Taylor Trammell, the Reds No. 3 prospect, and No. 17 on the overall Top 100 prospect list, is a veritable toolshed when it comes to his skills on the field. They've been on display for each of his two-plus seasons in pro ball and a national audience got to see
Taylor Trammell, the Reds No. 3 prospect, and No. 17 on the overall Top 100 prospect list, is a veritable toolshed when it comes to his skills on the field. They've been on display for each of his two-plus seasons in pro ball and a national audience got to see them on a larger stage when he took home Futures Game MVP honors in July.
The one tool that has been behind all the others to date has been his throwing arm. He's Major League-average or above in everything else, but his left arm had a just below-average 45 grade on it this year. He's been working tirelessly on addressing that relative shortcoming, first during instructional league play at the Reds' Spring Training complex in Goodyear, Arizona, and now as part of the Scottsdale Scorpions' outfield in the Arizona Fall League.
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"Every day I would throw, figure out my arm slot, how to get a better arm slot, and the ball is flying a little bit more," Trammell said of his efforts at instructs which has carried over to early AFL play. "I have more backspin on balls. I've gotten some coaches to compliment me on that."
Arizona Fall League overviews for all 30 teams
That's always the best motivator. Everyone, even professional athletes, need positive feedback. Hearing from people, especially those not from the Reds organization, praise his throwing, is all the fuel Trammell needs to keep working on that part of his craft as he continues to learn the best way to throw from all three outfield spots.
"That was the biggest thing because not many people think too much about that and that was one of the most gratifying things I've had in the past few days, where people have complimented me on my arm, saying, 'Hey, you really don't have a bad arm,'" Trammell said. "That's something I've been feeling really good about lately."
Trammell is also working on his sliding to help avoid any unnecessary injuries, especially since he does like to use his 70 speed on the basepaths (90 career steals in 300 games). He's had tremendous tutors in Delino DeShields and Eric Davis, and continues to work on it with the Scorpions, picking up a pair of stolen bases in his first five games.
Trammell, who turned 21 in September, came in via the 2016 Draft as a two-sport star who many wrongly thought would be a bit raw at the start of his pro career. He showed a much more advanced approach at the plate from the get-go than many anticipated. More than anything, Trammell is a sponge for knowledge, making the Fall League the perfect location for him, a place where soaking up information is greatly encouraged.
"The biggest thing while we're here, and everywhere you go, you always have to find a way to learn something new every single day and I think I can say at this point in my career, I've learned everywhere I've been," Trammell said. "To pick the brains of some of the guys that are here with different organizations, some of the coaches, I think that's what's going to help me further my career. I'm really excited about that.
"I'm taking every single day to learn something new. This is a chance for me to face some of the best competition Minor League baseball has to offer. Guys are here trying to prove stuff. I'm trying to prove stuff. I'm here to compete also. I'm here to have fun, but it's not just a vacation for the Arizona Fall League. It's a competitive atmosphere. I'm ready to compete to the best of my ability right now."
Reds hitters in the Fall League
Mark Kolozsvary, C: At the University of Florida, Kolozsvary handled future first-round arms like Alex Faedo, Jackson Kowar and Brady Singer in 2017, a big reason why the Reds drafted him in the seventh round that June. After spending his first full season in the Midwest League, the Reds are challenging him with catching a much higher level of arms in the AFL while working on his offensive approach.
Shed Long, 2B: The offensive-minded second baseman had an on again, off again season, hitting especially well in April and August and struggling particularly in May and July. Still, he finished with double-digits in home runs and stolen bases in Double-A, with his AFL stint designed to get him ready for Triple-A and beyond.
Alfredo Rodriguez, SS: Since signing in July 2016, Rodriguez has excelled defensively while showing he has work to do on his approach at the plate. Unfortunately, a hamate issue allowed him to play only 46 games in 2018, so he's making up for lost at-bats while refining his offensive work this fall.
Reds pitchers in the Fall League
Ty Boyles, RHP: Boyles began making the move to full-time reliever in 2018 with good success (2.75 ERA vs. 6.85 starter ERA). He's continuing that transition and learning to use his 90-94 mph fastball in shorter stints with Scottsdale.
Austin Orewiler, RHP: A 25-year-old product of Rice, Orewiler has had trouble moving up the organizational ladder as a swingman. The sinkerballer has yet to make it out of A ball and the Reds wanted to evaluate him against better competition as a decision looms about protecting him on the 40-man roster.
Wyatt Strahan, RHP: The Reds' third-round pick in 2014, Strahan was once a Top 30 prospect, but he got lost in the shuffle a bit with Tommy John surgery in 2016 and a rough move to Double-A this past season. The Reds are using the AFL to evaluate how his sinker will play in a bullpen role.
Jonathan Mayo is a reporter for MLB Pipeline. Follow him on Twitter @JonathanMayo and Facebook, and listen to him on the weekly Pipeline Podcast.