The Cincinnati Reds and New York Mets made a trade late on Thursday night with Cincinnati acquiring prospects Jose Acuna and Hector Rodriguez from the Mets for outfielder Tyler Naquin and reliever Phillip Diehl.

Tyler Naquin was due to become a free agent after this season was over, and Phillip Diehl is a 28-year-old reliever that was in Triple-A that was not on the team’s 40-man roster. That kind of package of players doesn’t tend to bring back well known prospects. Jose Acuna and Hector Rodriguez certainly fall into that category. Neither player was rated among the New York Mets top 30 prospects by either Baseball America or MLB Pipeline. But both players are teenagers who are performing well this season.

Jose Acuna Scouting Report

Right-Handed Pitcher

Height: 6′ 2″ | Weight: 213 lbs

Born: October 20, 2002

Originally signed in 2019 by the Mets, Jose Acuna made his professional debut in 2021 at the complex level in Florida. He didn’t pitch much, throwing just 7.0 innings in four games over the first three weeks of the season before not appearing again in a game over the final two months. This season he returned for the Florida Complex League and pitched there for the first five weeks of the season before being promoted up to the Low-A St. Lucie Mets two weeks ago. Between his two stops this season he’s thrown 33.2 innings with 22 hits (2 home runs) allowed, 12 walks, and he’s struck out 48.

Fastball: The pitch has worked between 91-94 MPH this season and he’s topped out at 95. The pitch does have an above-average spin rate.

Change Up: The pitch has been working between 82-86 MPH this season.

Slider: It’s working in the 81-85 MPH range this year.

Cutter: He’s only thrown a few of them in his two starts for the St. Lucie Mets, but they’ve been between 86-89 MPH.

Hector Rodriguez Scouting Report

Outfielder

Height: 5′ 8″ | Weight: 186 lbs

Born: March 11, 2004

Signed by the Mets in January of 2021, Hector Rodriguez went to their Dominican Republic complex last season and hit .301/.376/.472 as a 17-year-old. That performance earned him a promotion to the US in 2022 and he’s spent much of his year at the complex in Florida where he hit .356/.387/.558 with 6 walks, 9 strikeouts, 12 steals, 4 doubles, 4 triples, and 3 home runs in 26 games (111 plate appearances). He also went 1-7 with a walk while filling in for two games for the Low-A St. Lucie Mets.

Rodriguez controls the bat well and he rarely strikes out at this point in his career. Just 18-years-old, he really sticks out for his ability to make contact and put the barrel on the baseball. He’s probably close to being maxed out from a physical standpoint, but should get a little stronger as he gets older. He’s considered a plus runner who can play center. In 2021 he spent most of his time at second base and third base, but almost all of his time in 2022 has been spent in the outfield – making just two starts at second base this year.

Immediate Reaction

This feels like a nice get for Cincinnati. While neither player is considered a top prospect right this second, both players are real prospects who are just getting their careers started and have tools to go along with early production at the lower levels. To get that for a bench player that’s a free agent in two months and a 28-year-old Triple-A reliever sounds like highway robbery.

Rodriguez is going to be assigned to the team out at the Reds complex in Arizona where he’ll join a bunch of other young guys who have been crushing the ball. Acuna is heading to Daytona where he’ll join the Tortugas.

37 Responses

  1. Bdh

    Saw one of the evaluators for baseball prospectus say in his opinion Acuna was probably better than any of the players headed to KC in the Benintendi trade

    Also in my opinion Rodriguez’s numbers seem like a good Alejo Lopez comp only faster/more SB.

    Overall 2 teenagers who’ve already reached A ball and put up the numbers they have is a really good return here. Can’t believe Krall was able to get that much value in return for 2 months of Naquin

    Reply
    • Greenfield Red

      Bdh… agree. I generally agree with your posts.

      I hope this is the beginning of a great weekend for future of the Cincinnati Reds. That return, for what was given up, was exactly what the Reds need to pursue with these upcoming trades.

      In my opinion, the World Series can be won in Cincinnati, and building like this is how you do it.

      I am hopeful NK told the Yankees Volpe and the pitcher (Wal something) plus or Peraza and Dominquez plus or we trade him to your competition… even if we take a little less from them. Yankees want to be the bully on the Block. Tell them to put up or shut up.

      Reply
    • Alex Reds

      Bdh, I do like the trade. It’s respectable considering Naquin is a solid player but with only a couple months of control and very limited value. Frees up a bit of money that Naquin was to be paid and opens up a spot on the roster for a younger player. I do prefer the Reds go with very young prospects to get a bit higher ceiling as possible when they are trading away players with limited value. I don’t think the Reds got that much value, the players weren’t top 30 prospects on the Mets and they won’t be on the Reds now either. However, by going young in the future the players still can surprise and move up. I do think the Reds have a decent number of young prospects not in their top 30 that would rate higher than either of these two. Also, the stats were very limited so far in A ball. I would add that the Benintendi trade prospects that KC got were significantly higher current value. Royals got TJ Sikkema, Sikkema in A+ ball pitched 36 innings, 21 hits allowed, 54 strikeouts, with a .154 batting average against, and 0.83 WHIP.

