Reds take six minor-league players in Rule 5 draft

The scene as the Cincinnati Reds play the Tigers on Opening Day on Friday, July 24, 2020, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati.

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The scene as the Cincinnati Reds play the Tigers on Opening Day on Friday, July 24, 2020, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati.

The Cincinnati Reds did not see players they wanted fall to them in the Major League phase of the Rule 5 Draft on Thursday but got plenty of help in the later rounds during the Minor League phase.

The Reds selected two shortstops, two catchers, a first baseman and a right-handed pitcher. No other team drafted six players in the minor-league phase. The Reds and New York Mets were the only teams to draft more than three.

“We were excited to get these six guys,” said Rob Coughlin, the Reds’ director of professional scouting. “The fun part of the minor-league phase is you compare what your organizational needs are with the players you like. That was kind of our process of identifying guys. We were able to go six rounds and keep getting players we think can help our organization and some we think are prospects.”

As opposed to the first-year player draft in June, the Rule 5 Draft includes players who are already in the minor leagues or the majors. Players selected in the big-league phase were players who were not on their club’s 40-man roster within five years of signing if they signed when they were 18 or four years if they signed when they were 19 or older.

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Anyone not on a 38-man Triple-A roster and who has been in pro baseball for four or five years can be drafted in the minor league phase. It was more difficult identifying talent this year because there was no minor-league season because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Here’s a quick glance at the six players the Reds picked and the four they lost to other teams. All the stats are from 2019.

Round 1, 13th pick: Shortstop Errol Robinson, 26, climbed to Triple-A in the Los Angeles Dodger organization in 2019 for the first time and hit .220 in 61 games. He hit .310 in 46 games in Double-A that year.

Round 2, 35th pick: Catcher Wilfred Astudillo, 20, hit .260 at the rookie level in the Appalachian League in the Mets organization.

Round 3, 50th pick: Catcher Chuckie Robinson, 25, hit .217 in Double-A in the Houston Astros system.

Round 4, 53rd pick: Yoel Yanqui, 24, comes from the Arizona Diamondbacks organization. He’s a first baseman who hit .272 in Single-A.

Round 5, 55th pick: Wes Robertson, 24, is a right-handed pitcher who has played three seasons in the Texas Rangers system. He was 3-0 with a 4.33 ERA in 14 appearances.

Round 6, 56th pick: Shortstop Steven Leyton, 21, hit .221 in Single A in the Diamondbacks system.

The Reds lost right-handed pitcher Mac Sceroler to the Baltimore Orioles in the Rule 5 Draft. He was the fifth player chosen in the first round. Sceroler, a fifth-round pick in 2017, was 5-4 with a 3.69 ERA with Single-A Daytona in 2019.

“He’s a guy we definitely considered putting on our Major League roster,” said Reds Vice President and General Manager Nick Krall. “We were walking down that road. It was disappointing to lose him. He’s a good kid who had a chance to be a solid Major League pitcher.”

Also drafted by other teams were: infielder Claudio Finol (Pirates), who hit .218 in 53 games with the Dayton Dragons; right-handed pitcher Jesus Reyes (Mets), who made it to the big leagues in 2018 and made five relief appearances for the Reds; and left-handed pitcher Jose Zorrilla (Mets).

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