Like teams across Major League Baseball, the Reds spent the week reshaping their 40-man roster, protecting three prospects from the upcoming Rule 5 Draft at Tuesday’s deadline to do so and parting ways with Nick Senzel and two others at Friday’s non-tender deadline. In sum, the moves cleared three 40-man spots and signaled more moves to come for a Cincinnati club intent on adding at least one starting pitcher through free agency this winter.
For now, let’s take a closer look at the three prospects the Reds protected, all of whom could debut in 2024:
Rece Hinds, OF (No. 10 on Reds Top 30 Prospects)
Cincinnati’s second-round Draft pick in 2019, Hinds has tremendous raw power that, because of injuries, he had trouble displaying consistently until this summer. Though he still showed significant swing-and-miss tendencies, Hinds also socked 23 homers in 109 games with Double-A Chattanooga, staying healthy while tying for the Reds system’s home run title. He also led the system in RBIs (98), finished second in slugging (.536) and stole 20 bases.
Hinds still hasn’t played above Double-A, and the strikeouts (151) suggest he still needs some seasoning. But Cincinnati didn’t feel comfortable risking his exposure to the Rule 5 Draft, where another team could’ve scooped him up to see if that raw power was ready to play at the big league level.
Jacob Hurtubise, OF
Hurtubise is unranked on the Reds' Top 30 Prospects list, but that might very well change after the 25-year-old enjoyed a breakout season in 2023. Originally drafted by the Mariners in 2019 out of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, Hurtubise didn’t begin his pro career until 2021 (his age-23 season), and showed speed and on-base skills but little power in his first two Minor League seasons.
That changed in 2023. Hurtubise added some pop and slashed .330/.479/.483 across Double-A and Triple-A, with more walks than strikeouts and an eye-popping .390/.537/.460 slash line in 36 games with Triple-A Louisville. He led all Reds Minor Leaguers in on-base percentage, and ranked second in average, third in OPS, eighth in slugging and ninth in hits. Now with a 40-man roster spot, Hurtubise seems bound to get a long look come Spring Training.
Christian Roa, RHP
The Reds’ second-round Draft pick in 2020, Roa missed time due to a sports hernia and a right flexor strain over his first two pro seasons, and he split ‘23 between Double-A and Triple-A while pitching to a 5.16 ERA across 28 outings (25 starts). Though the results were mixed, Roa maintains a powerful four-pitch mix and knows how to miss bats (170 strikeouts in 120 1/3 innings this year) despite struggling with command (91 walks). Whether he can smooth out those control problems enough to be an effective big league starter remains to be seen, but for a Reds organization looking for pitching help, rostering Roa this week was a no-brainer.