Cincinnati Reds surprisingly leave TJ Friedl unprotected from Rule 5 Draft

WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 17: A detail view of the bat and batting gloves worn by Scooter Gennett #3 of the Cincinnati Reds and National League before the 89th MLB All-Star Game, presented by Mastercard at Nationals Park on July 17, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 17: A detail view of the bat and batting gloves worn by Scooter Gennett #3 of the Cincinnati Reds and National League before the 89th MLB All-Star Game, presented by Mastercard at Nationals Park on July 17, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) /
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The Cincinnati Reds added four players to their 40-man roster yesterday, but one name was missing. TJ Friedl was left unprotected from the Rule 5 Draft.

Yesterday was the deadline for teams to add players to the 40-man roster in order to protect them from the Rule 5 Draft. The Cincinnati Reds added several players, but surprisingly, TJ Friedl‘s name was not among them. The outfielder is one of the Reds top prospects and will be available in this winter’s Rule 5 Draft.

Catcher Tyler Stephenson and pitchers Tony Santillan, Tejay Antone and Ryan Hendrix were all promoted to the 40-man roster and thus protected from the Rule 5 Draft that will occur in December. All four players are among the Top 30 in the Reds farm system according to MLB Pipeline. Another Top 30 prospect, TJ Friedl didn’t make the cut.

Friedl comes in at No. 20 among Reds minor leaugers, but that wasn’t enough in the eyes of Dick Williams, Nick Krall and the Reds brass to warrant roster protection for the 24-year-old. Friedl, signed as free agent in 2016, battled injuries last season and played just 65 games at Double-A Chattanooga.

The left-handed hitting Friedl slashed .235/.347/.385 for the Lookouts last season. Friedl injured his ankle in July and required season-ending surgery. The hope is that Friedl can return to full strength, as his speed is one of his key assets.

Friedl showed a bit of pop in his bat last season, but his calling card is defense. Friedl can track down a ball in center field and has an adequate arm. He saw time in every outfield spot while playing in the minors last season, with the majority of his starts coming in right field.

Friedl hasn’t seen any action at the Triple-A level yet, and that may have been the reason for not adding him to the roster. According to MLB.com, once a player is selected, the receiving team must add him to the club’s 25, soon-to-be 26-man roster. It’s questionable if Friedl offers enough upside for a team to take that risk.

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After the trade for José De León, the Reds roster is now sitting at the maximum of 40 players. While free agency likely to offer Cincinnati some upgrades, more roster shakeups are on the way. While it was a bit surprising that TJ Friedl was not added to the 40-man roster, perhaps not playing above Double-A will scare teams away from picking him up in the Rule 5 Draft.