2019-20 MLB International Reviews: Cincinnati Reds
Cincinnati's biggest international bonus this year went to Braylin Minier, a Dominican shortstop who trained with Patrick Guerrero and signed for $1.85 million.
Minier is 6 feet, 160 pounds and performed well in Tricky League games after signing. He recognizes pitches well, shows a good idea of the strike zone for his age and whips the barrel through the zone well from the left side. He hangs in well against lefties, driving the ball and flashing over-the-fence power in games. A fringe-average runner, Minier has a chance to stay at shortstop, though he doesn't have the first-step quickness a lot of teams prefer at the position and his body type suggests he might outgrow the position, so a move to second or third base is possible. He reads the ball well off the bat and his hands and feet work well enough to stay in the infield.
The Reds paid $1.3 million to sign Michel Triana, a 20-year-old first baseman from Cuba who worked out for clubs as a third baseman. Triana was one of the top players in his age group in Cuba, playing for Cuba's 18U national team that played in Thunder Bay, Canada in September 2017. He's a physical specimen at 6-foot-3, 230 pounds and moves surprisingly well for his size with solid-average speed underway, though he will probably slow down. Lefthanded power is Triana's calling card, with the strength to generate plus raw power and hit balls out to all fields in batting practice. In games, his swing is geared more toward low trajectory line drives, so getting more loft in his stroke will be important for him to show that power more often against live pitching. Triana is old enough to have played right away after signing on July 2, but the Reds held him back from the Dominican Summer League and put him in the Tricky League instead. Triana had a long layoff from competitive games after leaving Cuba, which showed with some swing-and-miss against breaking balls, though that improved as he got more reps, and he hit well consistently for the Reds as an amateur. When Triana got to the Dominican Republic, he worked out as a third baseman, but the Reds immediately flipped him over to first base. With nimble footwork and soft hands, Triana has the tools to develop into an above-average defender, with enough mobility to possibly play an outfield corner as well. Given his age, Triana should be headed to the U.S. to start playing next year.
Outfielder Deivid Alcantara, who was born in Puerto Rico but grew up in the Dominican Republic, signed with the Reds for $550,000 after training with Luis Scheker. Alcantara, 16, is a tooled-up player with some crudeness to his game. He has an athletic, projectable frame (6-foot-2, 180 pounds) with above-average speed and arm strength. He shows flashes of future above-average power as well, with a knack for backspinning balls to right-center field that should carry farther once he gets stronger. Alcantara is still learning to translate those tools into games, so improving his breaking ball recognition and strike-zone discipline will be key to make more contact.
Catcher Andruw Salcedo, one of the top players in Colombia this year, signed with the Reds for $300,000 after training with Orlando Cabrera. Salcedo, 17, is 5-foot-11, 175 pounds and stood out for his feel for hitting from both sides of the plate. He makes frequent contact, with his swing a little more advanced from the right side. He shows doubles power, which should increase down the road, though he's probably always going to have a hit-over-power offensive profile. Over the past year, Salcedo has worked hard to improve his conditioning and his body, which has helped his athleticism. He draws praise for his leadership behind the plate, controlling games well with solid catch-and-throw skills and an average arm that could tick up.
Another catcher, Donovan Antonia, signed with the Reds out of Curacao for $200,000 when he turned 16 on Aug. 13. He's only a few weeks away from the cutoff for being a 2020 player, so he's one of the youngest players in the 2019 class and will play nearly all of his first season as a 16-year-old. Antonia played for Curacao in the Little League World Series in 2016, homering in a game against Japan and again in the Senior League Baseball World Series in August 2018. Antonia last year also played for the Netherlands in the U-15 World Cup in Panama, where he hit .318/.516/.545 with one home run, eight walks and six strikeouts in 31 plate appearances. At 5-foot-10, 180 pounds, Antonia is athletic for a catcher, even running average times in the 60-yard dash. Antonia has a chance to catch, though with that athleticism, the Reds also had him playing in the infield during Dominican instructional league, so third base, second base or potentially the outfield are options for him as well. His bat has shown signs of trending up, as he's cut down on a tendency to get around the ball and roll over it, staying through the ball better to better use the middle of the field.
Yerlin Confidan is a 16-year-old outfielder the Reds signed out of the Dominican Republic for $200,000. Confidan is a long-limbed, high-waist lefty with a lot of physical upside, though his game skills are still crude. He's 6-foot-3, 170 pounds with a lot of space to fill out and already shows over-the-fence power that should continue to climb once he packs on weight. It's a power-over-hit profile, with Confidan needing to cut down on his swing-and-miss frequency in games. A corner outfielder, Confidan is an average runner underway but will probably slow down as he fills out, with a cannon arm that earns plus or better grades and should be a future 70 on the 20-80 scale in right field. With that type of arm strength from the left side and projectable frame, pitching could be a fallback option. Confidan trained with Huascar Bido.
Like Minier, Wencer Inirio also trained with Patrick Guerrero, with Inirio signing for $200,000. A 17-year-old third baseman from the Dominican Republic, Inirio was a standout performer between Tricky League and Dominican instructs. He's a strong, physically mature player for his age (6-foot-3, 190 pounds) with promising offensive upside. So far he has hit well and hit for power, hitting several home runs in games already. He's an offensive-oriented player who will need more development defensively to stick at third base and avoid moving to left field or first base, but the early results at the plate have been promising.
Prior to July 2, the Reds also added 18-year-old Mexican lefthander Misael Lopez for $219,500, essentially emptying the remainder of their 2018-19 bonus pool days before that signing period closed in June. Lopez, who was with Saltillo in the Mexican League, didn't pitch after signing because he was waiting for his visa, but he has pitched a little bit back home in winter ball for Los Mochis. A hefty 6-foot-3, 245 pounds, Lopez will need to work to keep his body in check, but he has a chance to stick as a starter with a low-90s fastball and feel for a curveball. He should be in Arizona for spring training and is advanced enough that low Class A Dayton is a possibility, though he could stay back in extended.