After the Cincinnati Reds spent two international signing periods in the dog house for blowing past their allotment amount to sign Jose Barrero, Vladimir Gutierrez, and Alfredo Rodriguez (among others – but they were the big three who caused the overage), the team made a splash in July of 2019 when they were allowed to spend big again. The Reds picked up two players on 7-figure signing bonuses with the biggest bonus going to then 16-year-old infielder Braylin Minier.

While things have changed in the few years since he signed, Minier was the biggest international signing of a non-Cuban player in over a decade by the Reds. He was only the second non-Cuban player that the Reds had given a 7-figure signing bonus to in over a decade.

Unfortunately for Braylin Minier, and the entire 2019 signing class, the 2020 season was cancelled and they all had to wait to begin their professional careers (at least in terms of playing in official games). Minier, who likely was going to play in the Dominican Summer League in 2020 had the season taken place, was pushed to the Arizona Complex League in 2021 for his professional debut. That debut took place nearly two years after he signed.

The 18-year-old got out to a slow start in Arizona. Over the first three weeks of the season he hit .156/.240/.289 in 12 games played. Things turned around, though. From July 24th through the end of the season he played in 27 more games and hit .300/.339/.440.

When the 2022 season began, Minier remained back in Arizona in extended spring training. Still just 18-years-old, it was understandable that he may not find his way onto the field until later in the season. But last week the infielder got the call up to join the Low-A Daytona Tortugas. He’s picked up right where he left off last season at the plate. In the six games he’s played with Daytona he’s hit .300/.364/.650 with two home runs.

Defensively it seems that most observers don’t think shortstop is in his future at this point, though he started every game there last season in Arizona (when he was in the field – he did serve as the DH in a few games). Last night he played there for Daytona for the first time, but has played four games at third and one at second. When talking with people last year the compliments were all about his bat. Observers liked his ability to hit for both average and some power in the future.

There’s plenty of question about where Braylin Minier will wind up on the defensive spectrum. Fangraphs was brutally honest with their first sentence while writing up his report last month:

Minier was a high-profile amateur middle infield signee who fell down the defensive spectrum at a shocking clip, trending toward the 3B/1B/DH area during his first full pro season.

They did have some nice things to say about his bat, though, but also warned that there were plenty of concerns already in the profile. Minier certainly doesn’t resemble the player he was when he signed. There’s enough there to like with the bat that he could still be a player that could work as a corner infielder if he continues to develop at the plate.

13 Responses

  1. DaveCT

    Yikes, Minier sure doesn’t look like a middle infielder, meaning he seems pretty thick in the legs and body. So, yep, this sure changes my depth chart. But I’ll take a bat first 3B or 1B post JoJo. That seemed like some easy power in the clip.

    One comment. The scouts who thought AlfRod would hit — are they the same who thought Minier was a SS? A rhetorical question more than anything. But still. I suspect projecting how a guy’s body develops is harder than it seems, and it already seems difficult.

    • Doug Gray

      Old weight. He’s listed at 219 in the Reds Media Guide. Sometimes it takes a while for that stuff to get updated on the various websites.

  2. Optimist

    He is not built like a SS, that’s for sure. But, if he’s got the arm and speed to play SS, then move him around freely. At least try him at RF and 3rd before giving up and looking at bat only.

  3. Jim Delaney

    I understand the issues with his defense and position but the key is the hit tool. If he can rake, he will get a shot. You never have enough pitching or guys who really know how to hit. Far more in on a guy who will hit than a toolsy athlete who can’t hit a ball swinging an oar at the plate.

    • Optimist

      Puckett and Gwynn were athletes, Kruk, of course, self identified as a ballplayer.

  4. LarkinPhillips

    @ Doug, any professional comps for Minier right now? Maybe a Jose Ramirez ceiling (I am dreaming).

    • Doug Gray

      Personally, I hate making comps. I really don’t even like talking about them much because when someone gives a comp they could mean different things. Sometimes the comp is “will play like”, but sometimes it’s “is built like and has mechanics like” and those two things are very, very different.

      That said, C. Trent Rosecrans was out in Arizona this spring and one of the Reds coaches that was there said “he’s got some Rafael Devers in him”. (link: https://theathletic.com/3232630/2022/04/06/final-observations-from-a-surprisingly-relaxed-and-positive-reds-camp/)

    • Old Big Ed

      Rafael Devers was who I thought of as I watched the various videos of Minier. Devers was also a chunkster when he first came up, and has now gotten in a lot better shape. I suspect that he got turned loose in Arizona and put himself on an uninformed American diet (i.e, one too much like mine), and he will need to adjust.

      If Miniers can hit, they will find a spot for him. He could always play left field. I suspect that he will follow the course that Devers took, slim down, and force the Reds’ hand on moving him up.

  5. RedsGettingBetter

    It seems there will be always concerns about Reds top prospects according to scouts reports taking value off of them about hitting or defense or whatever…Let’s see their development nothing more…

    • Doug Gray

      You say that like it’s done because they are Reds prospects and not because they have questions in those areas.

  6. Troy

    Definitely see a Devers-ish swing. Also Francisco-ish as well imo.. just very loose.. so hopefully the result is more of the former than the latter