      Alexis Diaz was not a highly rated prospect. Diaz is the Reds best reliever and one of the best in baseball, and with almost all of the 6 years of control left. Alexis Diaz is a very valuable player right now, and you can still build a team with players that weren’t the highest rated prospect.

      Reply
      • Greenfield Red

        They are 18 and 19 and doing very well. You would expect a new guy to strike a lot as he adjusts. Not the case here. Hit tool is probably the most important tool.

        Also, Benetendi a better hitter than Naquin. Not a good comparison.

      • Mo84

        Sikema is also 24 yo pitching in high A ball. He should be good. Acuna is 19 yo pitching in low A and putting up good results. I’ll take that flyer all day long. Limited innings is just how it’s done these days.

      • Greenfield Red

        24 in A ball iss exactly what the Reds do not need.

        As someone else said, I’ll take this return all day long for Naquin, Pham, Solono, Farmer, and others. Need much more for Drury, and the big 2 pitchers.

        I hope they get so many young guys with real futures that Doug feels compelled to expand his list to 50!

    • DaveCT

      If Rodriguez can stick in CF, he’s have more defensive versatility than Lopez.

      Reply
  2. Stock

    I like the Lopez comp by BDH on Hector Rodriguez because of the bat control. A second comp would be Carlos Jorge. Difference with Rodriguez/Lopez is Lopez showed no power and Rodriguez has a .202 ISO in Florida this year. As for my Rodriguez/Jorge comparison, Jorge has a little more speed and a little more power but can’t compete with Rodriguez in bat control at this point. I am willing to sacrifice a little power for the bat control.

    I think people are looking at this all wrong. Rodriguez wasn’t a top 25 Mets prospect in December 2021 but Balcazar and Jorge were not top 25 Reds prospects in December 2021. Just like Balcazar and Jorge came to Arizona and proved their exploits in the DSL were legit and both moved into Doug’s top 20 so did Rodriguez. I see no problem slotting Rodriguez right next to them and could even see him ranked higher than them.

    Acuna has a 36% K% this year. This is very good. I would prefer a 19 year old with a 36% K% in Florida and low A ball than a 24 year old with a 38% K% in high A ball.

    This return is fantastic and both players should be in Doug’s top 25 right now. Hopefully a week from now they will not be.

    In 2016 Doug expanded his top 25 to top 27 to include new prospects brought in a trade (Luis Castillo and Austin Brice).

    I would love to see that again this year. I am pretty sure Collier, Stewart, Acuna and Rodriguez would make the top 25 so Doug would have to have a top 29. If Logan Tanner moves above Vellojin then you have a top 30. Hopefully, the Reds acquire another 10+ players better than Vellojin and Doug creates a top 40+.

    Great first trade by Krall. Keep it going.

    Daytona will be so good next year.

    Reply
    • Jack

      He seems to be much stronger the Lopez. 5′ 8″ 186 is a pretty stocky build and with great speed seems like it must all be fast twitch muscle so probably a surprising amount of power in there.

      Reply
  3. RedBB

    Good get. Both guys look likely to be on top 25 lists by the end of the year especially if they play well in A ball.

    Reply
  4. RedsGettingBetter

    I would say that If Mr. Doug thinks it is a nice return in this trade , it is for sure…

    Reply
  5. Brad

    Wrote this on other thread, but Hector Rodriguez sounds a lot like former Reds Minor Leagues great Henry Rodriguez. Not overly athletic enough to lock down a specific defensive position, can really hit, little power, big numbers BA. Hope he has similar career trajectory as a valuable minor leaguer and serviceable major leaguer for a short time.

    I like the idea of loading up younger talent and letting them sort it out. A lot of talent in system ages 17-19.

    C: Salcedo (add Duno soon)
    1B: Stewart
    2B: Jorge, Minier, Rodriguez
    SS: Balcazar, Cabrera, Valencia
    3B: Collier, Reyes
    OF: Almonte, Valdez, Rijo, Pineda, Allen, Confidan, Sanchez
    SP: Huggins, Acuna, Brutti

    Reply
    • Brad

      Also, I find some of these prospect evals humorous. 1 says Hector Rodriguez is not very athletic while others have him as a CF…

      Reply
      • Doug Gray

        The fangraphs report that cites that is strange given that it was released two weeks ago and talks about him being a middle infielder when he’s almost exclusively played outfield this season. Yeah, he was an infielder last year, but he’s played there once this season (maybe he played there during extended spring?). Feels like the report could have been updated a bit given that he hadn’t played a single inning of infield in the 2022 season when the report was released but had played like 20 games in the outfield.

      • Brad

        Details…. Ha. Thanks for clearing up.

        I also forgot Petty is still only 19. Add him to list as well.

      • Redsvol

        Anyone that swipes 12 bases and only caught 3 times is sure enough athletic. Even in low levels.

  6. MK

    Kind of thought they would just drive across state to Daytona. Really surprised to hear last night that the Tortugas so decimated by CoVid that they are sending guys from Dayton and Arizona so they have enough players to field a team.

