Earlier this week there were 21 Cincinnati Reds minor league players who elected free agency. You can see that entire list here. Baseball America now has up the list of every player in baseball who declared free agency in the minor leagues. The list is 520 players long, and it’s broken down by the last organization a player was in, and by position.
Minor League free agency can be used for multiple purposes. The first, of course, is to try and find players who can not only help you in the minors, but ones who may be able to contribute in the Major Leagues for you, too. Players such as Dylan Floro, Mason Williams, and Rosell Herrera were signed as minor league free agents last offseason and spent time in the big leagues last year for the Reds (and in the case of Floro and Herrera, other teams).
The other side of minor league free agency is to try and fill gaps in the system. While the hope is that the players can develop into the types who can one day help at the Major League level, sometimes you just need a shortstop for your Advanced-A team. Or a backup catcher at Double-A. Perhaps you need someone capable of throwing 100 innings at a stop along the way.
With all of that said, I went through every single player on the list provided by Baseball America. Many of the looks were of the cursory variety. If a guy was born before 1989, I dismissed them. Guys who had terrible numbers in 2018 were generally dismissed, too. But there were hundreds of guys that I did actually spend more than 5 seconds looking at. For some guys, I had a little bit of scouting information. For others I simply saw their numbers and couldn’t find much in a quick look beyond that. Today we will look at the pitchers. Tomorrow we will take a look at the position players.
You can never have too much pitching. Or at least that’s what the old saying tells us. I wound up writing down 19 pitchers that seemed like guys the Reds should look at.
Andy Beltre | RHP | 25-years-old
The now former Miami Marlins reliever missed all of 2018. I couldn’t figure out what the injury was with a quick google search. That said, he’s performed very well in the past when healthy, and he’s been a high velocity guy. If he’s going to be able to pitch in 2019, he’s a guy worth looking into.
Anfernee Benitez | LHP | 23-years-old
One of the youngest players you’ll see listed today, Anfernee Benitez is a lefty reliever from the Angels system. His numbers haven’t been great, but there’s some stuff to like. He’s had some control problems in his career – and he walked 42 batters in 66.1 innings in 2018. But he also struck out 78 batters and allowed just one home run all season. Lefties that miss bats don’t grow on trees.
Angel Perdomo | LHP | 24-years-old
A 6′ 6″ left handed pitcher who struck out 100 batters in 79.1 innings with a 3.63 ERA last season, Angel Perdomo fits the model of a lefty who misses bats. He spent time relieving and starting last year. He was old for the level he pitched at, and he’ll turn 25 early next season without having Double-A experience. Still, that’s a lot of swing-and-miss from a lefty.
Brandon Brennan | RHP | 27-years-old
He pitched in Double-A and Triple-A in 2018, but most of it came in Double-A. He posted a 3.25 ERA overall in 74.2 innings with 24 walks and 79 strikeouts. The ball also stayed in the park, giving up just four homers all season for the White Sox organization.
Enderson Franco | RHP | 25-years-old
He made 20 starts and eight more relief appearances in Double-A, along with one start in Triple-A for the Braves organization. He posted a 3.85 ERA over 133.1 innings. The right hander walked 45 batters and had 131 strikeouts. I couldn’t find any scouting information on him in a quick look, but if nothing else he looks like a solid starting option for that Double-A/Triple-A level to give you innings and fill out your rotation.
Johnny Barbato | RHP | 26-years-old
The now former Detroit Tiger has spent parts of three seasons in the Majors. He’s struggled at the highest level in limited action. In 33 appearances in 2018 with Triple-A Toledo, he posted a 1.45 ERA in 37.1 innings with 10 walks and 37 strikeouts.
Jorgan Cavanerio | RHP | 24-years-old
As a 23-year-old last season, Jorgan Cavanerio split his time in the bullpen between Advanced-A and Double-A. The righty posted a 3.41 ERA in that time. That said, his ERA in Double-A was 4.97 and in Advanced-A it was 2.54. At both levels he allowed more hits than innings. What he does, though, is pound the strikezone. He walked just 13 batters, and one of those was intentional. He also struck out 68 batters on the season.
Jose Ramirez | RHP | 28-years-old
Ramirez has big league time. And Ramirez also has big league performance. In 2016 and 2017 he posted a 3.33 ERA in 94.2 innings with the Braves to go along with 47 walks (5 intentional) and 89 strikeouts. His 2018, however, didn’t go nearly as well. He battled shoulder impingement, which could certainly be a red flag. But, he’s also a minor league free agent. When he’s been healthy, he’s produced and is a guy who can throw in the upper 90’s. If he’s going to be able to throw in 2019, he could be an interesting pick up.
Josh Martin | RHP | 28-years-old
Josh Martin has performed quite well in the minors over his career. Almost exclusively a reliever he’s posted a 3.38 ERA in seven seasons. Last year he missed time on the disabled list, throwing just 21.2 innings for Triple-A Columbus. He psoted a 2.91 ERA in that span with eight walks and 24 strikeouts. He’s currently healthy and pitching in the Dominican Winter League. He’s a low 90’s guy with good control. If nothing else, he provides good depth for the Triple-A bullpen.
