The Cincinnati Reds have added prospects Tyler Stephenson, Tony Santillan, Ryan Hendrix, and Tejay Antone to the 40-man roster and protected them from the upcoming Rule 5 draft.

The first three names were ones that I wrote about earlier today that felt like they were nearly sure-things to be added. Tyler Stephenson and Tony Santillan currently rate as Top 5 prospects in the organization. Stephenson is now the fourth catcher on the 40-man roster, joining Tucker Barnhart, Curt Casali, and Kyle Farmer. Santillan is joined in his addition to the roster by fellow pitchers Ryan Hendrix and Tejay Antone.

Tyler Stephenson is coming off of a season in which he hit .285 in Double-A Chattanooga. The catcher then went to the Arizona Fall League where he hit .353/.421/.549 in 51 at-bats. The former 1st round draft pick and progressed nicely up the ladder and should be ready for Triple-A to being 2020.

For Ryan Hendrix, he too, was a player that I expected to be added. He’s got outstanding stuff, and his numbers have been great. His ERA has been under 1.90 in each of the last two seasons between Advanced-A Daytona and Double-A Chattanooga. Another team would have easily selected him. He was rated as the organizations 16th best prospect after this past season.

The surprise of sorts was adding Tejay Antone. The right-handed pitcher wasn’t among the organizations Top 25 prospects. He was, however, someone that was noted as a player that could be added. He’s a huge groundball machine who has had success in both Double-A and Triple-A this year – though as it went with most other pitchers, his ERA did jump up in Triple-A with the juiced Major League baseball in play.

The player who was left off

There was a rather big surprise, at least to me, about who was left off of the roster – TJ Friedl. Here’s what I wrote about him earlier today:

The outfielder went undrafted out of Nevada back in 2016, but a lot of teams failed at their jobs and didn’t know that he was draft eligible. After joining Team USA that summer and going on a tear teams began to look at him to prepare for the 2017 draft, only to then realize he was eligible that year and since he went unselected, he was now a free agent. The Reds took advantage of their draft position, which comes with more bonus pool money, and they used what they had remaining before facing penalties of 1st round draft pick forfeiture to sign him to the largest domestic signing bonus ever to an undrafted free agent.

Much like his teammate this year in Double-A Tony Santillan, health was a bit of an issue for TJ Friedl in 2019. An ankle injury would take out his season early in July as he needed surgery to get back to full health. He hit just .235 on the year up to that point, but posted a .347 on-base percentage and slugged .385. When he’s healthy he has always hit better than that. He makes contact, he draws walks, he can run very well, and he can play a quality center field. Friedl may not be Major League ready today, but he will be soon. With a floor of a 4th outfielder and a ceiling as a starting center fielder, the Reds 11th rated prospect is an easy choice to add.

He felt like a guy who was a lot more of a lock to me than apparently he was, especially since the Reds could have added him, and didn’t. The roster spot is still there. If I’m another organization he’s near the top of the list of players that I’m looking at in three weeks at the Winter Meetings when it’s Rule 5 Draft day.

17 Responses

  1. Tom Mills

    I think Fairchild has passed Friedl iin the eyess of the Reds

    • Doug Gray

      Even if he has that shouldn’t change the fact that he should have been protected.

  2. Hotto4Votto

    I’m also surprised Friedl was unprotected. Glad they protected Antone. Starting pitching depth is important and his profile fits well at GABP.

  3. SteveO

    Friedl left off definitely a surprise. I guess they don’t see him as a potential candidate for CF in the future. Reds higher on Siri or Fairchild? I was wrong on AlfRod. Interesting to see if those two will be in other organizations next season. Great for Antone. 1spot open. Reds might be hoping to get a player from another organization that rates higher than Friedl during Rule 5 draft. I think they’ll try to add another P. Roster now stands at 21P, 18 position players. Most years in the past, the balance was closer to 23-24P, 16-17 position players.

    • Doug Gray

      Even if the Reds plan on picking someone in the Rule 5 – they still should have protected Friedl. There’s almost no chance they weren’t going to non-tender someone, which would open a spot before the Rule 5 draft.

      I’m struggling to figure out a solid reason he wasn’t added and I just can’t do it.

      • ToBeDetermined

        I was listening to the Reds Hotstove league on WLW radio about an hour or so ago.
        And someone mentioned that in order to be able to select a player in the Rule 5 draft that the team can only have 39 players on the 40 man roster.
        I don’t know if that is a rule change or not.
        If that’s true re: the 39 players did you think someone in particular should be removed from the 40 man roster for TJ ?

      • SteveO

        I totally agree. Friedl should’ve been added. I’ll take my chances with Friedl over Schebler at this point and Gausman and Peraza are non tender candidates.

      • Shchi Cossack


        The 40-man roster only needs to be down to 39 by the draft, not today.

      • Colorado Red

        40 Man back at 40.
        The reds picked up a pitcher who had TJ in 2018. He is on the 40 man now.
        Doug has another article about that.

  4. RedsfaninBham

    They were only allowed one TJ—regardless of spelling—on the 40 man roster. I think they got the right one.

    • JB

      Cant understand the teams love for Schebler and Romano. Freidl should have taken one of their spots.

  5. Will

    Is there a benefit to leaving a roster spot open right now?

    • Colorado Red

      nope, not till Dec 2nd I think (rule 5 draft). I will expect Jose P, to be non-tendered.
      He is a BUST. May need a change of scenery

  6. Shchi Cossack

    Even if TJ Friedl never develops as a starting CF at the MLB level, he has a great chance for a career as a solid utility OF. The Old Cossack will be stunned if he is still in the Reds organization after the Rule V draft.

    • BK

      I’m not as concerned about him being selected, but if he is, there’s a pretty solid chance he gets returned. I agree he has an outside chance to develop as a starting CF, but more likely will be a 4/5 outfielder. I think he will have a tough time earning a spot, even on an expanded 26-man roster, this year. 4/5 outfielders just aren’t scarce enough to warrant the active roster spot. He reminds a little bit of Jake Cave who really needed another year in the minors to reach his potential. The Reds returned him to the Yankees before the end of ST in a year that they were overtly tanking.

  7. Jefferson Green

    A lot of dialogue yesterday centered on whether the Reds would add AlfRod. Thankfully, this FO made another decision that indicates that they are different and better than before.
    As for Friedl, I hope they do not regret that non-add. Perhaps his injury recovery is going to be more challenging than we know at this point. We will see.

  8. Old-school

    Yasmani Grandal will not be added to the 40 man roster. White Sox 4/73.