Regressing Reds prospects limit Nick Krall's marketable assets at MLB trade deadline

The Reds could be buyers at the trade deadline, but what will they be selling?

Pittsburgh Pirates v Cincinnati Reds
Pittsburgh Pirates v Cincinnati Reds / Emilee Chinn/Cincinnati Reds/GettyImages

Thanks to a sharp turnaround over the last three weeks, the Cincinnati Reds once again find themselves in the thick of the NL Wild Card hunt. They'll enter this weekend's matchup with the Milwaukee Brewers in the conversation with about nine other teams currently bidding for one of the NL's postseason slots.

The Reds will have infielder Noelvi Marte returning from his PED suspension later this month and with any luck, corner infielder Christian Encarnacion-Strand will be back around the same time. If the two of them hit the ground running it'll be a major boost for the offense.

However, the Reds' roster does have some weak spots even with Marte and Encarnacion-Strand returning. It seems likely that president of baseball operations Nick Krall will work to address them at the MLB trade deadline later this summer; potentially adding an impact bat or a mid-rotation type arm.

Reds prospects Connor Phillips & Chase Petty have struggled in 2024

Unfortunately for Krall, two of his prime assets are going in the wrong direction down in the minors. Coming into the season, MLB Pipeline had right-handed pitchers Connor Phillips and Chase Petty ranked as the Reds' fifth and sixth-best prospects, respectively.

Phillips debuted with the Reds in 2023 but stumbled to a 6.97 ERA in five starts. That poor performance has carried over into 2024 where the 23-year-old has seen his strikeout rate plummet, his walk rate skyrocket, and his ERA suffer accordingly.

Heading into Friday's start for the Louisville Bats, Phillips owned a 9.00 ERA with an equally discouraging 7.90 FIP. In 50 innings, he's posted an astounding 46 walks. That level of performance just isn't going to play.

You almost have to wonder if Phillips is pitching through an injury with that lack of control because an almost 18% walk rate is untenable and could be a ticket out of the Louisville rotation.

Reds prospects Connor Phillips & Chase Petty have an all-time low trade value

Petty has been better than Phillips, but nowhere near the level of production that we saw at lower levels in 2023. He's striking out just over 20% of batters at Double-A Chattanooga, which would be the lowest rate in a full season of his young career. Petty has also seen an uptick in his walk rate, though it sits at a manageable 8.1%.

Petty still has time to turn this year around but after watching him post a 1.95 ERA in 60 innings at High-A Dayton last year, expectations for him were through the roof. One has to hope that his worse-than-average .358 BABIP and the shockingly unlucky 58.4% strand rate will see some positive regression in the near future.

Petty's 4.00 FIP suggests that he's getting the short end of the stick but you'd still like to see the performance reflect the inputs. Right now, that's not the case.

Ultimately, if Krall wants to make any significant trades, he might have to do so without including either Petty or Phillips. The backsliding we've seen from both of them is discouraging in its own right, but doubly so considering their performance is killing their trade value at a moment where the Reds might need to make a deal to improve the major league roster.

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