It’s been a busy week for the Cincinnati Reds on the commercial front, and on Tuesday afternoon they completed two more deals that brought in prospects (plus a cash trade) for veteran players from the leagues currently in the junior league and not in Austin Romains are 40-man squads).
The big deal was the one that Send Tyler Mahley to the Minnesota Twins for three ways. Cincinnati acquired Spencer Steer and Christian Encarnacion-Strand as well as left-handed bowler Stephen Hajjar as part of the deal. After about 45 minutes The Reds sent Brandon Drury to the San Diego Padres Von Victor Acosta Shortstop.
Scout report by Spencer Steyer
rising up: 5′ 11 | Weight: 185 pounds.
Young: December 7, 1997
Minnesota selected Spencer Steer in the third round of the 2019 draft outside of Oregon. After two strong years in 2019 and 2021, Steer started in 2022, showed more strength and significantly reduced his hit rate. He started the season in Double-A, hitting .307/.385/.591 in 35 games before being promoted to Triple-A. Things slowed down a bit at St. Paul as he hit .242/.345/.485 in 48 games. Much of the drop appears to be related to the fact that its BABIP went from a reasonable 0.318 in double-A to 0.248 in triple-A. There might be a reason it’s low, but without access to the kind of information teams have, it’s hard to tell if it’s bad luck or a little more “not making good communication often enough”. although it’s still On lots of extra base hits you can nullify the latter a bit.
Where Spencer Steer lands on the defensive spectrum is a bit up in the air. He played from a short position and he can play there if you need him, but he’s better suited to second or third base. His racquet plays well in both positions. But especially when you factor in stops from all the other Reds, it looks like he’ll be playing somewhere in the near future where it doesn’t fall short.
Despite his current triple-A average of .242, he expects to do well in the future and also be above average. It’s not hard to imagine a .265 bat with a house over 20 running in the streak in the big leagues.
Scout Christian Encarnacion Beach reports
rising up: 6 ′ 0″ | Weight: 224 pounds.
Young: December 1, 1999
After hitting 33 homers in 81 games for Yavapai Junior College and then again 15 in 56 games for Oklahoma State as a junior in 2021, the Twins selected Christian Encarnacion-Strand in the fourth round of last year’s draft. He came out with .391/.424/.598 in 22 games with Low-A Fort Myers last season that included a whopping 456-foot home run. This year he started the season with Cedar Rapids of the Midwest League and in 74 games, he averaged .296/.370/.599 with 23 doubles, 3 triples and 20 home points. He was promoted to Double-A Wichita a few weeks ago and went on to crush the ball, hitting .333/.400/.685 with 5 more carries, 2 doubles and a triple in 13 games. His first run in Double-A went 484 feet, just in case you wanted a different fun take.
Offensively he showed some improvement in his approach compared to what he had in college while still being able to retain his extra strength. Strength is definitely the calling card in his exploration report, as sometimes you gain more than pure strength stats. There’s a chance he’ll also have a solid average in the streak, although that’s less certain than how his strength translates. Defensively, he was at third base for most of his pro life, and to say it got worse would be an understatement. In his 67 starts over the past two seasons, he has had 876 center turnouts. He’s gained some first grassroots experience, having played 19 games there since his call-up, and it might be time to make that move permanent.
Scout report by Victor Acosta
rising up: 5′ 11 | Weight: 170 pounds.
Young: 10. June 2004
Victor Acosta was one of the top nominees in the 2021 International Signing category and received a $1,800,000 bonus from Padres in January 2021. He made his first good showing in the Dominican Summer League last year when he was 17 and turned 285. .431/.484 with 26 steals, 12 doubles, 5 triples, 5 home runs, 38 walks and 45 strikes in 240 backs of the board. That season he moved to the Arizona Composite League and things slowed down a bit. The substitution hitter has played in 32 games and has 3 doubles, 2 triples, 2 homers and just 5 steals in 12 attempts while hitting .243/.346/.360 in 131 board appearances.
As you’d expect from a man who earned a $1.8 million signing bonus less than 18 months ago, Victor Acosta has plenty of gadgets and drops in his game. Although there may not be much physical projection left, there is a lot more development after the age of 18. He’s got plus speed, plus arm, above average power potential – especially from the left flank, and his hitter can also be above average across the board.
The Victor Acosta Ranch is very accessible for the big tournaments. He has just started his career and is still only 18 years old. He’s the same age as the kids who just graduated from high school this year, so it probably takes a lot of patience. Its age and distance from the big leagues mean there’s a lot of risk involved, but it’s also the kind of lottery ticket that pays out well if you match the numbers.
Scout report by Stephen Hajjar
rising up: 6 ′ 5 | Weight: 215 pounds.
Young: 7. August 2000
Stephen Hajjar was the only bowler the Reds had in Tuesday’s second round of the 2021 Twins competition. The left start was unsuccessful after last season’s draft. He started this year in Low-A with Fort Myers in the Florida State League (same league as Daytona Tortugas). He started nine times before being hit-listed and missing the next six weeks before returning on July 17. Minnesota has limited pitching all year, has not thrown more than 82 pitches in a game and has only surpassed 75 pitches three times in his 13 games. He did so well when he was on the mound and 2 .47 afternoons for Fort Myers with 71 strikes in 43.2 rounds. A stoner has run 22 hitters, which is a little higher than you would expect from a college pitcher in Low-A.
Fast bowl: I’ve been working mostly in the 90-93 range this season with an average speed of 91.7 mph and a top speed of 95.2. There is a lot of movement on the pitch as well as some trickery that allows the pitch to play past speed.
Slider: The stadium operated in the mid 80’s and is a solid show.
change: His best score when it comes to his initial exploration scores runs in the low 80’s and flashes himself as above average to positive.
curve ball: A fringe show that doesn’t throw it out as often as other minor pitches, the mid-’70s curve ball run.
He’s got enough things to have a career as a foosball freshman if he makes the most of his show. If he wants to be a starter in the long run he needs to have fewer walks and he might need to be more consistent with fast ball speed as he sometimes dips into the 88-91 mph range and that’s just too tough in major league today -Level.
Unlike the deal with Luis Castillo, which I said I hated but felt the team made a good return on investment, these two deals are not. Tyler Mahley is a good player, but he’s not elite to begin with. He might have more success outside of Great American Ball Park, where he seemed to struggle a lot, and perhaps he could develop into a much stronger version of himself in a park that’s less friendly with property management. The team could still try to re-sign and keep him, and they probably did, and things just weren’t going well. That being said, the Reds appear to have recaptured a good array of opportunities for Mahley’s twins.
He was a free agent with Brandon Drury. The Reds are unlikely to try to re-sign him and Nick Krall recently said they haven’t had those discussions. Has signing a league minimum deal in late spring turned out to be one of the best international prospects in just a year? It’s hard to say things didn’t go well with Cincinnati.