Late on Saturday night the Cincinnati Reds announced that they had sent left-handed pitching prospect Steve Hajjar to the Cleveland Guardians in order to complete their trade from February that brought outfielder Will Benson to Cincinnati.
In February when the teams made the initial deal it was announced with 2022 2nd round pick Justin Boyd heading to Cleveland in the deal with a player to be named later in the works. Saturday was a big day for that trade as Will Benson told the Cincinnati Enquirer that he was told that he made the team, and then of course this trade was announced later in the day.
Cincinnati acquired Steve Hajjar at the trade deadline in 2022. The left-handed pitcher came over along with Spencer Steer and Christian Encarnacion-Strand in the deal that sent Tyler Mahle to the Minnesota Twins. He was originally drafted by Minnesota in the 2nd round of 2021. Cleveland wound up landing two 2nd round draft picks for Benson at the end of the day.
When the Reds acquired Hajjar from the Twins he had just returned from the injured list, but was dominant for Single-A Fort Myers in the Florida State League. He made 12 starts there with a 2.47 ERA in 43.2 innings where he had allowed just 25 hits, but did walk 22 batters. Hajjar also had struck out 71 hitters while in the Florida State League.
After arriving in the Cincinnati organization the Reds promoted him to High-A Dayton where he joined the Dragons rotation. He would only made two starts, throwing just 7.0 innings with six walks and 10 strikeouts before landing on the injured list with shoulder impingement. Hajjar didn’t return to the mound the rest of the season.
When he was healthy he threw a fastball (91.7 MPH avg), change up (83.2 MPH avg), slider (82.4 MPH avg), and a curveball (78.6 MPH avg). Control likely moves him to the bullpen in the long run where he can likely focus more on two or three offerings and potentially get more out of them.
But considering out OF depth was pretty bad and now we got 4 legit OF options I’m feeling good.
Helped both orgs out, I think will benson hits at least 250 with 20 bombs and has 20+ steals. Seems like a solid player for years to come
Really liked Hajjar. Think he can develop into a solid prospect. Boyd, notsomuch.
Worried about Benson’s hit tool– and whether that K rate is a one-season mirage.