 104 plate appearances. He would also steal eight bases during the month.

July got out to a torrid start for Phillip Ervin. In the first week he went 11-26 with five extra base hits. In the second week he didn’t have any extra-base hits, but did go 5-14 (.357). The third week was more of the game. Ervin hit .310 and added in three extra-base hits in his seven games played. The final week of July was a bit of a slow down for the outfielder, who hit just .133 in 30 at-bats. Overall, the month was another step forward as Ervin hit .293/.352/.444 in 110 plate appearances with eight walks and 18 strikeouts. He also added another eight stolen bases.

August began with Phillip Ervin being called up to the Major Leagues. He spent a week on the bench, not playing before returning to Triple-A. Over the next week he hit .346 with four walks. He was then recalled to the Majors and saw actual playing time. Ervin entered the game on the 16th against the Cubs mid-way through and went 1-2 with his first Major League hit, a solo home run. He started the next day and went 3-4 with a double, walk and another home run while driving in four. After two pinch hit appearances, he wouldn’t play again for several days before being optioned back to the minors. Before playing, he returned to the Major Leagues. He would go 1-5 in his three games with the Reds to finish the month. In limited action between Triple-A and with the Reds he hit .385/.455/.667 over 45 plate appearances.

From the start of September through the 9th, Phillip Ervin would have a 6-game hitting streak, racking up a hit in each game. He would go into a slump the rest of the season as hit playing time dried up, going just 3-25 in the final three weeks of the year.

For all 2017 Season Reviews and Scouting Reports – click here (these will come out during the week throughout the offseason).

Phillip Ervin Spray Chart

*this is only for the minor leagues*

Phillip Ervin Scouting Report

Hitting | Ever since he was drafted, Phillip Ervin has been a big time pull-oriented hitter. That changed in 2017 as he worked to go the other way and actually hit the ball to right field more than left. It did help him have the highest average he’s had since 2013, but he still struggled to hit for average. At this point his hit tool is below-average despite a solid contact rate.

Power | While his slugging percentage has been low for most of his career, it’s been more because his average has been low than a lack of pop. He’s got average power in his bat.

Running | Phillip Ervin show off above-average to plus speed. He uses his speed well on the bases.

Arm | He shows an average arm that plays fine in left or in center, but would be below-average for a typical right fielder.

Defense | Phillip Ervin is an above-average defender thanks to his above-average to plus speed. The issue arises in that he’s below-average in center field, which is where his bat would play the best.

Phillip Ervin hasn’t exactly been beating the door down to the Major Leagues. He’s held his own each step of the way at the plate. Ervin has used solid power and a good ability to walk and steal bases to make up for a low batting average. Defensively, he’s capable of handling center field. But he would be towards the bottom in terms of defense among the capable starting caliber players in the Major Leagues. In the corners his bat simply doesn’t play as well.

While it’s probably a year too early to say that his future is very likely to be that of a 4th outfielder, that’s where things are looking towards right now. He simply hasn’t shown enough with the bat to make up for the center field defense he would provide to start every day in most scenarios. In the corners the bat just isn’t enough right now even with the good defense he would provide. With that said, he looks like an ideal backup outfielder right now. There’s some pop in his bat, he can cover you in all three spots in the outfield and he’s a strong baserunner.

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Should the Reds call the Marlins about their outfielders? Sun, 10 Dec 2017 17:45:15 +0000 The Miami Marlins seem that they are still in need of shedding some payroll. Should the Cincinnati Reds try acquiring one of their remaining outfielders?

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The Miami Marlins are open for business. After paying an insane $1.2B to buy the Miami Marlins, the new ownership group came in and started trying to find ways to immediately cut payroll as well as find more investors in the team. Over On Friday night and Saturday morning they made their first big move, trading Giancarlo Stanton to the New York Yankees. They reportedly still need to cut some payroll.

The Cincinnati Reds have more than a few needs. They need a shortstop, and they need a center fielder. They need pitching. The Marlins don’t exactly have much pitching. The Marlins don’t seem to have a shortstop worth looking into. What the Marlins do have is more outfielders. Both Christian Yelich and Marcell Ozuna are All-Star caliber players.

Marcell Ozuna may be the better player of the two right now. He’s a year older and is coming off of a year where he hit .312/.376/.548 with a 145 OPS+. After playing center field in 2016 the team shifted him to left in favor of Yelich. However, in a year in which the baseball was massively juiced, the 2017 season was not like the rest of the career for Ozuna. He had never previously posted an OPS over .773. From a contract standpoint, he has two years remaining on his deal and is due for a raise from his $3.5M salary that he got in 2017. After the year he had, arbitration will likely award him a big raise.

