One of the more interesting Cincinnati Reds prospects in 2022 has been Daniel Vellojin. The Colombian signed with the Reds back in January of 2018 and will be eligible for the upcoming Rule 5 Draft later this year.
Vellojin is probably the most advanced young catching prospect in the Cincinnati farm system, and with so little depth behind starter Tyler Stephenson, it may seem like a foregone conclusion that the Reds' front office should add the 22-year-old to the 40-man roster during the offseason.
But there is cause to pause; the most noteworthy of which would be Vellojin's lack of success at Double-A and the regulations surrounding the Rule 5 Draft which is typically held during baseball's Winter Meetings.
The Reds may shy away from adding Daniel Vellojin to the roster.
Daniel Vellojin played terrific at High-A Dayton this season. In 21 games with the Dayton Dragons, the catcher slashed .271/.393/.514 and posted a walk-rate of 15.5%. According to FanGraphs, Vellojin had a wRC+ of 153 while at Dayton.
The Reds made the decision to bump up the level of competition and sent Vellojin to Double-A Chattanooga. Obviously that type of change brings its fair share of challenges, but when it comes to developing young players, the cream usually rises to the top.
Vellojin, however, struggled. While the backstop was still able to maintain a solid walk-rate (14.3%), Vellojin hit just .191 and posted an OPS of .671 in 29 games with the Chattanooga Lookouts while watching his wRC+ dropped over 70 points.
The Cincinnati Reds will have a decision to make. Last winter saw the Reds make the obvious decision to add Hunter Greene to the 40-man roster in order to protect him from the Rule 5 Draft. Fans will see the same this year with Elly De La Cruz. But the system in place for players selected in the Rule 5 Draft is very specific.
If the Reds were to leave Daniel Vellojiin unprotected by leaving him off the 40-man roster before the deadline, an opposing club could select the catcher during the Rule 5 Draft. But, that team must first pay $100K to the Reds organization and Vellojin would have to be part of the that team's 26-man roster for the entire season or be placed on outright waivers in order to option him to the minor leagues.
In essence, unless an opposing team believes that Vellojin could be part of their active roster for the entire 2023 season, they'd be taking a calculated risk by acquiring him. The Reds, on the other hand, would be taking a calculated risk by not adding Vellojin to the roster.
If there's any thought on the Cincinnati Reds behalf that Daniel Vellojin will be taken in the Rule 5 Draft, the organization should add him to the 40-man roster. It would mean, however, that a spot on the roster would need to be cleared and those will be very valuable this winter.