Cincinnati Reds Top Prospect Report – Keury Mella

Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports /

How did the Cincinnati Reds’ top prospects do during the 2016 season?

While the Cincinnati Reds struggled to a 68-94 record, there is plenty of reason for hope in the future. The team is loaded with talented prospects across all of their minor-league teams, and many of those players started off with promising starts in their careers.

Let’s take a look at how the Reds’ top 10 prospects (per MLB Pipeline at the start of the season) performed as we head into the offseason.

Keury Mella (RHP)

2016 Stats (Triple-A/High-A):

Louisville: 1-0, 1.29 ERA, 0.57 WHIP, 7 IP, 6 K, 1 BB

Dayton: 8-9, 3.90 ERA, 1.56 WHIP, 131.2 IP, 95 K, 56 BB

Keury Mella is the other player in the Mike Leake deal.  Mella came over with All-Star Adam Duvall, who is a Gold Glove finalist, in exchange for Mike Leake.  Leake has since left the San Francisco Giants for the Saint Louis Cardinals.  Unlike Leake, Duvall and Mella are still in the Reds’ organization.

Mella is a starting pitching prospect.  In his minor league career Mella has only made two relief appearances and nearly 100 minor league starts.  The Giants viewed him as a starter and the Reds continue to see him as such.  The Cincinnati Reds even promoted Mella from Dayton to make a sport start in Triple-A.  That was a nice start for Mella.

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Going forward Mella needs to work on being consistent, if he wants to stay in the rotation plans for the Cincinnati Reds.

Mella had a nice debut in Triple-A, but his season wasn’t actually all that good.  He had an ERA of nearly four, but even more disappointing was his 1.56 WHIP.  That’s at the Single-A level.

He gave away 56 walks in almost 140 innings, so it’s not just walks doing him in right now.  Mella allowed a career high 10.3 hits per nine innings in Dayton.  He usually allows closer to 7.5 hits per nine innings.

His strikeouts per nine also took a huge hit.

He was down to 6.5 this year after being closer to nine as he had to date in his career.  This also calls into question whether Mella might be injured.

The good news is that Mella is making every start.  He is averaging over five innings per start.  Those are numbers that some of the other minor leaguers for the Reds have had hitting.

Next: Reds Top Prospect Report - Jose Peraza

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Mella has had a historically high BABIP.  He traditionally sees that being above .300.  It also rose to .340 in Dayton.  That’s why the strikeout rate is so important for Mella.  Unlike many pitchers he truly relies on strikeouts to make his stuff work.