Last week the Cincinnati Reds designated outfielder Jose Siri for assignment when they needed to clear a spot on the 40-man roster after signing outfielder Nick Castellanos. Siri was one of 10 outfielders on the 40-man, so it’s unsurprising that it was an outfielder that was being designated for assignment. What was surprising is that it was one of the few that had options remaining instead of one of the handful who didn’t, but also don’t seem to have a spot lined up for them on the big league roster.
Perhaps the organization felt that it was more likely that Jose Siri would get through waivers than some of the other players would and that they would be able to keep him in the organization. If that was the case, the bet was incorrect. The Seattle Mariners are going to take their chances that they can use the final option year for Siri to help develop his bat further.
When it comes to explosive tools, Jose Siri has them. He’s a plus-plus speed guy who has stolen 45+ bases in the minor leagues in the past. He’s a plus defender in center field with a strong arm. And he’s got above-average to plus power potential in his bat. There’s a whole lot to like when it comes to that pure athleticism side of things with the outfielder.
But he also has a rather big weakness in his game. His pitch recognition skills aren’t great, and while they have improved some over the years, they still leave plenty to be desired. Last season he had a career high 42 walks. But he also had a career high 165 strikeouts in just 517 plate appearances. The inability to identify pitches quickly enough hasn’t allowed his raw hitting ability to play. It’s led to some low batting average, and mixed with the low walk rates, it’s also led to low on-base percentages over the years.
The 24-year-old is going to get one more year in the minors before he’s got to stick to a Major League roster. Seattle is getting a high upside player here. But they are also getting a player in Jose Siri that will need to show some big improvements at the plate if he’s going to be more than a bench guy who can run the bases well and provide strong defense, too.