While the Cincinnati Reds outfield at the Major League level is seemingly overflowing with potential options, at the Minor League level, things aren’t quite as rosy. While there are three outfielders among the Reds Top 15 prospects, it’s not exactly a deep position for the farm system.

Baseball America just released their latest mock draft. This one had Carlos Collazo and an unnamed front office executive who has a specific focus on the draft alternating picks in the first round. When it came to the Cincinnati Reds spot, the player that was projected there was high school outfielder Austin Hendrick. The senior from West Allegheny High School in Imperial, Pennsylvania is rated as the 7th best prospect in the draft according to the initial rankings at Baseball America, while Fangraphs has him rated as the #14 prospect in the draft according to their most recent set of rankings. Here’s the Fangraphs “to long didn’t read” scouting report:

Hendrick is old for the class but evokes Cody Bellinger in frame and swing. As you can imagine, with the ultra-athletic swing comes with some swing-and-miss to go with the power.

You can also take a look at some video from last summer.

Austin Hendrick isn’t the only outfielder that could potentially be drawing some interest this summer from teams around Major League Baseball, though. Yeonis Cespedes has a younger brother who is looking to sign up with a Major League organization. Jesse Sanchez of MLB.com reported that 22-year-old Yoelkis Cespedes is planning on having showcases in both Florida and Arizona next month – though the exact dates for both have not been determined.

As of today, the younger Cespedes is not eligible to sign yet. He hasn’t played since 2017 when he was in New York playing for the Cuban National Team against teams from the Can-Am League and defected. His performance in the Cuban National Series was a bit mixed in terms of results. In the 2015/16 season he hit .257/.304/.311, but that also came as a 17-year-old. The next season he hit a much more impressive .297/.362/.460 in 90 games as an 18-year-old. As a 19-year-old he only played in 35 games and hit just .222/.282/.349 during the season. That was followed up with 20 games played in the Can-Am League where he would hit .273/.364/.351.

Today he’s a 22-year-old who has put on plenty of size and muscle since he last played. He is noticeably bigger and stronger, who has added about 20 pounds to his 5′ 9″ frame. Despite bulking up, he’s reportedly still a plus runner with 5-tool potential. It seems likely that he won’t sign until July 2nd due to the fact that 1, he’s still not eligible to sign because he hasn’t been approved by Major League Baseball, and 2, most teams have already spent their pool allotment in the current signing period, leaving few options to sign with teams that have 7-figures left to spend on a player. While many teams have already committed next year money to players, there’s more wiggle room there in the pools for most teams as well as more ability to trade for and acquire more slot pool money to spend.

5 Responses

  1. Doc

    I heard a comment on MLB during a guest interview about how predictions of number of projected team wins are determined. It was stated that a starting pitcher affects win projections more than a position player. For example, Gerritt Cole going to the Yankees has a greater effect on the Yankees and Astros win totals projections than does the Mookie Betts trade have on projections for the Sox and Dodgers. (Those were the two specific cases mentioned in the interview.)

    Given that, one would infer that a drafting club should look long and hard at the available pitching before settling on a position player.

    • Doug Gray

      I don’t know how much I’d put into that comment – I’d need a lot more context on what was said and what the heck they were citing as evidence to what they were citing.

      With that said, you take the best player in the draft regardless of what position they play given the odds that anyone you draft actually becomes a useful, much less a good player in the Major Leagues.

      • Andrew

        I tried to find the link again but couldn’t but I read something similar, though it was based on Sportsbooks in Vegas – SPs free agency and trade movement has consistently moved the line more than position players. And Vegas knows their numbers many would argue

      • Doug Gray

        Vegas sets the line where they believe they’ll get the most action (in their favor) – not necessarily where they believe the truth is. There’s a very important distinction here.

    • Big Ed

      Even if you buy that theory, hitters seem to be a lot more predictable and therefore safer. Cole, Strasburg and David Price (all college guys) were number 1 picks, but so were Brian Bullington, Luke Hochevar, Mark Appel and Brady Aiken. The hitters don’t all work out, either, but they seem to have a higher floor than the pitchers, Mickey Moniak notwithstanding.

      Picking 12th is a different animal than picking first or second, but Mike Trout was taken 25th, and Johnny Bench was 36th in a different era.