While the Cincinnati Reds went through the Major League portion of the Rule 5 draft without losing or selecting a player. They were active in the Triple-A phase of the Rule 5 draft though. Unlike the Major League portion the rules are much different. The cost is minimal for selection and you won’t see any top prospects selected as they are universally protected by the team. What you do see is teams trying to pick up players from other organizations to fill out their minor league rosters. Each team has 38 players on their “Triple-A Reserve roster”. Anyone not on that list, or on the 40-man roster, is eligible to be selected as long as they also meet the qualifications for the big league Rule 5 draft. There is also a Double-A Rule 5 draft where another 37 players are listed on that reserve roster. Given the numbers, teams are able to protect somewhere from 40-80 players from the minor league portions of the Rule 5 draft from their farm system. You tend to get pretty far down depth charts when doing that and it’s why you don’t see many future big leaguers coming from these parts of the Rule 5 draft.
Who the Reds lost
Right handed pitcher Tim Crabbe was selected as the first selection of the Triple-A phase of the Rule 5 draft to the Arizona Diamondbacks. He pitched in Triple-A for the Reds in 2014, making 12 starts and 18 appearances in the bullpen. Here is what I wrote on him for the 2015 Prospect Guide (of which he will be in as I’ve already gone too far beyond him to redo it to remove him):
Tim Crabbe has been around the system for a while, having been selected back in the 2009 draft. He’s spent most of his career as a starter but moved to the bullpen in Triple-A Louisville at the start of June. The move to the bullpen saw a very small uptick in velocity as he went from 88-90 as a starter to 90-91 as a reliever. He touches a tad higher in both roles. He mixes in both a curveball and a cutter/slider. His curveball works in the mid-to-upper 70’s and it is an above-average offering. He will also lean on a cutter/slider that can morph between both depending on the day that works in the 85-87 MPH range. It’s inconsistent, but can be a quality offering when at its best. Control wasn’t a strong point out of the bullpen for Crabbe and his strikeout rate dropped dramatically as well despite his stuff staying quite similar. The right hander will need to miss more bats as a reliever than he showed during the 2014 season if he wants to stick as a reliever in the big leagues.
First baseman Harold Riggins was selected by the Miami Marlins. Riggins was not in the system for long. He came over from the Colorado Rockies in the Jair Jurrjens trade at the beginning of July. Riggins went to Bakersfield where he played sparingly for the Blaze, hitting .232/.314/.384 over 35 games. He had shown some good power in the past, hitting 19 and 22 home runs the previous two seasons, but struggled to only hit 10 in the 2014 season.
Who the Reds gained
The Reds picked up catcher Cam Maron from the Mets with their first selection. Maron was a 34th round pick in the 2009 draft out of high school. He’s moved slowly in his career. He spent almost all of his 2014 year in Advanced-A, seeing one game at the Double-A level. Between the two stops he hit .283/.388/.363 with 61 walks and 69 strikeouts. Like most catchers he shows good plate discipline. He’s never hit for much power with a career high five home runs in the 2012 season. In his career he’s had 25 passed balls in 293 games and has thrown out 21% of opposing base stealers. He adds to the catching depth of the system which has gotten stronger over the last 24 hours with his addition along with that of Chad Wallach from the Marlins in the Mat Latos trade.
The team then selected right handed pitcher Euclides Leyer from the Chicago White Sox in the second round of the Triple-A phase. After starting for most of his career the right hander made the move to the bullpen in 2014 at the Advanced-A level where he posted a 4.53 ERA in 55.2 innings with 29 walks and 50 strikeouts. Leyer is an interesting guy. I talked with a scout about him and he had some interesting things to say.
As a starter he used a fastball, curveball and a change up. The move to the bullpen saw him essentially drop the change up and focus on the fastball and the curveball. His fastball works in the 91-95 MPH range out of the bullpen and does show some armside run. His curveball is an inconsistent pitch. Every now and again it will show itself as an above-average pitching. Most of the time though it’s a well below-average offering that ranges anywhere from flat to loopy, coming in from 74-80 MPH.
Along with the complete lack of consistency from his breaking ball is a lack of consistency with his mechanics. He struggles to repeat his arm slot and when he does have success in doing that he struggles in maintaining a release point.
For someone acquired in the Triple-A Rule 5 draft there’s some interesting upside here. There’s also plenty of risk and it’s why he was actually available. But the Reds grabbed a good arm strength guy with the ability to spin a good curveball every now and again for $12,000 and a roster spot in the organization. It may never amount to anything but it’s an outstanding pick up.