Christian Yelich is a year younger than Ozuna, he’ll be 26-years-old in 2018. Last season he wasn’t as good at the plate as Ozuna was, posting a .282/.369/.439 line with 16 steals in 18 attempts. After seeing some time in center the previous few seasons the Marlins moved him there full time in 2017. For his career he’s been a far more consistent player than Ozuna has been with a career OPS+ of 120, and it’s never been lower than 112. What really separates Ozuna and Yelich though, is their contracts. Yelich is under control for the next five seasons and is only owed $58M in that span (though you could cut $13.75M off and a year if you wanted to buy out his deal after 2021).

Both players would be a significant upgrade to the Cincinnati Reds, especially if you could play either of them in center field. Yelich has the much better contract, is a year younger, and at least in recent terms, plays the position that is of more need. The cost acquisition for the two players would vary quite a bit given their contracts, but both would likely require a strong package of players.

What could the Cincinnati Reds offer?

While I don’t have an exact idea of what it would take to make a trade for either player, I do believe the Reds could use their surplus at several spots in the organization to make an offer that could get the deal done. Starting pitching is a need for the Reds, but it’s also an area where the team has a lot of options to work with, too. Could they move one quality pitching prospect/young pitcher in the deal and likely not be completely barren? Yes, they could. While the team would be looking to acquire an outfielder in this deal, it’s also an area where they have depth that they could look to move in a deal. The same could be said among infielders.

Pitchers Outfielders Infielders
Sal Romano Jesse Winker Scooter Gennett
Robert Stephenson Adam Duvall Dilson Herrera
Tyler Mahle Scott Schebler Shed Long
Amir Garrett Billy Hamilton Alex Blandino
Cody Reed Taylor Trammell Jeter Downs
Jackson Stephens Jose Siri Miguel Hernandez
Jose Lopez Aristides Aquino Gavin LaValley
Vladimir Gutierrez Miles Gordon
Tony Santillan Stuart Fairchild
Jesus Reyes
Jimmy Herget

If the Reds were to pick one of those top three starting pitchers, and added in a few other players from the rest of the list, I believe that the offer would be strong enough to bring back Christian Yelich. For example, Tyler Mahle, Billy Hamilton, Taylor Trammell and Vladimir Gutierrez – I’d be surprised if that weren’t enough to bring him back. And in that scenario, while it’s a lot to give up, the Reds are likely better on the field for at least the next 3-4 years, and they don’t have the risk involved that the prospects don’t develop.

Is now the time to go for it?

The Reds are in a situation right now, I believe, like they were when they made the Mat Latos trade. They have enough depth in some areas that they could “overpay” to bring in an All-Star caliber player with team control and not have it crush the future. Is right now the time to make that kind of deal? I’m not sure, but you can’t always pick when a player like that is available on the market, either. When they are, you need to explore your options. The Winter Meetings kick off today. The Reds should be meeting with the Marlins before the sun goes down tonight. They have parts that the Reds desperately need and the Reds seem to have the pieces to make it work.

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Jose Siri keeps on hitting, other Reds notes Fri, 08 Dec 2017 17:36:07 +0000 Cincinnati Reds prospect Jose Siri has not skipped a beat after returning to the Dominican Winter League and a few other notes from the farm system.

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Jose Siri got out to a slow start in the Dominican Winter League in 2017. Early on he was used mostly as a pinch runner, but when he would get playing time beyond that it was inconsistent. In November that changed as he began to get starts and more consistent at-bats. At the end of the month he got a week off to travel to Cincinnati so he could participate at Redsfest.

He returned to the lineup for the Gigantes del Cibao on the 5th and he’s gone on a tear, picking up right where he left off. Jose Siri had gone 2-4 in all three games since heading back home to the Dominican Republic. The outfielder is now hitting .333/.365/.550 through 23 games and 60-at bats. He does have just two walks in that span, and it comes with 18 strikeouts. That’s a ratio that will need to improve, but the hits are coming right now in bunches. And he’s also stolen 10 bases in 11 opportunities.

Reds ask Kevin Canelon to work on his slider

The Cincinnati Reds signed left handed pitcher Kevin Canelon this past week to a minor league contract. As noted in the write up, he’s had reverse splits in his career. That usually happens due to a lackluster breaking ball. The Reds have reportedly asked Canelon to work on his slider this winter according to a local reporter in Venezuela. With even a slightly improved breaking ball he could turn into a real interesting pick up for the organization.

Brennan Bernardino is now pitching in Mexico

It’s been a long year for left handed pitcher Brennan Bernardino. His year began in March with spring training and he pitched all season long in Double-A Pensacola, throwing 40.1 innings over 38 games. After the season he got about a month off before heading to Arizona where he pitched for Scottsdale in the Arizona Fall League. Bernardino allowed just one earned run in 10.0 innings there over six appearances. Last week he joined Hermosillo in the Mexican Winter League and has now made three appearances.

