In the big league phase of the Rule 5 Draft the Cincinnati Reds lost right-handed pitcher Mac Sceroler to the Baltimore Orioles. I wrote about that over at Redleg Nation, so if you want to check that out, here’s the link. Cincinnati passed on making a selection in the Major League Rule 5 Draft, but they were active on both sides of things in the Minor League Rule 5 Draft as they selected six players and lost three others. Here’s the list (links to each players Baseball Reference page):
Cincinnati Reds selections in the minor league phase:
- Errol Robinson – Shortstop (Dodgers)
- Wilfred Astudillo – Catcher (Mets)
- Chuckie Robinson – Catcher (Astros)
- Yoel Yanqui – First Baseman (D-Backs)
- Wes Robertson – RHP (Rangers)
- Steven Leyton – SS (D-Backs)
Cincinnati Reds losses in the minor league phase:
Cincinnati took Robinson with their first selection in the minor league phase of the Rule 5 draft earlier today. In 2019 he split his season between Double-A Tulsa and Triple-A Oklahoma City. His 46 games in Tulsa were strong as he hit .310/.390/.400 as a 24-year-old that played mostly shortstop (some time at second and third). But when he moved up to Triple-A things at the plate didn’t carry forward. In his 61 games for Oklahoma City he hit just .220/.304/.298. The biggest difference between the two stops was his BABIP. In Double-A it was .381 and in Triple-A it was .278.
At the plate there’s not much power in his bat, and despite not having much power he does have more swing-and-miss to his game than you’d like (20% strikeout rate). Where he does stand out, though, is on the defensive side where he’s a well above-average to plus defender at both second base and shortstop. He also has above-average speed, though he hasn’t always been successful as a base stealer.
The Reds picked up catcher Wilfred Astudillo with their second pick in the minor league phase of the Rule 5 draft. The 20-year-old catcher last played in 2019 with the no-longer affiliated Kingsport Mets in the Appalachian League. In 36 games he hit .267/.323/.408. The younger brother of Twins Willians Astudillo, Wilfred was strong behind the plate according to the numbers. He allowed just two passed balls and he threw out 12 of 26 attempted base stealers (46%) for the Mets during the season.
With their third selection of the minor league phase of the Rule 5 draft the Reds took another catcher. Chuckie Robinson was the 21st round pick of the Houston Astros in 2016 and has worked his way up through their farm system, reaching Double-A in the 2019 season. At the plate he’s struggled to hit in his last two seasons, posting a sub .300 on-base percentage in both Advanced-A and Double-A to go along with a .661 and a .600 OPS. In 2019 his strikeout rate jumped up to 29% as he fanned 118 times in 409 plate appearances. The power hasn’t shown up much for Robinson in his career, but there is some power potential in there for him if he can put things together at the plate.
Behind the plate is where Robinson stands out right now. Baseball America named him as the Houston Astros best defensive catcher among their minor league players heading into the 2020 season. In 2018 he threw out 54% of attempted base stealers for Advanced-A Buies Creek. In 2019 he followed that up with a 29% caught stealing rate for Double-A Corpus Christi.
The Reds picked up Cuban-born first baseman/outfielder Yoel Yanqui with their fourth selection in the minor league phase of the Rule 5 draft on Thursday. Originally signed by Arizona in June of 2017, Yanqui has worked his way up to the Advanced-A level with the D-Backs organization. In 2019 he was with their affiliate in Visalia where he hit .272/.358/.442 in the hitter friendly California League. In his 84 games he walked 40 times with 76 strikeouts and he stole 17 bases.
Cincinnati selected right-handed pitcher Wes Robertson with their fifth pick in the minor league phase of the Rule 5 draft. Originally an undrafted signing by the Rangers in 2017, Robertson split his 2019 season with Low-A Hickory and Advanced-A Down East. He didn’t spend much time on the mound in either stop, making six strong appearances for Hickory where he allowed two earned runs in 13.0 innings with five walks and 10 strikeouts. For Down East he allowed 11 earned runs in 14.0 innings where he walked seven batters and struck out just six. His season came to an end on June 29th when he made his final appearance after coming off of the injured list after missing the previous three weeks. He would go on to have Tommy John surgery.
Watching one of his relief appearances for Hickory (only two of his appearances from 2019 are available on MiLB.tv) he was throwing 96 MPH with a good looking mid-80’s slider.
The final pick of the Rule 5 draft, both for the Cincinnati Reds and for the entire draft, the organization picked up infielder Steven Leyton from Arizona. Signed out of Nicaragua in 2016, he’s worked his way up to Low-A. He last played in 2019, splitting time between rookie level Hillsboro in the Northwest League and Kane County in the Low-A Midwest League. With Hillsboro he hit .264/.355/.409 with 17 walks and 25 strikeouts in 41 games. His time with Kane County, though, was a struggle. He had two shorter stints in the league – one in April and then one in August and between the two he hit just .159/.217/.187 with 3 walks and 19 strikeouts in 33 games. Most of his time has been spent at shortstop, but the soon to be 22-year-old (December 17th birthday) has also played some at second base in his professional career.
Fun Fact: Most of his college career was spent as a catcher. He only threw 3.2 innings in college across four games as a junior. He also pitched the summer following his junior year for Seacoast in the Futures Collegiate Baseball League – but was limited to just 4.0 innings there, too.
Minor League Rule 5 Rules
Unlike the big league version of the Rule 5 draft where a player must remain in the Major Leagues or be offered back to the team they were selected from, that doesn’t apply to the Minor League phase of the Rule 5 draft. Once a player is selected they are then under contract with the new organization, with no stipulations involved. They can be placed at any level in the organization when baseball begins again.