Austin Hendrick didn’t have the best full-season debut in 2021, but the former 1st round pick’s plus strengths are still very, very plus. Hopefully, his strike zone command improves during the 2022 season and he ends up climbing back into the Top 5 for next year’s rankings.
On to the voting for spot #8 we go!
Christian Roa - RHP (22 years old)
2021 at a glance: 3.53 ERA in 58.2 IP split between ACL Reds (Arizona Rookie League), Daytona Tortugas (Low-A Southeast League), and Dayton Dragons (High-A Central League); 67/26 K/BB
Pros: Fastball up to 98 mph, impressive four-pitch mix, primary fastball/slider combo features two plus pitches
Cons: Injuries have kept him something of a mystery
The 2nd round pick of the Cincinnati Reds back in 2020, Roa paired with Royals 1st rounder Asa Lacy as the backbone of Texas A&M’s rotation up until the pandemic shut down their promising 2020 season. Of course, said 2020 shutdown included the minors, too, so we didn’t get to see him on display for the rest of that season, either.
Since then, Roa has battled through a flexor mass strain in his right (throwing) arm as well as a hernia, and as a result will turn 23 years old in early April with just 78.2 total IP between college and the pros since the start of the 2019 season. It’s hard to truly know what to make of a pitcher with such limited exposure, but what we do know with that limited sample is that he truly can miss bats with an arsenal varied enough to project as a big league starter.
It’s the fastball/slider pairing that’s truly his hallmark, though a developing curve and change appear good enough to keep hitters honest, too. His 6’4” frame also fits the classic mold of a durable starter, at least in an archetypal sense that’s prompting me to continue typing until this section looks as long as the other candidates here.
A mystery, yes, but one with loads of promise.
Rece Hinds, 3B (21 years old)
2021 at a glance: .259/.332/.542 in 226 PA at ACL Reds (Arizona Rookie League) and Daytona Tortugas (Low-A Southeast League)
Pros: Incredible power, absolutely mashes the ball when he makes contact, strong arm, decent runner.
Cons: Has struggled to stay healthy early on, struggles with off-speed pitches, swings and misses a lot (28% strikeout rate with Daytona).
The Reds took Rece Hinds in the second round of the 2019 amateur draft. Built with some incredible raw power, the Reds were unfortunately unable to see that put to use as he sustained a season ending injury just three games into his minor league career. After a 2020 season in the instructional leagues, Hinds came back and showed some improvements as a hitter. He showed that he’s already able to use his power, mashing 22 extra-base hits, including 10 home runs. He still leaves a bit to be desired elsewhere at the plate, as he still struggles to make consistent contact and swings and misses a lot.
Defensively, it’s still hard to figure out if he will stay in the infield or move to one of the corner outfield positions. He has a strong arm but his defense is one of his worst tools. He has also struggled to stay healthy, as he missed about 8 weeks with a torn meniscus in 2021 to go with the quad injury he sustained in 2019. Hopefully he gets a full, consistent season in 2022 to make the improvements at the plate that the Reds are hoping to see.
Andrew Abbott - LHP (22 years old)
2021 at a glance: 4.15 ERA in 13 innings between the ACL Reds (Arizona Rookie League) and Daytona Tortugas (Low-A Southeast League)
Pros: Good movement on his fastball and an above average curve ball.
Cons: Below average change-up as a third pitch, walk rate hasn’t been great in his career.
Stop me if this sounds familiar: The Cincinnati Reds drafted a reliever-turned-starter out of the University of Virginia with an early pick in the MLB draft. The good news for the Reds is that Andrew Abbott has already tried his hand as a starter before joining the Reds’ organization, and that it went quite well. After spending his entire career as a reliever, UVA was able to move Abbott to the rotation and he was able to vault himself up the draft boards with his performance. He threw 106.2 innings during his senior season, putting up a 2.87 ERA and striking out 162 batters, which was good for 3rd in the country.
Abbott sits in the low 90s with his fastball that has good movement and misses a lot of bats in the zone and has topped out at 97 on rare occasion. His curve ball is above average and is a good out pitch. He doesn’t have much to offer as a third pitch, with a below average change-up that still needs some work. Look for Abbott to start the season in Daytona.
Bryce Bonnin - RHP (23 years old)
2021 at a glance: 2.87 ERA in 13 innings between the ACL Reds (Arizona Rookie League), Daytona Tortugas (Low-A Southeast League), and Dayton Dragons (High-A Central League); 71/17 K/BB
Pros: Fastball that flirts with 100 mph, plus slider
Cons: Injury pushed back his season debut until almost July; just 47 total IP since being drafted in 2020; primarily a two-pitch pitcher, which could mean a bullpen role
Bonnin eschewed the Chicago Cubs selecting him in the 26th round out of high school in Texas to instead begin his college career at the University of Arkansas (hi, ARF!). A transfer to Texas Tech soon followed, however, and a final season at the scholastic level saw him post a head-scratching 7.36 ERA in just 4 appearances before the Reds plucked him with a 3rd round draft pick.
That paired with the pandemic-induced closure of the entire MiLB season in 2020 and an injury that pushed back his 2021 debut means we’ve barely seen Bonnin at all. Kyle Boddy, former Reds pitching coordinator and Driveline guru, has seen plenty of him though, and in his interview with FanGraphs’ David Laurila shortly after the 2020 draft, he spoke glowingly about Bonnin’s ability to maintain his high-90s velocity and the plus slider/fastball combo he possesses, even if that means he gets fast-tracked to the bigs as a reliever until developing another offering.
To me, that sounds like Bonnin’s a big-leaguer - the question only remains whether he continues to try to develop as a starter in the minors some more, or jumps into the mix for bullpen innings with the Reds perhaps as early as this summer. You, voters, get to rate/value that accordingly!
Who is the #8 prospect in the Cincinnati Reds system for 2022?
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