    Reply
  7. AMDG

    Naquin is a slightly above player who was acquired as a low-end free agent. And Diehl was a waiver grab in April who owns a career ERA around 9.50

    Neither guy was likely to play for the Reds in 2023, so packaging them both to get a pair of prospects is good.

    For the guys coming back, historically, the odds are against younger players who aren’t very highly regarded. But they are very young and so far, are performing very well. So there is some promise and hope that comes with them. So that’s exciting.

    Reply
  8. kevinzs

    Like it for fact went for youth over older prospects.
    But devlp them has been the issue.
    Not so good with very young players with upside.

    Reply
  9. Bdh

    Mariners rumors on Castillo making me a bit nervous. I’d much rather get the prospect package they could get from NY, LA, or even SD. Mainly the Yankees though

    Should be several high end prospects in the return but I am Really hoping Peraza is the top guy coming back. When the trade rumors started I wasn’t that high in him but I’ve seen some really good defensive highlights and he’s absolutely tearing the cover off the ball the last month and a half in AAA.

    Since June 11th in 28 games here’s what he’s done in AAA

    42-112 (.375) with a 1.106 OPS+ (8HR, 9 2B). Only striking out around 21% and he’s been good stealing bases too 14 SB in 16 attempts. Those are some crazy numbers in a 28 game period and he’s only 22.

    If the reds take on Gallo or send anyone with Castillo they should get more than this but if the reds sent Castillo to the Yankees for Peraza, one of (Dominguez, Wells, Pereira), and one of (Waldichuk, Wesneski, and Warren) I think I’d actually be on board with it

    Move India to 3rd and have a middle infield of Peraza and Barrero. Farmer can back up all 3 spots next year

    Reply
    • DaveCT

      Any deal with the Mariners should begin and end with George Kirby. For Castillo, George Kirby. Emerson Hancock is good, but not in the same league as Kirby. Not saying he won’t be, but as of now, no. Their young catcher, Harry “Don’t Call Me Henry” Ford would be a solid second player in the haul. Jared Kelenic can also be taken but only if he’s a 3rd player in the haul. He’s very talented but hasn’t figured things at the ML out yet. They have two or three young relievers throwing 100, too. There’s talent there. Not hyped but quality.

      Reply
      • Optimist

        I’m in the camp of anyone but the Yankees for a Castillo trade, and I’m even leaning toward keeping him and let a trade stew up over the winter.

        All that said, though, don’t undersell the Mariners prospect list. I’d be shocked if they give up Kirby; and Kelenic as the only high value player is not enough, BUT, they have plenty of other younger options available.

        The Williamson/Phillips duo is the template to follow – an older but not too old AA prospect, and a high draft pick teenager. Put that with Kelenic and a deal is possible.

        Seattle and the Dodgers are also the only teams likely to offer some prospects and take an additional contract from the Reds (Moose?) if it comes to that.

    • MBS

      I like Dominguez / Wells / (Waldichuk, or Warren) because I feel like it fits our needs better. Having said that, I have to admit a Barrero, Peraza double play combo sounds pretty nice. Who’d be the SS, and who’d be the 2B? The nice thing about your trade package is it’s a more immediate help, mine will take longer to start paying dividends.

      Reply
  10. rick in boise

    OK, Doug — while this is ridiculous in reality but…

    What could we send to get Ohtani?
    Castillo
    Mahle
    maybe another SP?
    Aquino/Hendrick
    Barrero/ALopez
    C like Nelson or Vallojin

    Reply
    • DaveCT

      Throw in Phil Castellini and it’s a deal.

      That’s a no, IMO.

      The question is why. Ohtani is gone once FA arrives. I’m guessing the Dodgers will sign him and he’ll stay in LA. Don’t underestimate the travel issue with the Asian players. West Coast may be the Left Coast, but it’s closer to home for some.

      Reply
      • rick in boise

        and throw in some cash to pay for Phil? :)
        (“If you want Mahle, just take Phil C off our hands”, lol)

        If it looks like we won’t get enough for Castillo & Mahle – why not swing big, then flip Ohtani for much more?

  11. Brad

    Not sure why offloading Moustakas contract matters. Reds payroll is set to be around $67m.next year after Castillo and Mahle are moved. They aren’t going to be competitive in 2023. Won’t spend again until 2024, when Moustakas will be off the books and Votto probably retires.

    Reply
  12. Stock

    Do the Reds have a new #1 prospect? Novlei Marte is now a Red and Castillo is moving to Seattle

    Reply
    • Bdh

      Lodolo will graduate off the lists and it should be close between Marte and De La Cruz. Arroyo, Phillips, McLain, Williamson, and Collier are all top 100 talents too. Abbott, Allen, and Petty not far off and the reds could still get another top 100 level prospect in Mahle’s trade package. Farm system is getting loaded!

      Reply
  13. kevinzs

    Going to Miss you Luis man, do well in Seattle.
    hopefully this young Talent.
    Got stacked up are Legit.

    Reply
  14. Greenfield Red

    Doug, you’re going to need some erasers, white out, and coffee. Should we take up a collection?

    Reply

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