Justin Haley | RHP | 27-years-old
He has big league experience, picking up 25.2 innings between Minnesota and Boston in the last two seasons. The 6′ 5″ righty made 22 starts for Triple-A Pawtucket in 2018, posting a 3.80 ERA. He threw 113.2 innings with just 33 walks and he struck out 107 batters. He’s not a bit stuff guy, but he throws strikes and could provide depth in the minors.
Kevin Comer | RHP | 26-years-old
The right handed reliever spent his entire year at Triple-A Toledo. He made 48 appearances, with 47 out of the bullpen. In 56.0 innings he posted a 3.68 ERA with 20 walks and 57 strikeouts. He also allowed just five home runs on the season.
Kyle Ryan | LHP | 27-years-old
The lefty has some big league experience, throwing 128.0 innings with a 3.87 ERA from 2014-2017 for the Tigers. Most of that came out of the bullpen, but he did made seven starts out of his 86 appearances. All of his time in 2018 came in Triple-A Iowa with the Cubs organization. He threw 66.0 innings with a 2.86 ERA where he allowed 48 hits and 18 walks. He also struck out 61 batters.
Kyle Zimmer | RHP | 27-years-old
The former 5th overall pick in the draft didn’t pitch in 2018. Over the summer the Royals decided to not pitch him in their organization, and instead send him out to Driveline in Washington to try and improve what he was doing. In 2017 he spent most of his season in Triple-A where he had 34 strikeouts and 16 walks in 32.2 innings. Not much risk on a former high end pick.
Matt Ramsey | RHP | 29-years-old
Matt Ramsey spent most of his year in Triple-A, with only a short rehab assignment in rookie ball making up 6.0 innings his innings this year. In the hitter friendly Pacific Coast League he posted a 2.30 ERA in 47.0 innings. He walked 16 batters and racked up 54 strikeouts. He’s also capable to throwing in the mid-90’s.
Miguel Del Pozo | LHP | 26-years-old
In 2018 the lefty spent his entire season in Double-A Jacksonville. Del Pozo posted a 3.97 ERA in 34.0 innings with 15 walks and 34 strikeouts. I’m not sure how hard he was throwing in 2018, but in 2017 he was sitting 93-96 MPH. Power lefties that miss bats are always worth looking at.
Nabil Crismatt | RHP | 23-years-old
The young right hander spent time in both Double-A and Triple-A in 2018. He performed well in Double-A, posting a 3.59 ERA in 105.1 innings with 37 walks and 105 strikeouts. Triple-A in Las Vegas wasn’t nearly as kind. He posted an 8.84 ERA in 38.2 innings with 19 walks and 35 strikeouts. He’ll be 24-years-old all of next year and if nothing else could provide some quality starting depth in that Double-A and Triple-A range.
Phillippe Aumont | LHP | 29-years-old
A former top prospect who has four years of big league experience, Phillippe Aumont has been around. The 6′ 7″ lefty used to bring premium velocity, throwing in the mid-to-upper 90’s. These days he’s more in the 91-93 range, but with very good movement on the pitch. He last pitched in the Majors in 2015. He spent most of his time in Triple-A Toledo in 2018. His ERA was ugly, posting a 6.58 mark in 29 appearances. In his 53.1 innings, though, he struck out 62 batters with 25 walks. There’s enough stuff there that he could be worth a flier to see if your coaches can figure something out to help him hone things in.
Ryan Merritt | LHP | 26-years-old
In very limited action in the Major Leagues, Ryan Merritt has a career 1.71 ERA over 31.2 innings. But, that’s also come with just 13 strikeouts (and 4 walks). He did not pitch in the Majors in 2018, instead spending the entire year with Triple-A Columbus make 13 starts and two relief appearances. Merritt threw 71.1 innings with a 3.79 ERA. He walked TWO batters on the season and he struck out 52. Merritt isn’t a big stuff guy, but he pounds the strikezone unlike just about anyone and could provide plenty of depth in Triple-A.
Sam Selman | LHP | 28-years-old
The lefty split time between Double-A and Triple-A in 2018. Strangely enough he performed significantly better in Triple-A, where he posted a 4.13 ERA in 28.1 innings over 23 appearances. Control was an issue as he walked 19 batters with 37 strikeouts. But in his 40.2 innings he didn’t allow a single home run. That’s been something consistent in his career – he keeps the ball in the ballpark. He’s another one of these lefties who miss a lot of bats. He’s a hard thrower with control issues, though – but he could be worth a flier.
There may have been a few guys that I happened to overlook on accident. With 500 players to look at, there’s always a chance that several guys links simply didn’t open up when I clicked on them. I went team-by-team and opened up all of their player links at once, so missing someone out of the 20 players would have gone unnoticed on my end. It’s worth noting that I didn’t look into the Reds players, or former Reds players. You guys tend to know who they are and what they bring.