The Cincinnati Reds have added three players to the 40-man roster today, protecting all three minor league players from the upcoming Rule 5 draft. With the addition of outfielders Rece Hinds and Jacob Hurtubise, as well as right-handed pitcher Christian Roa, the Reds 40-man roster is now full.
Within the last week we took a look at which players the team could potentially add to the roster today. Rece Hinds was the one guy who seemed like an absolute lock, but also felt that Jacob Hurtubise was very likely to be protected as well. Christian Roa was among the three pitchers we listed who seemed like they had a chance to be added.
Hinds was going to be added to the Reds 40-man roster unless he decided to retire or he was traded away before today. The club’s 12th rated prospect, Hinds has plenty of tools – including the best power in the system and one of the strongest outfield arms. He’s also a plus runner. In his transition to the outfield two seasons ago, he’s made the transition well and is already a solid right fielder with a chance to be better than that with a little more experience out there.
As we noted with Hinds last week, he started out slow in Double-A this season, but towards the end of May he made both a mental and mechanical adjustment at the plate and took off. From May 26th through the end of the year he hit .303/.375/.617. Hinds tied for the organizational lead with 23 home runs and he led the farm system with 98 runs batted in. He also had 29 doubles, 6 triples, and he stole 20 bases for the Lookouts this season.
Jacob Hurtubise was patrolling the outfield with Hinds for a while in 2023 down in Chattanooga. It was a breakout season for Hurtubise, who is now the team’s 24th rated prospect, in 2023 as he hit seven times as many home runs this past year as he had hit in his entire life – at any level. Take that for what it’s worth, though, as he had only hit one home run in his entire life prior to 2023 and that home run came in the final game of the 2022 season. His seven homers this season were easily a career best and came along with 11 doubles and 10 triples.
Power is most certainly the worst of the tools that Hurtubise brings to the table. He doesn’t hit the ball all that hard. But what he does do is control the strikezone very well, make plenty of contact, and walk nearly as often as he strikes out – and actually walked more than he struck out in 2023. All of that stuff led to the Army graduate hitting .330/.479/.483 between his time spent with Chattanooga (318 plate appearances) and Triple-A Louisville (137 plate appearances).
Speed is the best of the tools that Hurtubise has and he uses it well. In 2023 he stole 45 bases during the regular season. And in the outfield he uses it to play a quality centerfield. He can also cover you in both left and right field if needed, though his defense profiles best in center and left.
With the addition of Christian Roa the Reds were likely looking at the possibility of another team selecting him in the Rule 5 draft. Roa has plenty of stuff to work with and it helped him strike out 170 batters in just 120.1 innings in 2023 while splitting time in Double-A and Triple-A. But his lack of control also led to him walking 91 batters and posting an ERA of 5.16 in his 28 games.
The 2nd round pick from 2020’s draft, Roa is not going to remain a starting pitcher without drastically reducing the number of walks he’s had as a professional. But he’s also the kind of pitcher who fits a profile that many good relievers have – a guy who had plenty of stuff, some control concerns, and were a minor league starting pitcher. Plenty of guys like that wind up transitioning into the bullpen as big leaguers and with shorter outings and usually a focus on fewer pitchers, can make things work better than they did as a starter.
Cincinnati may not be willing to give up on him as a starting pitcher just yet. They may need the additional depth in Louisville in case a call up or three is needed, but Roa will turn 25 during the first week of the season, and without a step forward as a starting pitcher the move to a potential relief role probably isn’t that far off.