Sneaking Narciso Crook onto the Reds taxi squad would be a great move.
When you think of the best players in the Cincinnati Reds farm system, players like Nick Lodolo, Hunter Greene and Jonathan India probably come to mind. However, outfielder Narciso Crook has spent 417 games in the minor leagues and would be a sneaky good addition to the Reds taxi squad this coming season.
Crook was a 23rd round selection of the Reds in 2013 out of Gloucester County College in New Jersey. Crook has a mediocre minor league career until the second half of his 2018 season with the Pensacola Blue Wahoos.
After reaching Double-A, Crook hit .286/.362/.379 in 63 games. Crook proved his success at the Double-A level wasn’t a fluke, as he began the 2019 season with the Chattanooga Lookouts and hit .296/.342/.437 over 24 games.
Narciso Crook finally made the jump to the Triple-A Louisville in May of last year. Crook’s first 11 games proved that he belonged, going 8-for-26 (.308) with two doubles and a triple. Crook blasted his first home run for the Bats on June 12th and finished the season with 10 round trippers.
Looking at who the Reds could add to a potential 20-man taxi squad is an interesting discussion. Obviously outfielders Nick Senzel, Nick Castellanos, Shogo Akiyama, Jesse Winker and Phillip Ervin will make the team. With the potential of a 30-man active roster in 2020, Aristides Aquino or Mark Payton may find a spot as well.
If you’re looking at other outfield options, Crook has to get a look. Other options Cincinnati has at their disposal is Scott Schebler and Travis Jankowski. Both outfielders are known commodities. Schebler offers power from the left-side, though he struggled mightily in 2019, while Jankowski is little more than a defensive replacement with a career batting average of .241.
Top outfield prospect Stuart Fairchild still needs more time to develop. It was thought that the 24-year-old would’ve started the 2020 season at Double-A Chattanooga with an opportunity to see time at Triple-A Louisville later this season.
Narciso Crook would be a solid addition to the Reds taxi squad. With the minor-league season a wash, Crook won’t have live game action to continue his development. If the Reds brass feel as though the 24-year-old offers something of value, he could very easily sneak onto the 20-man taxi squad.