Last week I spent seven days out in Goodyear, Arizona watching the Cincinnati Reds play baseball on the backfields. For the most part, it was almost entirely the minor leaguers, but since it’s been my job to cover that aspect of the organization, it was time incredibly well spent.

Hunter Greene is an impressive, impressive dude. I was only able to see him pitch once while out in Arizona, but to say it was a good showing would be an understatement. You can watch the entire outing at this link if you’d like, and I’ve also got a scouting report written up at that link.

In the time since I last wrote this column the Reds placed infielder Dilson Herrera on waivers and he went unclaimed, so the team was able to outright him to Triple-A Louisville. It’s likely that you already saw that news. What that meant for me was that I had a chance to see him on the backfields working with the minor leaguers. He was taking some grounders at third base during infield practice, but he only played at second base during the games. What it was that I was left thinking to myself though, was how I can’t believe a team didn’t claim him. That guy can hit. He’s going to hit. And while I understand that you just don’t know how that shoulder is going to respond in the long run, I’m of the belief that the Reds lucked out that no one put in a claim on Herrera. How he fits into the Louisville lineup with all of the other talent is still up in the air, but I’m confident that he’s going to hit and he’s going to be a Major Leaguer again, and probably soon. Whether that’s with the Reds or another team is perhaps the bigger question.

The Reds haven’t exactly had a good recent history of producing big leaguers from Latin America. Heck, they’ve struggled to get a decent amount of their own signees into Double-A and Triple-A out of Latin America for quite a while. One of the things that stood out to me is just how many young Latin American guys they have with impressive tools at the lower levels. It’s a very long way from rookie-ball to the Major Leagues, and some of those guys will fall by the wayside along the way, but there’s an impressive group of guys that are under 21-years-old that could potentially change the struggles that the team has had in this market. Andy Sugilio is the guy who stood out to me the most. That shouldn’t be too surprising given that he hit .345 in Billings last season. But, being that I was the only place that even ranked him as a Top 30 Reds prospect this offseason, I’ll say that I felt a lot better after getting another in-person look at just how impressive he is.

13 Responses

  1. wkuchad

    “but there’s an impressive group of guys that are under 21-years-old…”

    The Reds implement/enhance additional recruiting efforts a few years ago that brought in this group?

    • Doug Gray

      Realistically, no. There was only one guy in camp that was what I would consider a big signing (more than $400,000), and that was Miguel Hernandez. Perhaps they changed something that I’m unaware of. Perhaps they just got lucky. Perhaps they just got better at identifying, and developing these guys in these areas. I’d like to think it’s not the lucky part.

  2. The Duke

    I’m interested in how Jeter Downs and Jose Garcia looked at SS, and if one or the other will get majority playing time there in Dayton.

    • Doug Gray

      It sounded to me, from what I was told, that they will kind of split SS/2B duties, with both getting time at each spot.

  3. Tom Mitsoff

    Really good news about Herrera. Seems like a much better option than Gosselin if healthy.

  4. big5ed

    The Reds slipped Herrera through waivers just after the NCAA brackets came out, figuring that everybody would be so wrapped up in filling out brackets that nobody would notice.

    Figuring out where to play good young hitters is a good problem to have. To me, Adam Duvall is the obvious guy to be looking over his shoulder, as both Herrera and Senzel could play left field. And if Scooter Gennett falters even a little bit . . .

    And it remains possible to use some of this depth to beef up shortstop or centerfield, although I don’t expect that until the trade deadline, and only then if Hamilton or Peraza don’t improve.

    • Jim Walker

      I’m a big fan of Duvall; but, it is obvious he runs out of gas by the end of July. Based on his 1st half in both 2016 and 17, it is scary to think what sort of power numbers he might put up if his legs stayed strong under him for an entire season. He seems an obvious candidate to be dealt somewhere he could be the 1B or DH. But of course potential trading partners can see the quandary the Reds are in with 1B covered for 5 years very limited access to DH opportunities.

  5. Doug Gray

    Herrera can’t play short. I’m not entirely sure what they are going to do with him, and it’s one of the more interesting things as far as minor league stories go, at least from where I stand. They can use the DH at times, so I think that will happen for Herrera, but he’s going to need to get time at second or third, too. Maybe Senzel can DH every so often and you can get Herrera a few starts at second that way, just to keep him fresh at the position.

  6. Doug Gray

    Agreed. The Yankees aren’t moving Torres for more than a proven All-Star kind of dude.

    I also don’t think they would trade for someone to play first who has never played first.

  7. Doug Gray

    Assignments in minor league camp aren’t really that telling, especially for pitchers. I’d be very surprised is Scott Moss skipped over Advanced-A. I don’t recall the last time the Reds promoted someone in that kind of way.

  8. Jim Walker

    Doug, wondering if your comment concerning the impressive level of raw tools among the Reds young Latinos but seemingly very high washout rate with the same group was meant to infer the Reds might be missing a chance to do better here by developing a specialized program to better nurture these guys?

    • Doug Gray

      No – just that I think they’ve got more talent from the LA ranks today than they’ve had in a long, long time.