The Cincinnati Reds were busy on Friday evening. On top of adding Vladimir Gutierrez, Riley O’Brien, and Jared Solomon to the 40-man roster in order to protect them from the Rule 5 draft in a few weeks, the team also made a set of acquisitions – though they were both involving the Houston Astros. Cincinnati completed their trade with Houston from August that sent Brooks Raley out, picking up minor league right-handed pitcher Fredy Medina as the player to be named later in that deal. They also “traded” cash for right-handed pitcher Brandon Bailey, who was on the Astros 40-man roster and thus, when acquired, joined the Reds 40-man roster as well.

Brandon Bailey Scouting Report

In 2020 the Houston Astros called up Brandon Bailey and he pitched in five games at the Major League level. Thanks to that we get access to his Statcast data for a bit more accuracy on his stuff than if we simply went on scouting reports from the 2019 season.

Velo Usage
4-Seam 92.1 53%
Cutter 87.1 9%
Change 82.8 18%
Slider 79.5 13%
Curve 78.4 7%

The above info is from Brooks Baseball. They are crediting Bailey with a cutter. Statcast algorithm does not.

Fangraphs midseason rankings graded out Brandon Bailey quite well on their scouting report section. His fastball came in as an average pitch, as did his slider. But his curveball and his change up both earned above-average grades. His fastball has above-average spin rates, for those who are into that kind of stuff.

When looking back at his time in the minors there are some good things to point out, and a thing or two that may be on the other side of the ledger. Let’s start with the good: He’s been successful. In the four years he’s spent in the minors he’s posted a 3.07 ERA in 58 starts and 25 relief appearances that have covered 349.0 innings. He’s allowed just 32 home runs, walked 134 batters, and he’s picked up 405 strikeouts. And he also had some success, though very limited, in the Majors.

If there’s one concern on his resume, particularly coming to Cincinnati, it’s that his ground ball rate has been quite low. For his professional career his ground ball rate had been just 37%. It’s been under 40% every stop of the way except in rookie ball and in Low-A, where it was just 40.6%.

You can succeed with a low ground ball rate. And thus far, he’s been able to do so. Despite plenty of balls hit in the air against him, he’s kept the ball in the park. And he’s also been a guy who has routinely had low BABIP against – but a lot of guys do that in the minor leagues and it normalizes a bit in the big leagues. Those two things will be worth watching.

Fredy Medina Scouting Report

If there were ever a player in a trade that felt like a lottery ticket, it’s Fredy Medina. Originally signed as an infielder by Houston he struggled to hit in his first two professional seasons, hitting just .172 without an extra-base hit – though only playing in 23 total games over those two years.

Then in 2017, as a 19-year-old made the move to the mound. That season he pitched for the DSL Astros Orange team. He struggled at times with his control, walking 26 batters in 38.2 innings, but he also struck out 43 batters and posted a 2.56 ERA. In 2018 he came stateside and pitched for the Gulf Coast League Astros. He made three starts and six relief appearances, covering 28.0 innings. His control improved, walking 14 batters, and he struck out 34 while posting a 2.25 ERA. In 2019he was limited in his usage – he missed over a month of the season, which in rookie ball is quite a bit since the season only lasts two months – throwing just 7.1 innings over seven games. The control was again an issue as he walked 11 batters with 11 strikeouts.

There’s not much out there, currently, on the kind of stuff he’s bringing to the table. Last night I reached out to a few sources and had one get back to me saying that he had good stuff (wasn’t specific beyond that), but that he was “still raw”. That’s not too surprising given that he’s a converted infielder who has thrown 74.0 innings over parts of the last three seasons.

Reds add Gutierrez, O’Brien, Solomon to the 40-man

The Cincinnati Reds added three prospects to the 40-man roster ahead of the upcoming Rule 5 draft – all of them being right-handed pitchers. Vladimir Gutierrez, Riley O’Brien, and Jared Solomon were new additions to the roster, and congratulations on the pay upgrade, gentlemen.

Gutierrez, who signed for $4,750,000 in September of 2016 out of Cuba, is currently in the Dominican Republic and is in the rotation for Licey. When he will take the mound next is up in the air, though, as the team had several players test positive for COVID-19 and they have suspended their next few games. Speaking of suspensions – Gutierrez served 60 games of his 80 game suspension for a failed PED test from spring training in 2020. He will have to serve the remaining 20 games in 2021.

For now, Gutierrez can provide some rotation depth in the minor leagues, but could also be a bullpen option in the future where he can be a strike thrower with the possibility that his fastball plays up and he can mix in his quality secondary offerings as a reliever.

Riley O’Brien came over to the Reds organization in August of 2020 as the return for Cody Reed in a deal with Tampa Bay. In 2019 he pitched in Advanced-A and Double-A, making 17 starts and three relief appearances. In his 102.2 innings he allowed 76 hits, just six homers, walked 44 batters, and struck out 107 hitters to go with a 3.16 ERA. After being acquired in August, the Reds assigned him to their 60-man player pool at Prasco Park where he pitched for the next four weeks before the season came to an end. The right-handed pitcher can reach 97 MPH, but sits in the 91-95 MPH range with his fastball. He also throws a plus breaking ball, and he has a change up – but it’s one that needs work.

Jared Solomon is probably the least known of the three internal prospects that were added to the 40-man roster on Friday. The 11th round pick in 2017 pitched in both Dayton and Daytona in the 2019 season. He didn’t pitch in 2020 until instructional league – which began in late September and ran into the middle of the first week of November. While out in Goodyear for instructional league, Solomon showed some extra velocity on his fastball, getting up to 98 MPH. As a starter in 2019 he mostly sat in the 92-94 range, though there were a few games where he was a little bit higher than that. During that season he threw 115.1 innings with a 3.98 while allowing 116 hits, 61 walks, and he struck out 111 batters.