In this week’s piece in the series we are going to look at the corner outfielders for the Cincinnati Reds. With the entire outfield in Cincinnati currently without a for-sure starter on the 40-man roster there is both a need and plenty of opportunity for guys in the farm system to step up and step in.

Starting down in the Dominican Summer League there were two guys that jumped out in their debut seasons. We’ll start by talking about Carlos Sanchez. The 17-year-old saw action at third base as well as right field, but he posted a .788 fielding percentage at third base so there’s reason to think there’s a decent chance he winds up as an outfielder down the line. At the plate is where he really stood out in 2022, hitting .355/.506/.442 with 14 stolen bases, 40 walks, and just 28 strikeouts in 182 plate appearances. It’s the lowest level of professional baseball, but Sanchez also had one of the best debuts we’ve seen from an international signing in recent years (and there have been more than a few good ones).

While Carlos Sanchez wound up putting together an outstanding season, it was Esmith Pineda that was turning heads early in the year for the DSL Reds. One of the bigger signings in the Reds 2022 international signing class, Pineda hit .367/.456/.592 in the first three weeks of the season with seven walks and nine strikeouts in 57 plate appearances. But that’s also the point where his season came to an end as he suffered an ankle injury that would cost him the remainder of the season.

Out in Arizona it was Reds 19th rated prospect Ariel Almonte that stood out in the corners. He was one of the Reds big international signings in 2021 and after a good debut season that year he came out and hit better this past year. With the team out in Goodyear he hit .286/.390/.493 with 17 extra-base hits, 21 walks, and 49 strikeouts in 164 plate appearances. He spent all of his time in right field when he was playing defense (he was the designated hitter a few times during the season). Reports out of Arizona were good for the most part, though he’s going to likely need to cut down on the strikeouts some.

When the season began in Daytona Austin Hendrick found himself back with the Single-A Tortugas after spending his season there in 2021. In some ways things went better and in some ways things went worse. He matched his home run total in 36 games (versus 63 games in 2021), but he hit just .205/.297/.402 and saw his walk rate drop off big time while his strikeout rate remained through the roof (40%). Despite those struggles he was promoted to join High-A Dayton in late May. Things didn’t improve there for the ten weeks as he hit .207/.271/.402 with 11 walks and 75 strikeouts in 181 plate appearances. But when August rolled around things started improving and over the final six weeks of the season the 2020 1st round pick hit .247/.373/.526 with 18 walks and 32 strikeouts in 118 plate appearances. Six weeks is a small sample size compared to his career to this point, but it’s the first stretch he’s shown an ability to make contact at an acceptable rate, and he did so while showing off big power and drawing plenty of walks. It’s worth keeping an eye on for 2023 to see if he can continue with those improvements.

Rece Hinds, the Reds #15 prospect, began his season in Dayton, and much like Austin Hendrick he struggled to put the bat on the ball. In April, Hinds struck out 33 times in 66 plate appearances and hit just .138. He was able to get things turned around a bit and over the next two months he hit .284/.351/.470 with 52 strikeouts in 148 plate appearances. That’s still a higher strikeout rate than you’d like to see, but it moved in the right direction. Unfortunately he missed two months after breaking his hamate bone int he middle of the season. When he returned in late August he hit .250/.292/.536 in the final 20 games of the year – including a call up to Double-A for the final week of the year. He’s struggled to stay healthy since being drafted, leading to less playing time than you’d like to see. Hinds is going to need to make more contact, but his power, speed, and arm strength are all plus tools that play well.

TJ Hopkins began the year in Chattanooga where he hit 17 home runs and put up an .800 OPS for the Lookouts in 101 games. The Reds promoted him to Triple-A for the final month of the year. Things were going well, as he hit .306/.367/.542 in the first 20 games, but a final week slump dropped his OPS down to .757. While he’s had some experience in center he profiles better in the corners where his range isn’t quite as stretched.

