I don’t know what you guys were smoking, but I think Miller should have been way higher on the list.
TJ Friedl, 25, OF
Where he spent 2020: Alternate site
What excites you: Good speed, good defense, will take a walk
What concerns you: Lack of hit tool and iffy power.
It feels that we have grown old with TJ Friedl. I expected him to be like 30 years old. If you remember he was the product of some funky business back in 2016 when every team literally did not know he was draft eligible, and it sounds like he didn’t either, and the Reds were able to sign him as a FA after the draft because they had the most cash sitting around. At the time, he was considered to be 2nd round potential. Pretty neat! Since then Friedl has slowly been progressing through the minor league system, making all the way to AA as a 22 year old and sporting some pretty nifty numbers along the way. In 2019, though, his season was limited because he had an extra bone in his ankle that he broke? Something like that. Mutant.
Friedl’s scouted ceiling for a while now has been as a fourth outfielder. He’s left handed which gives him advantage off the bench, can run, and play centerfield. While the Reds left him unprotected in the 2015 Rule 5 draft, there is still some potential there for him to help the big league club in the future. The question will always be if he can hit enough to stick around. He does have some gap power but he will never be a dinger threat.
Joel Kuhnel, 26, RHP
Where he spent 2020: Cincytown
What excites you: Dude throws super hard.
What concerns you: He’s gotten beat around in the big leagues.
Joel Kuhnel is a monster of a man, coming in at 6’5 and tipping the scales at near 300 pounds. He uses all that potential energy to sling fastballs towards the plate at 100+ MPH hour. That part is really cool, and honestly Kuhnel has been kind of a fan favorite at Red Reporter for a couple years now because he’s fun. The dude has a legit 70 grade fastball and a slider that plays. His scouting grade for his control isn’t terrible, but he has shown some struggles with his command. While he doesn’t walk a ton of guys, it’s pretty likely he doesn’t always put the ball where he wants.
Due to some of these concerns, Kuhnel, has had some serious struggles when he’s been with the big league club. Mostly, he tries to live and die with that fastball and MLB hitters turn it around about as fast as he brings it in there. If he could find a little better command, and rely more his secondary offerings, Kuhnel has closer like potential. However, right now he’s relegated to AAAA/middle relief status, but he’s still fun.
Ryan Hendrix, 26, RHP
Where he spent 2020: Alternate Site
What excites you: Solid velocity and good swing miss ability with offspeed pitches.
What concerns you: Missed 3 months in 2019 with elbow injury. Walked 3.7 batters per 9 innings in 2019.
Ryan Hendrix was drafted in the 5th round of the 2016 amateur draft out of Texas A & M University. Since joining the Reds’ farm system, he has had a pretty solid career. He’s put up a 2.55 ERA in his 4 seasons, while striking out 12.2 batters per 9 innings. His velocity sits at 93-96 MPH and he has an overpowering curveball. Where he does well with making batters swing and miss, he struggles with his command and walking batters. He has averaged 4.0 walks per 9 innings in his career, which leaves a lot to be desired.
Hendrix spent his 2019 season in Double-A Chattanooga but missed about 3 months because of an elbow strain. When he did pitch, he put up pretty solid numbers, holding opposing batters to a .172/.255.218 slash line on the year. He projects as a late-inning bullpen option.
Mariel Bautista, 23, OF
Where he spent 2020: Alternate Site
What excites you: Good athlete, scores well in a lot of tools with plus power and plus defense.
What concerns you: Plate discipline. The guy needs to walk more and strikeout less.
Mariel Bautista is the case of that youngster that has all the tools but the chances of him figuring it all out is not real great. Taking off 2020 due to the pandemic likely didn’t help his career much either. Bautista has spent most of his time with the Reds in the variety of development and rookie leagues until 2019. Before that year, he showed really good ability at the plate. While he didn’t walk a ton, and his strikeout numbers were better than I thought they would be, he wasn’t able to transition all that success to Dayton. Now, I wouldn’t say that his 2019 season in Dayton was terrible. He posted a 87 wRC+ with an OBP over .300. His batting average was a bit low, walked at a 6.5% clip and struck out in around 20% of his at bats. With his tools, and if he can actually get some development time, there is still a chance for the youngster. But, he needs to show that those tools have developed now.
Who is your #18 prospect?
This poll is closed
TJ Friedl, OF
Joel Kuhnel, RHP
Ryan Hendrix, RHP
Mariel Bautista, OF