When the rosters expanded in early September, the Cincinnati Reds‘ transaction report was loaded with prospects. Unfortunately, many of the top names fans might have hoped to see grace the list (e.g., Robert Stephenson, Ben Lively and Michael Lorenzen) were nowhere to be found.

Even so, there are two prospects—maybe a third in Carlos Contreras—who could have solid yet very different futures at the big league level.

The rest of the group looks to be composed of role players, a possible career minor leaguer or two and possible trade fodder.

So, to keep it interesting, we’ll look at said two players and analyze some of the early takeaways from this group of September call-ups.


Yorman Rodriguez Is the Only Every-Day Player from This Group

This might be cheating on my part, since Yorman Rodriguez hasn’t had a many opportunities to showcase his skills since being called up to the big league level—the 21-year-old has received just three at-bats, all of which came in one game where he played just six innings—but I’m going to talk about him anyway.

Even so, based on the efforts put forth by the rest of the group, it’s pretty clear that Rodriguez is the only one with a legitimate chance to become an every-day player—unless you count Carlos Contreras and his future as a middle reliever.

In any event, Rodriguez has a pretty bright future ahead of him. The young outfielder possesses four above-average tools as well as an average—and still developing—hit tool.

Despite what his nine jacks this season might tell you, Rodriguez has plus raw power. The Venezuela native showcased that power over the season’s final 14 games for Double-A Pensacola, collecting four of his nine home runs in just 51 at-bats.

Rodriguez put on a show over those 14 games. In addition to his four home runs, Rodriguez totaled a batting line of .353/.453/.706 with six doubles, 11 RBI, 18 runs and a healthy 10-11 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

2014 was a learning experience for the six-year professional. Although he struggled through the first half of his season—he slashed .251/.293/.351 in that time—he turned it on through the second half, slashing .270/.364/.423 over his second set of 59 games while also collecting 18 of his 40 RBI and 15 of his 20 doubles.

In addition to the offensive game described above, which includes stellar bat speed and improving pitch-recognition skills, Rodriguez has plus speed and a plus arm to go along with above-average fielding ability.

Although he committed seven errors on the year—a full-season career high—Rodriguez flashed what has the potential to be one of the better arms in professional baseball, logging a ridiculous 13 outfield assists over 114 appearances in the field.

Rodriguez’s second half performance at Double-A suggests that he could be in line for a potential early-season debut in 2015, and he has the tools to make it a reality.


Tucker Barnhart Has a Big League Future

Just because I said Rodriguez is the only everyday player who was called up this fall doesn’t mean that there isn’t a potential role player or two stashed away in the transaction report. Of the players not named Rodriguez, Tucker Barnhart stands the best chance to have a long-lasting MLB career.

In 15 games with the big league club—this is his third stint with the team this season—Barnhart has flashed the ability of a very capable backup catcher.

Barnhart is never going to hit for average, and he made that quite clear with his performance following his promotion from High-A Bakersfield. In his 775 at-bats since his promotion back in 2012, Barnhart has managed a .244 batting average with on-base and slugging percentages of .323 and .327, respectively.

Barnhart will at least give himself a shot to get hits, however, as he does a fantastic job of controlling the strike zone, putting the bat on the ball and limiting his strikeouts. In 422 career minor league games, Barnhart logged just a 15.5 percent strikeout rate while walking at a healthy 10.8 percent clip.

Even so, he’s not going to hit for an average against more advanced pitchers. What he will do, however, is control the running game.

Over 406 games as a catcher in the minors, Barnhart put up a caught-stealing percentage of 42 percent. Among big league catchers with at least 700 innings behind the plate this season, Barnhart‘s 42 percent caught-stealing rate would rank second best—Yadier Molina’s 51 percent mark is far and away the best.

One final note on Barnhart and his ability to impact the running game: In his 102 innings behind the plate this season for the Reds, the Indiana prep product boasts a ridiculous 57 percent caught-stealing rate.


All stats are current through play on Sept. 8, 2014 and are courtesy of Baseabll-Reference.com unless otherwise noted.

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