The Others

Yerlin Confidan was a Top 25 prospect entering the year but spent most of the season injured and managed just 103 plate appearances on the season – hitting .241/.359/.391. In 2021 he won the MVP of the Arizona Complex League while leading the league in home runs and posting an OPS of .932. There’s good power in his bat, and his walk rate took a big jump this season in limited action.

Jack Rogers crushed the ball in his final two seasons at Sam Houston State, posting an OPS of 1.148 and 1.170 before the Reds selected him in the 9th round in 2021. In 2022 he struggled in April with High-A Dayton, hitting just .097 in 21 games. Cincinnati sent him to Daytona where he’d play the rest of the year. He turned things around in a big way, hitting .285/.357/.510 with the Tortugas and posting high exit velocity numbers while doing so. He’s a bit older than you want to see for a guy who has struggled in High-A, but he’s worth keeping an eye on as a potential break out guy in 2023.


The corner outfield spots have plenty of upside throughout the farm. There are plenty of unanswered questions with a lot of that upside, too.


B-. Just like the group in center – there are a handful of corner guys here that could profile as big league starters if things go right in their development and a few who could be above-average players. But between the guys who are still in rookie ball and the guys with big time question marks in full season ball there’s no one who looks like a for-sure big leaguer here, either. With the Reds in need of outfielders the 2023 season could be big for anyone who can step up and take their game to the next level.

Corner Outfielder Stats

You can see all of the State of the Farm series here.

29 Responses

  1. Tom

    Every one of these players has a tremendous opportunity to earn an MLB career with the Reds. Happy for them.

  2. Matt

    Hendrick maintaining the stride he found the last month and a half of the season would be huge moving forward for the Reds. I would probably start him in Dayton, and if April goes well, get him to Chattanooga. As far as his positioning, he played a lot of CF for Dayton. Does his defense ability profile more as a corner guy (I assume so since he’s on this list)?

    I think Hopkins finds his way to Cincinnati this season. I cautiously post this because of an interaction I had on RLN yesterday, but, he hits lefties really well (also hits righties good). He’d be a great platoon partner for Fraley.

    Jack Rogers will be interesting to follow. He put up absolute wicked numbers at Sam Houston State.

    • Tom

      Since we’re trying to be the A’s now, and the A’s always seem to tear down, and look to be headed for a decade long rebuild only to reappear atop their division in 3 years (with a bunch of no-names), it makes me consider the possibility that player opportunity is a very key ingredient. Drury, Gennett, Naquin, the list goes on, they just needed a good opportunity. Hopkins may have his and take advantage of it.

    • MK

      Felt bad for Jack Rogers at Dayton as he went zero for April. You could tell as the month continued, he was carrying a huge weight on his back.

  3. LDS

    Sounds like the Reds will have to sign some FAs or trade aggressively. Hopkins may be adequate in the near term. Hendricks & Hinds always seem to be derailed, although I have higher hopes for Hinds. The ACL/DSL guys look more promising, but they are a good number of years away. Still this writeup highlights the questionable claim that the Reds will be competitive in 2024, 2025, etc.

  4. Optimist

    The under-20s are all 3-5 years away, and of the other 4, seems like only Hinds has made close to steady progress, but even that is hard to see under all the injury time. Opportunities galore throughout the organization, so maybe one of them will make a big step forward.

    • DaveCT

      I have to believe we might get a decent platoon (or two) out of the upper level guys in this group, including Friedl, Fraley and Fairchild.

      Having Hendricks and/or Hinds become a fulltime regular would be great but even if they end up splitting time in RF, there’s still value in that.

  5. Old Big Ed

    The stat that jumps out is the .505 OBP for Carlos Sanchez, with a 15.4% SO rate, at the age of 17. That’s the equivalent of a 2-year-old first-time starter winning by 12 lengths at Saratoga.

    Plus, he had 14 SBs in 46 games, so he at least can run a little bit.

    The organization has made massive strides with their Latin American signings over the past 4 years or so.

