The Reds are moving power-hitting prospect Rece Hinds from third base to the outfield, The Cincinnati Enquirer’s Charlie Goldsmith writes. The club first considered a position change for Hinds earlier this spring — as detailed by MLB.com’s Mark Sheldon — and a more official decision has now been made, in an effort to help keep the 21-year-old healthy. Between the canceled 2020 minor league season and a pair of serious leg injuries in both 2019 and 2021, Hinds has barely played (57 games, 236 plate appearances) since the Reds selected him in the second round of the 2019 draft. Changing positions will theoretically help Hinds “concentrate on his legs, his agility and his leg health,” Reds VP of player development Shawn Pender said. “As big as he is, third base is not easy for a big man to play, no matter how athletic he is. Let’s put him someplace where that bursting stop and start isn’t impacting him.”
The 6’4, 215-pound Hinds is ranked amongst the Reds’ top ten prospects by both MLB Pipeline (7th) and Baseball America (8th). Both outlets’ scouting reports cited the possibility of Hinds eventually moving to the outfield, and between Hinds’ athleticism and a very strong throwing arm, the transition could be relatively smooth. Beyond his glovework, Hinds’ power and bat speed are his true calling cards, and he has hit a respectable .249/.326/.522 with 12 homers over those 236 PA, amidst all his injuries. Hinds played in A-ball last season, and it isn’t yet known if Cincinnati will start Hinds at Double-A, or perhaps at least start him back at A-ball just to get a few more games under his belt and some more seasoning at this new position.
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- Injuries have also limited the brief career of Pete Crow-Armstrong, as shoulder surgery ended the outfielder’s first pro season after only six games. That health concern didn’t stop the Cubs from making Crow-Armstrong the key piece in the trade package they received from the Mets in the Javier Baez blockbuster last July, and MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian writes that Crow-Armstrong was cleared for regular activity in the Cubs’ minicamp. During his recovery time, Crow-Armstrong and Chicago minor league hitting coach Rachel Folden made some adjustments to his swing and approach, and the early results are promising. Crow-Armstrong “might have the biggest exit velocity jump of anyone we have in camp. He’s just way more physical,” Cubs director of hitting Justin Stone said.
- Mark Mathias is unfortunately no stranger to shoulder injuries, having twice undergone procedures for torn labrums. The latest surgery cost Mathias the entire 2021 season, but he is back at fully participating in the Brewers’ minicamp with no apparent limitations. “It’s a miracle, man. I was thinking I wasn’t going to be able to recover from this one fully,” Mathias told MLB.com’s Adam McCalvy. “This is my second surgery on the throwing shoulder, and most of the time when guys have that, it’s career ending….I’m able to throw and it looks right, and I’m thankful.” Mathias has been able to work out at camp and consult with the Brewers training staff because Milwaukee outrighted him off its 40-man roster in November, and thus Mathias isn’t subject to the lockout. Mathias spent much of his career in Cleveland’s farm system before being acquired by the Brew Crew in November 2019, and he made his MLB debut by playing 16 games for the Brewers in 2020. With Milwaukee constantly on the lookout for versatile roster pieces, Mathias will have a chance to win himself a bench job whenever big league camps finally open.