This week is going to be spent looking at the various trade chips that the Cincinnati Reds could use over the next week-and-a-half as the trade deadline approaches.
The Reds have said that they are looking to be buyers. With their recent losing streak maybe that’s changed – they aren’t saying. But they’ve also noted that they aren’t looking to buy rental players. Anyone they look to acquire will need to be someone that helps now and into the future.
The Reds farm system entered the year as a top 10 farm system in baseball. But, the system has taken a hit. Nick Senzel graduated, and losing a Top 5 prospect in baseball hurts any farm system. Toss in that none of the top 10-15 guys behind him have really taken that next step forward, and some have taken a step back, and the system is down quite a bit. But, it’s not an empty farm system, either. There are certainly pieces of value, and some players have indeed improved their stock. Yesterday we looked at the infielders. Today we’re going to take a look at the outfielders.
Top 25 Prospect Outfielders
- Taylor Trammell – #1
- Jose Siri – #7
- Mariel Bautista – #9
- Michael Siani – #10
- Stuart Fairchild – #11
- Aristides Aquino – #18
- TJ Friedl – #19
- Andy Sugilio – #23
Five of the top 11 prospects in the organization are outfielders. There’s a wide variety of “types” of guys in here, though. Some are closer than others. Some are more “tools over production” at this point.
The close-to-helping group
While Taylor Trammell isn’t having an explosive year in Double-A Chattanooga, he’s holding his own. He’s walked 51 times with 72 strikeouts in 320 plate appearances. And that’s helped him post a .366 on-base percentage. But he’s also hitting .238 and slugging just .331 thanks to 12 extra-base hits in 79 games played. Not many doubt that he’ll hit for more power in the future, but right now it’s not showing up in games. Still, he’s the top prospect in the entire organization, and while his performance this year hasn’t blown anyone away – he’s still viewed as a very valuable prospect within the game. And as a guy with his raw talent and athleticism, who’s also already playing at the Double-A level, if things “click” for him at any point, he’s ready to step in.
Trammell’s teammate in Chattanooga, and the man who’s been playing center field all season, is Jose Siri. Unlike Trammell, he’s probably not able to carry a trade on his own unless it’s for a solid reliever type of guy. A team that believes in the tools is one that could value Siri more so than a team that looks more towards the stats. He’s got all of the tools you want to see. But this year there’s been some struggles at the plate – he’s hitting .261/.317/.389 in 84 games with 102 strikeouts and 25 walks. He’s also stolen 20 bases on the year. Defensively he’s capable of being a plus defender. There’s some risk with the bat that he’s an every day player, but the upside is sky high, too.
And then there’s Aristides Aquino, who I wrote about earlier today. The 25-year-old is crushing the baseball in Triple-A. And however brief it was, he’s also got Major League experience. He’s currently hitting .298/.357/.624 on the year with 12 doubles, a triple, and 22 home runs in 65 games played. The switch to the Major League baseball this year in Triple-A has resulted in the International League OPS jumping up 84 points from where it was in 2018. Aquino, though, is still nearly 200 points better than the league average in OPS this season. While he’s benefiting from the ball, like everyone else, he’s doing things that hardly anyone else in the league is. And he may be the most ready to step in and help a team among this group, too.
TJ Friedl is currently on the injured list at Double-A Chattanooga with an ankle injury. Through 65 games this season he’s hitting just .235. But his on-base percentage is a solid .347 and he’s slugging .385. His peripherals have been strong this season, but his BABIP is significantly lower than it’s ever been in his career. While he hasn’t played much center field this year, he’s a true center fielder defensively. Unlikely to carry a trade on his own, he could be a valuable second piece in a deal.
The not-as-close but upside group
Stuart Fairchild has had a very small taste of Double-A, but he was only called up as what seemed like an emergency fill-in, spending less than a week with Chattanooga before heading back to Advanced-A Daytona. He began the year slowly in April. Very slowly. But since May began, the outfielder’s shown himself to be one of the best players in the Florida State League. In 57 games since the calendar flipped, he’s hitting .303/.381/.534. The former 2nd round pick can play center field, and he’s showing offensive tools. He’s certainly been a riser this year.
Fairchild’s teammate Andy Sugilio’s had an interesting 2019. A few weeks ago he gave up switch hitting and is now hitting only from the left side. The 22-year-old has elite speed, arguably the fastest player in the organization. He’s hitting .301/.337/.368 in Daytona this season. The power isn’t showing up, and there are some questions about whether his approach will let him tap into it (he’s an extreme ground ball hitter). But, there is some power potential in there – it just likely requires a different approach/swing change to get it. The speed he shows gives him the chance to play a strong center field. He’s not likely to carry a trade, but could be an intriguing lottery ticket kind of throw in to a deal.
Dayton Dragons teammates Michael Siani and Mariel Bautista are further away than the two previously mentioned players. Siani got out to a slow start in April, but in the 58 games since he’s hit .269/.347/.374 with 18 steals. A plus defender in center field, his defense is still ahead of his bat – but the bat is starting to show some real life and he’s yet to really tap into some of the power that could come down the road.
Mariel Bautista is another 5-tool caliber player. The 21-year-old is holding his own in Dayton, but hasn’t stood out statistically – hitting .246/.312/.357 on the year so far. He’s got plus speed and can play any spot in the outfield. There’s power potential in his bat, too, though he’s struggled at times to have it show up in games this season. Neither Bautista or Siani carries a trade, but both would be a very strong secondary piece in a trade.
Will the Reds look to move anyone from the group
As noted yesterday with the infielders, it’s nearly impossible to say a team will move a specific player. With that said, this group has some players in it that could certainly be intriguing for an opposing team. And depending on what the team is looking for (close, high-end prospect, long-term play) – the Reds may have something for them among the outfielders.