  6. MK

    Got to witness Hendrick all summer and was impressed by how hard the young man played, his hustle and his improvement was noticeable. He was a good defender as he played the corners and centerfield. Justice Thompson played some corner outfield for Dragons as did Allen Cerda. I was encouraged at Austin’s future abilities by the end of the season

    • DaveCT

      We also have Drew Mount coming back from injury, likely at AAA.

  7. MBS

    I like the upside of both Hinds and Confidan, but the K’s, injuries, and poor fielding keeps me from getting very excited. Hopfully some of these even younger guys will seem more complete as they progres up. I very convinced we need to 1, sign or trade for an OF, and 2, transition a SS to the OF. The pickings are slim to say the least.

    • MK

      Hinds has a throwing arm from RF that rivals AA. He had a throw from the right field corner to third base that absolutely quieted the crowd in awe for a few seconds.

      • MBS

        I think Confidan also has a cannon. The arm strength is not in question for either of them. Either could become a quality player, but neither are getting penciled into my 2025 lineup cards. I was very excited for both of them in 22, but injury and poor play kinda soured me on both. I will be very excited if one or both have a solid 23. You could add Hendricks to was excited, and could be again if…

      • Doug Gray

        In very limited data I’ve seen Hinds up to 98 with the arm strength. I think Aquino’s been up to 101. Certainly comparable arms.

      • tom Turner

        hinds has the arm and the talent, but, too repeat what another poster said earlier on this board, cut down on k’s and stay healthy. He is a guy that really needs to stay inside the baseball more, he has so much power it will go, needs to not get so pull happy.

  8. Optimist

    The B- grade is a bit generous, but does reflect the potential at the lower levels. Perhaps an “Incomplete” is more accurate. As for help in MLB this season, and maybe next, a D- is the goal – it’s F right now.

    • Chris in NC

      Agreed. As hopeful as I am about all those kids at the lower levels, there isn’t anyone that’s even close to MLB ready.

      B- is very kind.

  9. Redsvol

    very disappointing that we don’t have more to show at this position from the last 5 drafts and international signings. I can see some glimmer of hope in the lower minors but the upper minors are quite barren in stud outfielders.

    We had a good opportunity to get a really good college outfielder last draft at spot #32 and instead chose a high school third baseman. Jud Fabian, Dylan Beavers, Brock Jones and Jordan Beck have all had excellent debuts in ’22 with some slated to already be in AA this year. We would have really used one of them in the system.

  10. AMDG

    There seems to be a common theme among the guys 19 and older – Lots of K’s & Few hits.

    It will be interesting to follow them over the next few years and see if any of them can make enough progress with the bat to become a 4th or 5th outfielder type who bounces between AAA and MLB .

  11. RedFuture

    Here is hoping the 17 year old’s are able to keep their K% down as they advance through the system. The other K% are horrendous and hopefully the illegal shift will allow strikeouts to be less tolerated by the powers that be! I agree with Matt that Hopkins has a big chance in front of him this spring to make the team or a huge impression for later in the season.

  12. RedBB

    That’s a pretty depressing list and yes I’m not very high on Hinds. The good news is one of the several SS’s can easily transition to 3B. Not sure why CES isn’t on this list too.

  13. MK

    Did I read a comment some time ago that Hector Rodriguez broke his leg?

  14. Tom

    According to Ken Rosenthal, the Reds are looking to add to their outfield prospects by trading from their shortstop prospects. I wonder which ones they’d be willing to trade. A high-end swap like EDLC for Corbin Carol would be incredibly interesting. I don’t know that I would want to make that call, but it is very interesting.

    • tom Turner

      would be willing to trade Marte, from the sounds of things he may not have the work ethic we need for him to succeed of for the other players to see out of top prospects. ELDC is untouchable in my opinion. Would like to hang onto Arroyo b/c of his natural shortstop qualities. Our #1 draft pick this year also untouchable just due to the bat potential and how hard he seemingly works at his craft.