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Cincinnati Reds #20 Prospect: Miguel Hernandez Fri, 08 Dec 2017 05:01:48 +0000 Cincinnati Reds shortstop prospect Miguel Hernandez split his 2017 season between the Dominican Summer League and the Arizona Rookie League.

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The 2017 season began in the Dominican Summer League for Miguel Hernandez. The shortstop got out to a bit of a slow start, going 1-12 over the first three games of the season for the Rojos. He really picked things up over the next 10 games, going 14-42 (.333) with six doubles and two triples. Hernandez slowed down a bit over the final nine games of June, hitting .273 with just two extra-base hits, but it did include his first home run and he walked twice as often as he struck out. For the month the 18-year-old hit .276/.347/.437 with nine walks and 14 strikeouts. He also stole eight bases in nine attempts.

After starting July by going 0-4, Miguel Hernandez went on a tear. Over the next seven games he would hit .419, going 13-31. Things took a step backwards over the next seven games as he went just 6-29 (.207), but he was promoted to the United States after that stretch. The Reds assigned him to the Arizona League Reds. In the final week he would go 8-22 (.364) with his new team to finish out the month. In 20 games between the two stops he would hit .314/.341/.360.

Miguel Hernandez ended July on a 5-game hitting steak and he kept it going into August by recording hits in three more games before going 0-3 in the second game of a double header on the 4th. After a brief slump the 18-year-old went on a strong run from August 9th through the end of the season. In those 20 games played he hit .333 with six extra-base hits, three walks and just eight strikeouts. Over the final 27 games of the year he hit .305/.328/.407 with three walks and 14 strikeouts.

For all 2017 Season Reviews and Scouting Reports – click here (these will come out during the week throughout the offseason).

Miguel Hernandez Spray Chart

Miguel Hernandez Scouting Report

Hitting | At just 18-years-old, Miguel Hernandez is already showing a good ability to hit. He’s able to use the entire field and his strikeout rate was just 13% between his two stops this season. He shows a potential for a slightly above-average hit tool right now.

Power | How much pop he develops will come down to how much more he fills out his frame. He’s put on about 15 pounds since he signed and there may be room to add some more good weight in the future. Double digit home runs isn’t out of the question for him.

Running | He’s got above-average speed.

Arm | He’s got an above-average arm.

Defense | Hernandez is an above-average to plus defender at shortstop.

The Cincinnati Reds showed confidence in Miguel Hernandez after beginning the year in the Dominican Summer League that he was ready to jump to the Arizona Rookie League and he didn’t disappoint. He stepped up in competition and improved his number offensively. His walk rate was lower than you would like to see, but he improved his contact rate and impressed big time with his defensive play.

At just 18-years-old there’s a long way from where he is at today and where he could be. For now, though, he’s already showing strong aspects of his game on defense and in making contact. There’s room for him to grow into some power in the future, though it may remain slightly below-average.

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Cincinnati Reds sign several minor league free agents Thu, 07 Dec 2017 17:48:38 +0000 The Cincinnati Reds have made two more minor league free agent signings, picking up left hander Kevin Canelon and outfielder Jared Mitchell.

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The Cincinnati Reds have added more Minor League free agents. Baseball America has a list of the recently signed free agents and there are two names listed that I haven’t written about. The Reds signed left handed pitcher Kevin Canelon and outfielder Jared Mitchell, among a group of others that have already been covered.

Kevin Canelon is an interesting pick up. He will turn 24-years-old in January and has never pitched above Advanced-A. Still, in 2017 he was quite successful for the St. Lucie Mets, who play in the same league as the Daytona Tortugas. He spent time in both the rotation and the bullpen, making 10 starts and 22 relief appearances. That time came with a 2.97 ERA in 78.2 innings with just 16 walks and 78 strikeouts.

The Venezuelan native showed off reverse splits in 2017. The left hander held right handed hitters to a .673 OPS with nine walks and 48 strikeouts in 217 plate appearances. Left handed hitters had an .830 OPS against him, though he had seven walks and 30 strikeouts in 112 plate appearances. In 2016 he also showed reverse splits.

Canelon has been pitching in the Venezuelan Winter League this offseason. Most of his time has come against right handed hitters out of the bullpen. He’s made eight appearances and thrown just 5.0 innings. In that time he’s given up just one run, walked no one and he’s struck out three batters for Tiburones de La Guaira.

The other free agent signing that hasn’t been covered is of Jared Mitchell. The outfielder was the 23rd overall pick in 2009 by the White Sox. There was a time when he was one of the top prospects in baseball, ranking inside the Top 100 early in his professional career. He had a strong debut in 2009 with Kannapolis, but he missed the next season with an ankle injury. Mitchell never seemed to recover from that to his former prospect value days.

