If you haven't heard the name TJ Hopkins, it's time to start paying attention. The Cincinnati Reds outfield prospect has dominated the competition this season and it's highly likely the 25-year-old will find his way onto the Reds 40-man roster during the offseason.
The Reds do not have too many outfield prospects who are major league-ready at this point. Mike Siani, whom Cincinnati selected in the fourth round of the 2018 MLB Draft, will probably be added to the offseason roster. But Siani has still yet to play above Double-A and will need to improve his hitting capabilities before making his major league debut.
Hopkins, however, posted solid numbers at Double-A Chattanooga this season and was recently added to the Louisville Bats roster. Since arriving in the Derby City, Hopkins has exceeded expectations.
TJ Hopkins is playing his way onto the Reds 40-man roster.
TJ Hopkins was a four-year player at the University of South Carolina and posted very good power numbers during his final two seasons in Columbia. In his college career, Hopkins slashed .295/.371/.463 and had 11 round trippers during his final year with the Gamecocks.
Hopkins was drafted in the ninth round of the 2019 MLB Draft. Due to the coronavirus pandemic and the cancellation of the 2020 minor league season, Hopkins had very little minor league experience. Outside of the 54 games Hopkins played in the Pioneer League back in 2018, all of his experience in the minors has been at Double-A and Triple-A.
Having played 175 games at Double-A, the Cincinnati Reds decided it was time for Hopkins to the leap to Triple-A. Since arriving in Louisville, Hopkins is slashing .327/.397/.615 with three doubles and four homers. According to FanGraphs, Hopkins wRC+ is 165 since joining the Bats.
If the Reds hope to protect Hopkins from the Rule 5 Draft, he'll need to be added to the 40-man this offseason. While others like Ivan Johnson and Daniel Vellojin are eligible as well, the prospects of Hopkins being snagged by another organization is much higher. Look for the Reds to add TJ Hopkins to the roster later this winter.