There may be a lockout that is preventing the MLB version of the Rule 5 draft from taking place right now, but that doesn’t apply to the minor league version of it since minor league players are not on the 40-man roster and aren’t locked out. And the Cincinnati Reds used their 1st round pick to add a now former big league outfielder to their farm system by selecting Ronnie Dawson from the Houston Astros.

If you are from Ohio and follow amateur baseball at all you probably recognize the name. Ronnie Dawson grew up in Ohio, went to Licking Heights High School in Pataskala and then moved on to Ohio State where he played from 2014-2016 and after a big junior season in 2016 was a 2nd round pick.

Ronnie Dawson spent a week in April at the big league level with the Houston Astros. He was called up from the alternate site on April 14th and got the start, going 1-3 with a walk and two runs scored. He would get into two more games that week, going 0-1 as a pinch hitter in both games. Dawson was optioned back on the 20th of April and he would spend the remainder of the season in Triple-A with the Sugar Land Skeeters where he would hit .249/.341/.374 with 21 doubles, a triple, 7 home runs, 15 steals, 46 walks, and 84 strikeouts in 94 games.

Defensively he’s played all three spots in the outfield and he can handle centerfield. He doesn’t have plus speed like most centerfielders do, but he runs efficient routes and gets a good jump on the ball that makes up for it.

Dawson will turn 27 near the end of May, so if he’s going to get back to the big leagues he will likely need to do so quickly. There’s some power in his bat, though it didn’t show up as much in 2021 as it has in the past at the minor league level. While his power was down last season, so were the strikeouts – which had been a bit of an issue for him during his career. His walk rate was also the best of his career since his professional debut in 2016 when he was in rookie-ball.

A left-handed hitter, he struggled against lefties in 2021 in Triple-A. He hit just .216/.324/.307 against lefties. He found more success against right-handed pitching, posting a .260/.347/.396 line. That split has held up for his career in the minors as he’s always been better against righties than lefties.

Unlike the MLB version of the rule 5 draft, Ronnie Dawson does not have to stick to the big league roster. Cincinnati can place him at any level that they would like to without any concerns for losing him to another organization. With that said, he seems like the type of player who will slide into the Double-A or Triple-A club depending on how spring training goes for himself and others and what the depth chart looks like.

The Cincinnati Reds also lost one player in the minor league Rule 5 draft on Wednesday afternoon. Relief pitcher Carson Fulmer was selected in the 2nd round of the draft by the Dodgers. Fulmer made the Reds roster out of spring training after being picked up on waivers. He was lights out in his first three weeks, allowing just one run in 10.0 innings with two walks and nine strikeouts. But then things fell apart over the next month as he allowed 18 earned runs in 15.2 innings while walking 11 batters and was sent to Triple-A where he remained for the rest of the season.

22 Responses

  1. Optimist

    IIRC you noted in a prior post that the 38 man roster is not public – with that, a bit surprised the Reds let Fulmer go – what with the DJ connection, and their history of such projects in AAA, I thought he’d be protected.

    • Doug Gray

      He’s a 28-year-old reliever with a career 6.41 ERA in the big leagues who didn’t exactly dominate in Triple-A last year after getting beat up in the bigs…. that’s a tough sell for protection, even in the MiLB phase.

  2. RedsGettingBetter

    Seeing Fulmer go it doesn´t hurt me really. Let´s watch Dawson how will perform next season…

  3. TR

    Will Ronnie Dawson be alternating in centerfield with Nick Senzel?

    • SultanofSwaff

      Platoon maybe, and that’s only if Friedl goes down.

    • MK

      or just wait for the annual Senzel injury.

      • Alan Horn

        You know it’s coming. I had someone argue with me that there was no such thing as being injury prone. Yet Webster defines it as someone who is constantly injured(Senzel).

      • Luke J

        If you want to limit yhe definition of injury prone to simply mean they have been injured constantly in the past, that’s fine. But once you start arguing that past injury is evidence of future injury, I’ll argue all day that that’s an improper extrapolation.

      • greenmtred

        It would depend upon the past injury, wouldn’t it? Some injuries result in chronic conditions that can be reaggravated. Some may have to do with a person’s particular characteristics–tendons, ligaments and so on. I don’t pretend to know the explanation in Senzel’s case. Maybe his style of play contributes? Whatever it is, his injury history is extensive enough to suggest that he’s likely to get injured again.

      • Michael

        Excellent point Green. There are injuries that can lead to continued issues like you said with ligaments. There are other ones that are freak injuries like broken finger, check bone from batted ball etc… that are not likely to happen again or to be a continuing problem.

      • Alan Horn

        True. There are freak injuries like getting hit with a batted or pitched ball and chronic injuries (muscles , ligaments etc.) Senzel seems to fit into the latter category. That being said, I think he can help the Reds if he could just stay on the field injury wise. So far over what is getting to be a large sample size, he hasn’t been able to. The Reds need to certainly have a backup plan if Senzel succumbs to injury yet again. Now if we are talking pitchers, they are an injury waiting to happen because of the very nature of the constant hard and un-natural stress on the arm due to being a pitcher.,

  4. burtgummer01

    Sad part is he can probably hit better than Shogo or AA

    • Redhaze

      I don’t believe Dawson is Josh Hamilton. That being said, if the Reds can trade Moustakas, I wish they would sign Cueto and if the National League uses the DH I wish they could sign local boy Kyle Schwarber.
      Also, what rule would stop a team from signing a free agent now to a minor league contract with incentives that they would receive when they were placed on the major league roster?

      • redsfan4040

        I think Doug’s talked about before that they could do that if they’re not part of the MLBPA. Even though Schwarber or Castellanos or Kershaw etc. aren’t on 40 mans right now, they’re still in the union, and thus locked out.

      • Doug Gray

        If you were on a 40-man roster when the season ended and became a free agent, you are still in the MLBPA and locked out.

  5. MK

    He had a huge Big Ten tournament and led the way for the Buckeyes to win it. Really upped his draft status.

  6. Redhaze

    Hey Doug. What are your thought about Cueto and Schwarber for next season?

    • Doug Gray

      That they are probably more expensive than the price the Reds want to pay.