The Reds have selected the contracts of top prospects Elly De La Cruz and Noelvi Marte, as well as Brandon Williamson, Levi Stoudt, Lyon Richardson and Ricky Karcher. As a result, they’ve DFA’d Aristides Aquino, Jeff Hoffman, Art Warren, Derek Law, Jared Solomon and Kyle Dowdy.
De La Cruz and Marte are certainly the most notable of the prospects added. De La Cruz is Cincinnati’s top overall prospect, and ranked 14th overall by MLB.com. Still just 20, De La Cruz made it as high as Double-A in 2022. As he has for most of his young career, De La Cruz mashed there, hitting .305/.358/.553 with eight home runs in 47 games while mostly appearing at shortstop. The Reds have been aggressive in moving their top prospect through the minors, and if he continues to rake into Triple-A next year, it won’t be long before he’s donning a Reds uniform.
Marte, 21, came across in the Luis Castillo deadline blockbuster. He hit .293/.397/.443 with four home runs in 30 games at High-A, and would seem likely to start next year at Double-A. He played shortstop during the minor league season, but has been exclusively at third base in the Arizona Fall League. While Marte is a bit behind De La Cruz, Reds fans can certainly start to dream of the pair of them playing infield in the not-too-distant future.
Of the other prospects added, Brandon Williamson is the only top ten prospect in their system, per MLB.com. He’s a left hander who made 13 starts at Triple-A, pitching to a 4.39 ERA. There’s a good chance he features at some point in 2023 in the big leagues. Elsewhere, Stoudt and Karcher are both pitchers who featured at Triple-A in 2022, while neither had dominant results, there’s a chance both would have been called upon anyway as pitching depth. Richardson is a hard-throwing right hander who’s struggled with injuries of late, but even though he’s not pitched above High-A, the Reds clearly feel his arm has enough talent to avoid risking losing him in the draft.
Aquino is the most high profile of the players cut loose by the Reds. He hit a staggering 14 home runs during August in 2019 for a .320/.391/.767 line in that period, but hasn’t hit much since. In 2022, he posted a line of just .197/.246/.363 while striking out more than a third of his plate appearances. Hoffman pitched to a 3.83 ERA across 44 2/3 innings out of the bullpen. Both players were arbitration eligible and non-tender candidates, so it’s not surprising to see them cut loose to open up valuable 40-man spots.
Solomon, Law, Dowdy and Warren all pitched a handful of innings each out of the Reds’ bullpen, but none had much success, and all seemed like near-certain DFA candidates as the Reds look to make room for their young prospects.