Cincinnati Reds draft Brad Keller in the Rule 5 Draft

(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
(Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images) /
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The Cincinnati Reds drafted starting pitching prospect Brad Keller from the Arizona Diamondbacks’ organization.

The Cincinnati Reds drafted Brad Keller in the Rule 5 Draft, but didn’t intend on keeping him.  He made 26 starts for Arizona’s Double-A team.  Despite adding a player to their roster, the Reds didn’t lose any players during the draft.

The Diamondbacks drafted Keller as a seventeen year old in 2013.  That year he made a combined thirteen starts between short season rookie ball and the Arizona rookie league.  He went 7-3 with a 2.44 ERA.

Keller made 12 more starts in 2014.  The bulk of his work was done in short season rookie ball.  He also saw time in Hillsboro at Low-A ball.

2015 was the start of a three year period that caused the Reds to draft him.  He made 26 start in A-ball going 8-9.  He had a 2.60 ERA over 142 innings.

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Keller followed that up with a strong 2016 season when he made 24 starts.  His ERA bloated to 4.47 at High-A ball.  He threw 135 innings, striking out 99 and walking 26.

Last year, Keller threw 130 ⅔ innings in Double-A.  He made 26 starts going 10-9.  With an ERA of 4.68 and a WHIP of 1.52, it was a mediocre season in some ways for Keller.

Despite an inability to train young pitchers to throw innings, the Cincinnati Reds sold Brad Keller to the Kansas City Royals.

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In many ways Keller compares favorably to where projected starter Sal Romano was for the Reds last off-season.  They were both drafted out of high school and through Double-A.  The main difference is that Keller consistently averages more than five innings per start.

The Reds presumably made the deal to maintain an empty spot on their forty man roster, similar to the deal they made with Luis Torrens last year. Keller would have had to stay at the big league level all off-season and throughout the regular season in order for the Reds to keep him.  

On the other hand, it will be interesting to see what future considerations the Reds are getting along with the cash from the Kansas City Royals.  

The Royals will likely send a low-end prospect that does not require a roster spot at some time around the start of the season.  The Reds are a little thin at second base and catcher in their minor league system.  The Royals usually develop catchers.

Next: Andrew Benintendi to Cincinnati?

Whatever the Reds get, it is a shame that Keller isn’t staying.  The Reds are almost done with the rebuild.  Now is the time to showcase and tryout some young prospects.