The Cincinnati Reds have made their Rule 5 Draft decisions and the results were that they are adding outfielder Rece Hinds, outfielder Jacob Hurtubise, and right-handed pitcher Christian Roa to the 40-man roster. All three players are now ineligible for the upcoming Rule 5 draft thanks to their spots on the 40-man.
Rece Hinds was the obvious guy that was going to be protected today. His addition to the roster was an absolute lock. After a tough start to the season, Hinds made a mechanical and mental adjustment at the plate at the end of May and he went off and never looked back. When the season was all said and done he was tied for the farm system lead with 23 home runs and he led the farm with 98 runs batted in.
Jacob Hurtubise put together his best season as a professional. He began the year in Double-A with Hinds, but he was eventually promoted to Triple-A Louisville where he picked up playing time in 36 games. Between the two stops he hit an impressive .330/.479/.483 with 11 doubles, 10 triples, 7 home runs, 77 walks, and 63 strikeouts. Hurtubise also stole 45 bases and scored 102 runs.
Cincinnati then sent him to the Arizona Fall League. He was one of the more active players in the league, playing in 23 games and getting 108 plate appearances. He hit .267/.380/.311 with 11 steals during the season. Hurtubise walked 16 times and had 23 strikeouts during his time with Surprise.
It felt more likely than not that Hurtubise would be added. For Christian Roa it felt more like a potential coin-flip situation. His numbers haven’t been great in his career since being taken in the 2nd round of the 2020 draft, but for the most part they haven’t been bad, either. But in 2023 there was a bad number to go along with some so-so numbers. In 120.1 innings pitched between Chattanooga and Louisville, Roa walked 91 batters and he posted a 5.16 ERA. The walk number was very bad, and the ERA wasn’t all that good. What was good, though, was his 170 strikeouts. Despite all of the walks he was still able to strike out 31% of the hitters he faced.
With such a high strikeout rate at the highest levels of the minors it’s hard to deny that he’s got quality stuff. And that’s probably why the Reds opted to add him to the roster. There are probably teams out there who could look at 170 strikeouts in 120.1 innings in Double-A and Triple-A and see a guy who with a little tweak here or there, and maybe a move to the bullpen in 2024 could be a guy who could not only stick around in the big leagues but perhaps be a good reliever for their club. Cincinnati wasn’t willing to take the risk on losing Roa and now they’ll keep him around with the hopes that he can continue developing and take a step forward while also providing some depth in the minors.