The Cincinnati Reds have made a recent habit of using the Rule 5 Draft in more tangible ways than many of their peers. Last year, of course, they landed catcher Stuart Turner from Minnesota and managed to keep him on the roster through the entire year (minus a DL stint), thereby keeping him in the organization going forward. The year prior, outfielder Jake Cave made a serious run at landing an Opening Day roster spot before ultimately being returned to the Yankees organization.
This year the Reds remained relatively quiet, as Thursday’s Rule 5 Draft ended with Cincinnati’s roster unchanged at the end. That’s not to say they weren’t active, though, as they used the 5th overall selection to pluck RHP Brad Keller from the Arizona Diamondbacks - it’s just that he was immediately traded to the Kansas City Royals for some cold, hard cash.
Today, the #Reds selected RHP Brad Keller from the D-backs in the Rule 5 Draft and traded him to the Royals for a PTBNL or cash. The club did not lose any players in the Major League Phase.— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) December 14, 2017
Keller, 22, was an 8th round pick out of high school in Georgia in 2013, and owns a 3.77 ERA in 541.1 IP through his AA experience almost exclusively as a starter. But with a 1.36 career WHIP and a K/BB ratio that has continued to slide under 2 as he rises through the minors, I think I can safely say this won’t be a player the Reds will rue losing anytime soon - and if that’s the case, cash is better than no cash.
The AAA portion of the draft did see the Reds do some business, however. In continuing their trend of adding former 1st round draftees in MiLB transactions, they plucked 3B Mitch Nay from Toronto to presumably help bolster the infield depth at Louisville. Given than Dilson Herrera is out of options and Nick Senzel doesn’t figure to spend much time in AAA before a big league promotion, that’s not a bad idea despite the fact that Nay has never hit with any sort of promise since going 58th overall in the 2012 1st round. He’ll join D.J. Peterson - Seattle’s 1st rounder from 2013 - at Louisville it would appear.
Finally, as noted in the linked-to tweet above, the Reds lost pitchers Eduardo Rivera and Sandy Lugo to San Francisco and Minnesota, respectively, the AAA round. Rivera had just signed with the Reds in November after having posted a 1.90 ERA and impressive strikeout numbers in 23.2 innings in the Yankee organization - though it’s importantly worth emphasizing that came as a 24 year old in low-A after an incredibly spotty track record at even lower levels. Lugo, however, has been a Red his entire MiLB career dating back to 2014, and he’s fresh off 70.0 IP of 5.01 ERA ball split between Dayton and Daytona in 2017.