Missing the Cut - Reds
We have a finite amount of space in the magazine - so we can't write about every single player in each organization that we're interested in. Someone has to miss the cut, even if we cover 40-50 players per organization. Over the next few weeks, I'm going to write about the players that were the closest to getting into the magazine but fell short during our vetting process. Certainly there are going to be more than a few of these players that reach the majors in 2014, and some that are going to be better prospects than we anticipated. In many cases, there are players here who reached the majors but don't have much a future in the organization or are out of the organization entirely - the Zach Duke's of the world. Others are prospects but they're too low in the food chain and lack the draft pedigree to write them up without a significant track record.
This is where you come in - let us know in the comments if we're underestimating a particular player, or if you see a player on our team pages that is lacking a player outlook that you believe merits one.
We'll start off with the Reds, as I not only vetted them for the magazine, but also wrote the player outlooks. It's a pretty thin list, and some of the "bubble" players on this list are actually pretty marginal in their own right, as the system is lacking the volume of guys that could provide immediate help that other organizations have. Without further ado, here are the Reds that missed the cut:
1. Tucker Barnhart, C - The Reds added Barnhart to the 40-man roster this offseason, and he could eventually see some major league time. His defense gets high marks, and he can draw walks, but he doesn't hit for a lot of power. He's essentially Ryan Hanigan 2.0.
2. Nick Christiani, P - Christiani got a cup of coffee with the Reds after pitching the last 2.5 seasons at Triple-A Louisville. He's a former 13th round pick in the 2009 draft out of Vanderbilt. He has always worked as a reliever in his pro career, and hasn't topped 7.9 K's per nine innings - only really considered because he was on the 40-man roster.
3. Zach Duke, P - It's important to note that we organize the vetting process by which team the player was with at the end of the 2013 season. Now with the Brewers, Duke has reinvented himself from a soft-tossing lefty starter to a soft-tossing lefty specialist. His bout with competence in that capacity with the Reds shouldn't persuade you - it screams small sample size.
4. Ismael Guillon, P - Guillon's 134 strikeouts in 121.1 innings look great until you move one column over and see 95 walks in that span. This was at Low-A Dayton - just wait until he faces batters with a better eye. Sometimes these high-Ks/high-BBs guys work out (Gio Gonzalez, for example, but even his walk rate was never this high), but the odds are against Guillon.
5. Donald Lutz, OF - After injuries to both Ryan Ludwick and Chris Heisey, Lutz spent a month-and-a-half in the big leagues due to the utter lack of MLB-capable outfielders on the Reds' 40-man roster, but he was overmatched (1:14 BB:K) and then uninspiring at Double-A Pensacola after getting sent down.
6. Curtis Partch, P - The bottom 5-7 spots on the Reds' 40-man and many of the remaining non-roster guys in Triple-A are guys like Partch - not currently ready to be of much help at the big league level, with little long-term upside.
7. Greg Reynolds, P - Turned in a good campaign at Triple-A Louisville but got rocked whenever he pitched for the Reds. He's signed to play with the Seibu Lions in Japan for 2014.
8. Derrick Robinson, OF - Robinson pretty much defined the concept of replacement level when up with the Reds last year, hitting .255/.322/.323 in 216 plate appearances. He was replaced on the roster by Skip Schumaker.
9. Henry Rodriguez, 2B - Rodriguez never hit for the power in the upper levels of the minors that he first displayed as a 20-year old at Low-A Dayton, slugging just .335 at Triple-A Louisville last year. If the Reds ever trade Brandon Phillips, he could be part of the short-term future, but his ceiling is pretty low.
10. Seth Mejias-Brean, 1B - To me Mejias-Brean is the most interesting name on the list. An eighth-round pick in 2012 out of Arizona, he tore it up at Low-A Dayton last year, hitting .305/.381/.453 in a tough place to hit for power. I want to see what he does against advanced levels of competition before getting too excited, however.
11. Mike Lorenzen, P - A supplemental first-round pick (38th overall) in last year's draft, Lorenzen appears to be on the fast track for the Reds as a reliever, hitting Double-A by the end of the season. One problem - albeit in a ridiculously small sample size - his walks are too high. Could come quickly, though.
12. Nick Travieso, P - The Reds are hoping to follow the Robert Stephenson game plan with Travieso, their 2012 first-round pick. He didn't go beyond their Arizona League affiliate in 2012 after getting drafted from high school, then toiled in Low-A Dayton last year, starting slowly after spending the spring in extended spring training. There's a huge upside remaining, but he's on a slow path.