Mariel Bautista has been in the system since 2014, but bashed his way into our prospect rankings for the first time after a solid 2018 season. An infielder joins the ballot today, so vote for #16!
Keury Mella, 25, RHP
Highest 2018 Level: MLB (Reds)
Eye-Poppingest Fact: 3.00 ERA across 108 AA and AAA innings, 8.4 K/9, 3.1 BB/9
Most Worrisome Fact: He’s gotten destroyed at the MLB level, slow development, and can he start?
Alias(es): Hella Mella, Mellow Yellow, Hot Keury
It feels like this guy has been around forever, and he kind of has. The Reds traded for Keury Mella in 2015, when he was 21 years old, as the headliner in the trade for Mike Leake. Adam Duvall was more of the throw in after thought until he started bashing the ball. Mella was the Giants #1 prospect so he was obviously the big snag. Ever since, he’s been toiling around in the Reds minors where he shows flashes of brilliance and at other times frustration.
To be honest, I was unsure about adding Mella to this list even at this point. However, the experts have him slotted around this spot so I’m going to err towards their expertise. Mella is a power pitcher with a hard mid to high 90’s fastball, an above average slider, and an average change up. While that all sounds real nice, he often has problems locating those pitches and can lose his control completely. This tends to lead to higher walks, and in his case getting smacked around a bit too much. Even then, his superior stuff hasn’t always translated to great strikeout numbers.
Mella has helped out the Reds the past two years by coming up when the rotation and/or the bullpen was short and proving so much needed relief for the parent club. However, most of those outings were disastrous for his final line and put some speculation into some as to whether he’s really got the stuff. Still, scouts are pretty high on his arm even if there is more belief in him being a reliever. With the recent moves the Reds have made, and the short time they have to control him, it’s very likely the pen is his new home. Based on his 2018 minor league season and that stuff, there is still reason to believe he could reach that potential of mid rotation starter.
Hendrik Clementina, 21, C
Highest 2018 Level: A (Dayton)
Eye-Poppingest Fact: 18 HR, 33 BB in 376 at bats. .229 ISO
Most Worrisome Fact: Speculation about whether or not he’ll be able to hit advanced pitching and his skills behind the plate. 26.3% K% last year.
Alias(es): Oh My Darlin’ Clementina, The Mighty Hendrik, Sweet Juicy Clementina
Hendrik Clementina has been with the Reds for a relatively short time (a little more than a year). He was brought to town in the trade where the Reds shipped off Tony Cingrani to the Dodgers. Quietly, Clementina had one of the better years out of anyone at Dayton. He hits for some obvious power and isn’t adverse to getting on base. His year totaled up for a .268/.327/.497 slash line. He hit a total of 41 extra base hits while being Dayton’s full time catcher for the most part.
The knock on Clementina will probably always be whether or not he’ll be able to advance his hit tool against more superior pitching talent. He’s had his ups and downs in his career but really had a strong 2018. Scouts also worry about his ability to stick behind the plate. His arm is pretty decent and his pass ball numbers and caught stealing numbers were pretty normal. Everything here makes Hendrik look like quite project going forward but there’s some obvious upside to be had. Hopefully, he continues to pound the hell out of the ball in Daytona.
Jose Israel Garcia, 20, SS/2B
Highest 2018 Level: A (Dayton)
Eye-Poppingest Fact: Great arm and solid defender.
Most Worrisome Fact: 19 walks against 112 strikeouts last season.
Alias(es): Say It Ain’t Jose, Cherry Garcia, Holy Land
Jose Israel Garcia was signed out of Cuba in the summer of 2017 to a $5 million bonus. 2018 was our first chance to get a look at Garcia, as he did not play in a single game after signing with the Reds in 2017. Unfortunately for Garcia, things did not get off to a great start. He hit .202/.248/.274 in the first half of the season in low-A Dayton, but bounced back in the second half. He had an overall line of .245/.290/.344 in 2018.
His biggest strengths are his arm and his athleticism. He split time at shortstop and second but saw most of his time at short. Even though he is tall at 6’3”, all reports say that he defended his position well. His biggest issues are his power and plate discipline. While he had 22 doubles on the season in 2018, he only knocked 6 dingers. The bigger issue was his plate discipline, as he struck out 112 times while only drawing 19 walks. That will obviously have to improve if he wants to continue to advance.
Who is the Reds #16 prospect?
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Jose Israel Garcia