I was going to write about outfielders today, but realized that it would be better to split them up between corner outfielders and center fielders or the post would be about 5000 words.
Yorman Rodriguez made his debut this season after being a huge international signing in 2008’s international signing period. The 16 year old played about half of a season for the GCL Reds where he hit .274/.347/.321 before being promoted to Billings. Once in Billings, the youngest professional player in the United States hit .219/.259/.344. Like expected for a 16 year old playing against pro’s, Rodriguez struggled at times, but he also saw his ups as well. Defensively Rodriguez is viewed as an above average defender who has plus plus speed and a plus arm. He is far away, but his ceiling is incredibly high.
Chris Heisey has always been a guy who has just got it done every step of the way, but this year was on a different level. Heisey began the year in Carolina and before being promoted to Louisville, was the leagues best hitter with a .347/.426/.572 line. Heisey wasn’t as good in Louisville, but still hit .278/.322/.465 while there, showing that his power increase was legit. Defensively, Heisey is still a slightly above average guy who has good reads, good routes and a very strong arm.
Josh Fellhauer was drafted just this year, but went straight to Dayton and performed very well. Fellhauer his .280/.348/.453 while showing a very good plate approach that led to a solid walk rate and a low strikeout rate. Defensively Fellhuaer showed that he could play center.
Alex Oliveras split time between Billings and Dayton in 2009. Overall the 20 year old hit .290/.321/.401 with the better half of that coming at Dayton. Oliveras struggled with his plate discipline when he got to Dayton after a solid showing of plate discipline at Billings. Defensively the Puerto Rican outfielder can play center field if he doesn’t outgrow the position, something that isn’t likely to happen.
Juan Silva is another 2009 draftee who plays center and had an outstanding debut. Like Oliveras, Silva is a native of Puerto Rico who the Reds took before the 10th round (Silva in round 7, Oliveras in round 8). Silva hit .280/.367/.462 to lead the GCL Reds in OBP and SLG for players with at least 150 PA. Silva is said to have above average speed and an above average arm, while being a very good athlete.
There are a few other guys worth noting who spent time in center for the Reds this season. Justin Reed got off to a great start but really struggled down the stretch. Reed is an outstanding athlete and shows stretches of being a good player, so don’t sleep on him. Reed’s teammate Dave Sappelt spent time in both Dayton and Sarasota where he hit better in Sarasota than in Dayton.
Overall I think this could be one of the Reds best positions because there is not only depth, the depth is quite good and has perhaps the highest upside player in the system at the position. I give the spot a B+ and that is without counting Drew Stubbs in the conversation.