TJ Hopkins' early season performance will have Reds fans drooling

A view of a New Era on field Reds hat.
A view of a New Era on field Reds hat. / Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

The Cincinnati Reds farm system is loaded with talent. We've all seen Hunter Greene and Nick Lodolo make their impact felt at the major league level this season, and hardcore fans have heard names like Elly De La Cruz and Andrew Abbott, both of whom have had success early and often in 2022.

But the one player who might be playing better than anyone else in the Reds farm system to date is Chattanooga's outfielder TJ Hopkins. A ninth-round pick of Cincinnati back in 2019, Hopkins is tearing up opposing pitchers in Double-A this season.

Hopkins was a four-year standout at the University of South Carolina where he hit .295/.371/.463 with the Gamecocks. The Reds took Hopkins with a 264th pick in the 2019 MLB Draft.

Reds OF prospect TJ Hopkins is raking in the minors.

Just like very few fans knew the name Elly De La Cruz before last season, it's likely that few, if any, Reds fans have heard the name TJ Hopkins. He debuted for the organization back when the Billings Mustangs were affiliated with the Cincinnati Reds.

Like so many minor league players, Hopkins missed out on the 2020 season due to the coronavirus pandemic. The right-handed hitting outfielder was assigned to Double-A Chattanooga last season where he appeared in 74 games while hitting .268/.341/.436 with an above-average wRC+ of 115.

This season, however, Hopkins appears to be on a mission. The 25-year-old has pummeled opposing pitchers this season and his slashing .370/.474/.717 with four home runs and 14 RBIs in just 13 games.

Not only does Hopkins bring some pop to the ballpark, he also brings his glove. Check out this video from last season of the outfielder making a leaping catch while crashing into the bullpen fence. This type of reckless abandon will endear him very quickly to the Cincinnati faithful.

Hopkins has the ability to play all three outfield spots, but is probably best suited for left field. While he has the arm strength to defend right field and enough speed to play up the middle, left field seems like his most likely position as he ascends through the farm system.

Reds fans should keep their eye on TJ Hopkins. He had 11 hits in the Chattanooga Lookouts most recent series against the Mississippi Braves, including a four-hit, seven-RBI performance last Saturday.

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