3 Reds prospects fans have already given up on and 2 who still warrant patience

USA Baseball 18U National Team Trials
USA Baseball 18U National Team Trials / Brace Hemmelgarn/GettyImages

In the era of instant gratification, Cincinnati Reds fans, and baseball fans in general, want their top prospects to be finished products from day one and reach the majors as soon as humanly possible. However, the reality is that many prospects' development paths are not a straight line, and some guys just need more time to refine their skills than others. For every Elly De La Cruz that is born with insane athletic talent, there are 10 guys that need to be formed over years into big leaguers.

That said, there comes a point when a team needs to cut their losses and acknowledge the fact that a player just doesn't have what it takes to get a shot at the major leagues for one reason or another. Here is a look at some of the Reds prospects who deserve some more patience, and a few of those who it is probably fair to give up on.

The Reds and their fans need to give up on Austin Hendrick

Cincinnati fans have been waiting for Austin Hendrick to become something basically since the day the Reds spent the 12th overall pick on him back in 2020. However, Hendrick's minor-league career has instead turned into a cautionary tale about the risks in spending high picks on high school bats, as well as a disappointment overall.

In Hendrick's 3.5 seasons in the minor leagues, he has averaged a .662 OPS, which is decidedly not great, and the Reds have still pushed him up the minor-league ladder despite him clearly not being ready. In Double-A this year, he is slashing .199/.263/.283 with a sky high strikeout rate that has plagued him throughout his pro career. Even in his best year (2022) when he hit 21 homers, Hendrick still only hit .216 and struck out 165 times in 109 games. Unfortunately, the swing and miss is just too much.

Rece Hinds has too much upside for the Reds to give up on

No one argues that when he is dialed in, Rece Hinds possesses special raw power that can make him a difference maker. Cincinnati's second-round pick in the 2019 draft came with high expectations as an overslot signing, but he hasn't been able to put up the numbers to justify his signing bonus just yet.

Unlike Hendrick, there is reason to believe that Hinds can improve. Hinds has shown the ability to impact the game with his legs as well as his bat when he is both on and healthy, and his .866 OPS last year at Double-A was a significant step forward. Some injuries early in his minor-league career derailed his development a bit, but there are enough encouraging signs to overlook the swing and miss and mediocre numbers at Triple-A in 2024 for the moment.

The Reds shouldn't rely on Christian Roa to turn into anything other than maybe a feast or famine reliever

Boy, does the Reds' 2020 draft look rough these days. Roa was Cincinnati's second round pick that year out of Texas A&M, and he was seen as a relatively safe pick as an arm that could move quickly through the minor leagues. While he did initially get promoted pretty quickly to Double-A in his second pro season, that is where the good news basically ended.

After putting up 5.16 ERA between Double-A and Triple-A as a starter in 2023, the Reds finally pulled the plug on his rotation aspirations, as the walks were just a massive problem. Unfortunately, moving Roa to the bullpen didn't seem to solve much, as not only is he still walking too many batters, but his strikeout rate has cratered and his 5.45 ERA at Triple-A has turned him into an afterthought.

Cincinnati fans just need to be patient with Ariel Almonte

Almonte burst on to the scene in 2021 and 2022 when he was beating up on rookie ball pitchers with a mid-.800 OPS as a teenager. He was drawing walks, and many projected him to develop into at least an above-average hitter with some power. Fans were excited that the Reds were able to somehow sign him out of the international market in early 2021 for the bargain price of $1.85 million.

Unfortunately, Almonte's development has stalled a bit now that he is in full-season ball and is repeating low-A in 2024. While his .190/.301/.427 line does look a bit ugly, as does his strikeout rate, he does have 15 homers this season and is still only 20 years old. There is too much potential here to give up on, and hopefully he will learn better pitch recognition as time goes on.

Tyler Callihan is running out of chances to prove himself

As recently as 2022, Tyler Callihan was considered a top 10 prospect in the Reds' farm system. When Cincinnati picked him in the third round back in 2019, he was supposed to be an advanced high school bat that had the upside as an everyday player. Unfortunately, Callihan just hasn't been the same since he had Tommy John surgery during his first year in full-season ball.

After returning to action in 2022, Callihan has been very, very ordinary. While he has progressed to Double-A finally and ended last year strong, Callihan has posted a .685 OPS in 46 games this season, which is right in line with what he has been for the last few years, and now, he is unfortunately hurt. At some point, you are what your numbers say you are, and Callihan's numbers say that he is a very limited offensive player without a future defensive home, which probably means that his time as a pro baseball player is running out.

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