1. Jacob Heatherly, Reds left-handed pitcher
A third-round pick of the Cincinnati Reds in 2017, Jacob Heatherly was surprising left unprotected in the 2020 Rule 5 Draft. Thankfully, no team took a chance on the southpaw and Heatherly is still in the Reds farm system. According to MLB Pipeline, Heatherly is the highest-rated left-hander in Cincinnati’s system not named Nick Lodolo.
Heatherly was given second-round money from Cincinnati in order to pry him away from his commitment to the University of Alabama. Some personal issues and a shoulder injury shrunk Heatherly’s 2019 season to just four games, and of course, there was no minor league baseball in 2020.
Jacob Heatherly, however, gives the Cincinnati Reds something they’re exceedingly short on at the moment; left-handed relief help. While the money doled out to Heatherly following the draft would lead you to believe the team viewed him as a starting pitcher prior to the draft, his lack of command and control may keep him from ever reaching that plateau.
Heatherly has a fastball that sits in the mid-90s and his curveball is a plus-pitch. Given that Cincinnati will be going into the season with Amir Garrett as the team’s only left-handed option out of the bullpen, don’t be shocked if Heatherly makes his big league debut in 2021. The Alabama native is still just 22-years old and has yet to pitch above A-Ball, but stranger things have happened.