What has plagued him over the years is the strikeout. In 2535 career minor league plate appearances he’s racked up 823 strikeouts. That’s 32% of the time. Mitchell last played affiliated ball in 2016 when he was with the Yankees in Double-A for 20 games. After his release he played for two different independent league teams, and returned to indy ball in 2017. With York in the Atlantic League he hit .295/.380/.489 in 122 games. He showed off some pop, smacking 34 doubles, three triples and 14 home runs. The strikeouts, however, also piled up. He had 122 strikeouts in 492 plate appearances, which is a 25% strikeout rate.

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Cincinnati Reds #19 Prospect: Jimmy Herget Thu, 07 Dec 2017 06:11:58 +0000 Cincinnati Reds prospect Jimmy Herget split his season between Double-A and Triple-A in 2017, dominating at times for each team.

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In 2016 Jimmy Herget established himself as one of, if not the top relief prospect in the organization after dominating for Daytona. The Reds sent him out to Pensacola to begin the 2017 season and he picked up where he left off the season before. Over his first five appearances he allowed just two baserunners and struck out 13 of the 19 batters he faced in 6.0 shutout innings. Each outing had multiple strikeouts. Herget continued his shutout appearance streak into the third week of the season against Jacksonville with back-to-back shutout innings with a strikeout each. He ran into some struggles in the final week of April, though, allowing four runs in 5.0 innings. The right hander made 11 appearances with a 2.77 ERA in 13.0 innings with five walks and 23 strikeouts for the Blue Wahoos during the month.

After pitching on the final day of April, Jimmy Herget didn’t appear in a game until May 6th. He threw a perfect inning against Chattanooga with two strikeouts. He didn’t pitch again for five more days, throwing another 2.0 shutout innings. The first half of the month saw him make just three appearances. The second half of May saw more frequent action. Herget pitched in six games in the final two weeks of the month and allowed just one run in 7.1 innings. For May he posted a 0.79 ERA in 11.1 innings with four walks and 15 strikeouts.

June began well enough for Jimmy Herget with three straight shutout outings. It was his 4th outing of the month that put a real damper on things. On June 10th he allowed four earned runs while recording just one out. That would be his last appearance for Pensacola. Herget was promoted to Triple-A, but went nine days between appearances. The first outing with Louisville was good for 2.0 perfect frames and four strikeouts. The final four games of the month saw the righty throw 3.2 shutout innings with a walk and three strikeouts. That final game with Pensacola ballooned his ERA for the month to 4.38 on the month in 12.1 innings with four walks and 16 strikeouts.

Jimmy Herget continued the strong finish of June into the first three weeks of July. He only made five appearances, going 10 days between outings on July 6th and the 16th. In the final week of the month he would hit a bump in the road, allowing runs in two of the four games. On the 27th he allowed three runs in 0.1 innings, which was the big blow to his ERA during the month. Herget saw his strikeouts disappear during the month with just five in 11.0 innings to go with a 3.27 ERA.

The final full month of the season got out to a strong start for Jimmy Herget. His first four outings he tossed a shutout inning in each appearance. Over the next week things didn’t go as well for the former South Florida pitcher, though. He allowed five runs in three appearances. His outing on the 19th was the last time he gave up a run on the season. Herget closed out the year with six consecutive shutout appearances that spanned 7.0 innings. Over the final five weeks he posted a 3.14 ERA in 14.1 innings with 13 strikeouts and five walks.

For all 2017 Season Reviews and Scouting Reports – click here (these will come out during the week throughout the offseason).

Jimmy Herget Scouting Report

Fastball | Most nights Jimmy Herget is throwing 91-94 MPH from a low 3/4 arm angle, almost sidearmed. Every so often he brings in the fastball in the 96 or 97 MPH range. The pitch shows good movement on the horizontal plane.

Slider | Herget’s slider works in the low 80’s. It’s an above-average offering that has more of a sweeping movement to it than a hard, downward break.

Jimmy Herget has dominated his way through the minor leagues, but he had some setbacks of sorts when he reached Triple-A. His strikeout rate dropped significantly at the level and he showed big splits, too. Against right handers in 20.2 innings he had a 0.87 ERA for the Bats. But against lefties his ERA was 6.94 in 11.2 innings. Small sample size issues are rampant there, but he did allow three home runs and had just eight strikeouts in that span.

He will generally throw strikes and his slider can be a put away pitch, particularly against right handers. There are some questions, though, about how effective he can be against lefties. His high fly ball rate could also be a little bit of a concern in a ballpark like Great American where fly balls tend to find the seats. His profile is that of a 7th inning reliever. Craftiness could allow his stuff to play up a little bit – he’ll change his timing to the plate, pause in the middle of his wind up, and alter his arm angle a little bit at times to mess with the hitter.

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