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
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
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.
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.