By: Will Burchfield
Players taken in the Rule 5 Draft don’t often amount to much.
But the Tigers may have found a real prospect Thursday morning in outfielder Victor Reyes, who comes to Detroit via the Diamondbacks’ farm system.
The 23-year-old switch-hitter has been turning heads the last few years.
Via MLB Pipeline, “Ever since the D-backs acquired Reyes from the Braves (in 2015), all the outfielder has done is hit. Two levels in two years has resulted in a .307 average, and he brought his hit parade to the upper levels of the system in 2017.”
Indeed, in 126 games in Double-A last year, Reyes hit .292, stole 18 bases and scored 59 runs. He doesn’t have much extra-base pop nor does he walk a whole lot, but he balances that out by rarely striking out. He’s a high-contact, line drive hitter.
In the outfield, Reyes has mostly played in the corners. But his speed allows him to man center as well.
The Tigers’ farm system was sorely lacking position players at this time last year. They piled up on infielders through a slew of summer trades, and they’ve begun adding outfielders of late. In addition to Reyes, they acquired center fielder Troy Montgomery in Wednesday’s Ian Kinsler trade.
Montgomery is now the Tigers’ No. 25-ranked prospect, per MLB pipeline. Reyes ranked No. 18 in the Diamondbacks’ system, although it’s one of the weakest in baseball.
Still, he’s a prospect who’s on the rise.
Via MLB Pipeline, “Just 22 (years old) for all of the 2017 season, the move to Double-A was a good test for Reyes and his contact-oriented approach. If he can grow into a little more extra-base pop, he could become an everyday corner outfielder, though he likely profiles better as a fourth outfielder who hits his way to the big leagues.”
If Reyes doesn’t make the Tigers’ 25-man roster out of spring training, they must offer him back to the Diamondbacks.
Elsewhere in the Rule 5 Draft, former Tigers outfielder-turned-pitcher Anthony Gose was selected by the Astros. Gose, who made the switch to pitcher last season and impressed in his debut, had signed a minor league deal with the Rangers earlier this offseason.
In 10 2/3 innings last year for the Lakeland Flying Tigers, Gose held hitters to a .189 average and struck out 14, but had a 7.59 ERA thanks in large part to a lack of control. The lefty has all the arm strength in the world, and the Astros are hoping they can straighten him out.