2020-21 MLB International Reviews: Cincinnati Reds

Many of the top international newcomers to the Reds in recent years have been Cuban players. Her 2020 class took a different approach, targeting the more traditional 16 year old Dominican Republic players to create a deep class with a mix of different player types and skills.

Front runner

Dominican outfielder Ariel Almonte is 6-foot-4,190 pounds with a short dash for his size, an advanced approach for his age and strength that turns out to be a plus once filled in. The Scouts on Almonte saw him hit well in games, with the ability to pick up spin, stay in the strike zone, and draw walks. Almonte is able to create backspin on balls when hitting balls from gap to gap, with a flatter swing path in games and a chance of additional damage knowing which pitches to drive and lift in favorable counts. Almonte is a corner outfielder with below average speed and an above average arm for right field, with most of his worth depending on what he does in the racket’s box. He trained with German.

Another Dominican outfielder the Reds signed Malvin Valdezisn’t as ingenious as a batsman compared to Almonte, but he has some of the best raw tools in the class. He’s 6-foot-2,175 pounds and would likely be an elite recipient if he’d grown up in the United States. He’s a quick-bursting, explosive athlete with the building blocks to develop into a senior midfield defender, including a pair of 70-degree tools in his speed and arm strength. Valdez has good bat speed and at least average raw performance that could improve if he added strength to his lean, athletic body. These raw tools all quickly stand out in a training setting, but Valdez’s playing skills and instincts have yet to catch up, especially with his ability to spot ball breaking. Valdez trained with Rudy Santin.

To know names

Carlos Jorge, SS, Dominican Republic: For a mid-range signing, Jorge could become one of the better 2020 class bargains. Right from the start of the scouting process, it was an athletic but small, lightly framed shortstop that was trendy. He’s still on the smaller end at about 5-foot-9, but he’s added some wiry strength and is a fast-twitch, plus-plus-speed athlete. He’s scored well in games with a simple, direct hit without much loss of motion, resulting in frequent contact with some buoyancy and the ability to put a surprising load into the ball for his size. Jorge has the action and the athleticism to stay in the middle infield and with a solid arm with a chance he will move to second base. He shares some similarities with Vidal Brujan, a top 100 prospect with the Rays and another quick 5-foot-9 midfielder with a high contact rate. Jorge and Malvin Valdez trained together with Rudy Santin in the same program.

Brayan Rijo, OF, Dominican Republic: Rijo, who has trained with Niche, has a slim 6-foot frame with 55 speed and an average arm from midfield that could get Mark with a cross. He has a sleek, high-waisted frame and has shown solid racket-to-ball prowess, albeit up and down game performance, with his greatest developmental need growing now.

Luis Reyes, 3B, Venezuela: Reyes is an offensive player with a strong, heavy build at around 5-foot-11, 195 pounds and hits in games. He is a patient batsman who drops the club head early in the plane into the hitting zone and has a knack for driving the ball for hard contact against live pitching with a chance for future plus strength. Reyes has the hands and average arm that should fit on the third base, and while he has been working to maintain his athleticism and improve his lateral agility over the last year, there is a risk that he will grow out of position and become first Base goes. Reyes trained with Henderson Martinez.

Jose Serrano, SS, Venezuela: Serrano stands out more in games than in training. He doesn’t have a plus tool, but he’s a plump, instinctive player who has scored well in games and has shown good body control with a nose for the ball at shortstop, although with his body type he may get big enough where he is to third base pulls. Serrano trained with Andres Veliz.

Sleeper watch

Venezuelan shortstop Leonardo Balcazar The trend continued to improve last year when personal scouting was discontinued. He’s a real shortstop with good hands and footwork, slightly above average speed and a plus arm to throw deep out of the hole. On the plate, he has shown solid racket-to-ball skills with a line-drive approach and gap power for his age. Balcazar trained with Wilmer Becerra.

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