1 underrated Reds prospect who could have an unexpected impact in 2023

Cincinnati Reds catcher Daniel Vellojin
Cincinnati Reds catcher Daniel Vellojin / FEDERICO PARRA/GettyImages

Most of the focus throughout Cincinnati Reds spring training has been on some of the highly-touted prospects within the organization.

Elly De La Cruz, Christian Encarncacion-Strand, and Matt McLain have all made their presence felt. Former Seattle Mariners pitching prospects Brandon Williamson and Levi Stoudt, both of whom came to Cincinnati in separate deals, are also on the cusp of the big leagues.

But an underrated Reds prospect has quietly had a nice spring and could be very key to Cincinnati's plan in the coming years, and perhaps as soon as this summer.

Reds prospect Daniel Vellojin could have an unexpected impact in 2023.

The Cincinnati Reds made the decision this past offseason to add veteran catchers Luke Maile and Curt Casali via free agency. The addition of both backstops will afford Reds manager David Bell the opportunity deploy Tyler Stephenson at other positions in an effort to preserve his health.

But if the long-term solution for Stephenson is to become more of a hybrid-catcher who can also play first base and act as the team's designated hitter, then Cincinnati really needs one of their young catching prospects to step up in 2023.

Daniel Vellojin, who was available in the Rule 5 Draft this past offseason, has been part of a handful of Cactus League games this spring. In four games, Vellojin has been able to go 2-for-4 with a double and one run batted in.

After coming stateside in 2021, Vellojin slashed .247/.401/.403 at Low-A Daytona. But last season, while playing at three different minor-league levels, Vellojin was only able to muster a .199 batting average and an OPS of just .686. Vellojin did post double-digit home runs with 10 round trippers.

But the way Daniel Vellojin played this winter is very inspiring. Vellojin played 58 games between the Caribbean Series and the Columbian Winter League and hit .283/.413/.548 with 11 doubles, 12 home runs, and 33 RBIs.

The Cincinnati Reds need one of their young catchers to emerge this season, and the fact that Vellojin is a left-hander is only going to enhance his profile. The Reds could potentially platoon Vellojin with Stephenson behind the plate while also getting the former first-round pick into a plenty of games as the team's first baseman or DH.

According to MLB Pipeline, Daniel Vellojin is the third highest-rated catching prospect behind Logan Tanner and Alfredo Duno. But both Tanner and Dufo are at least two years away from reaching the major leagues. If Vellojin begins the season at Triple-A, don't be shocked if he makes his way to the Queen City sometime in 2023.

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