The Cincinnati Reds saw several young prospects make their major league debuts in 2021. After watching Jose Barrero and Tyler Stephenson gain some major league experience during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, players like Jonathan India, Vladimir Gutierrez, and Reiver Sanmartin made their big league debut in 2021.
Looking ahead to 2022, most fans are hoping for Hunter Greene and Nick Lodolo, the team’s top two pitching prospects, to make their major league debuts. Players like Mark Kolozsvary, who was on the active roster but didn’t see in-game action, will probably get his shot next year as well.
But who are some under-the-radar prospects that may find their way to the big leagues in 2022? Be honest, you didn’t know the name Alejo Lopez before this season. Dauri Moreta wasn’t a player you’d heard of, right? So who are some Reds’ prospects, much like Lopez and Moreta, who you’ve not yet heard of that may emerge on the 26-man roster next season?
1. Brian Rey, Reds outfield prospect
If you’ve not yet heard of Brian Rey, get ready. A 13th-round selection of the Cincinnati Reds in 2018, Rey skyrocketed up the minor leagues during the 2021 season. Rey went through three levels of minor league baseball last season, climbing all the way to Triple-A Louisville during the final month of the season.
Rey hit .385/.529/.467 at Triple-A, albeit in just four games. Rey received his most consistent playing time at Double-A Chattanooga. In 68 games, Rey hit .255/.348/.321 with three home runs and 31 RBIs.
Brian Rey is what many would consider an average prospect, but just like Alejo Lopez, I think we’ll see Rey outperform expectations and force the Cincinnati Reds to add him to the 40-man roster. Cincinnati may fear that they’ll lose Rey to the Rule 5 Draft this winter and add him to the roster in December.
Rey is little more than utility player. But as we’ve seen with individuals like Kyle Farmer, utility players can grow their roles and become key contributors. Rey will have to demonstrate that what the organization saw during his brief stint in Triple-A was no fluke. If he can, look for Rey to join the Reds active roster at some point next season.