2. Mariel Bautista, Reds outfielder
I know, I know, the Cincinnati Reds outfield is overcrowded and the last thing the team needs to do is add another player to the mix. However, Mariel Bautista’s raw abilities are begging for this young man to have an opportunity to showcase what he can do. Bautista was signed out of the Dominican Republic when he was just a teenager, but his play this offseason was impressive.
Bautista doesn’t have the best track record in the minor leagues. Now 23-years of age, the outfielder has yet to play above A-Ball. That said, Bautista put up some phenomenal numbers while playing 56 games for the Billings Mustangs in 2018. Bautista hit .330/.386/.541 with eight homers and 37 RBIs. Bautista also racked up 16 stolen bases.
However, it’s his play during the Dominican Winter League this offseason that has to be giving the Reds front office confidence. In six games for Licey, Mariel Bautista hit .308/.357/.615. For comparison’s sake, Aristides Aquino played 11 games for Licey last winter and hit just .209/.255/.395; this after setting the world on fire with 14 home runs the previous August.
Mariel Bautista was not invited to the alternate site last season, so he’s got that working against him. But, he does have a lot of raw power and good speed. Bautista has to find a way to cut down on his strikeout-rate, which sat at 20.3% during his last professional stop at Single-A Dayton. It may be a long shot, but Bautista could break onto the major league roster later next season.