Call Up Time
September is one of the most fun months for baseball fans. If you are in the playoff hunt, it is a time where you watch your team battle or secure their spot for October. If your team is eliminated, or essentially has no chance to make the playoffs, it is fun to watch the future of the franchise. The Reds are on the latter half.
At the trade deadline, the Reds traded left fielder Adam Duvall for Preston Tucker, Matt Wisler and Lucas Sims. Tucker has made an immediate impact with the club because he joined the team right off the bat. Sims and Wisler have had a bit of a different path to the majors since arriving in the Cincinnati organization.
September will be the first time they get to make their mark in the Reds’ organization as September call-ups.
When Sims and Wisler were drafted in 2011 and 2012, they were considered to be household names in Atlanta. Since being drafted, the two had spent their careers as minor league hopefuls. Generally, after six years, teams hope their minor league standouts will show signs of major league readiness for their respective clubs. This was not the case in Atlanta.
Sims and Wisler were close, but did not show the potential the Braves drafted them with. The Braves are making a playoff run for the first time in years. This playoff run caused the Braves to make a drastic move at the trade deadline.
Dealing two pitchers that were highly regarded when drafted is a risky move. Pitchers such as Max Scherzer and Jake Arrieta did not blossom until their late twenties. Giving up on Sims and Wisler at such an early stage of their career may be costly. It is even more of a gamble when you consider Duvall has been an average player at best, both offensively and defensively.
When the Braves drafted Sims in the first round in 2012, they were hoping they found their future ace. Often times players drafted out of high school will take years to reach the major league level. Waiting for Sims to develop was something the Braves knew when they drafted him, but he never reached the level they hoped.
Throughout his years in the minor leagues, Sims has a less than stellar earned run average at 3.78. It is not terrible, but not the numbers one would expect from a former first-round draft pick. His career WHIP is higher than one would hope for his minor league stats, but again, not terrible.
The bright spot of Sims minor league career is in his strikeout total. He had 786 strikeouts in 757 2/3 innings of minor league work. For the Reds to land a pitcher of this caliber for Duvall as one of three pieces, is one of the better moves the front office has made. Whether Sims develops into the pitcher the Braves thought he was when they drafted him, giving up only Duvall for this potential is a steal.
Wisler’s road to the show did not seem as easy. He was the seventh round draft pick by the San Diego Padres in 2011. In 2015, Wisler was traded to the Braves as a key piece in a deal that landed the Padres Craig Kimbrel. While in Atlanta, Wisler has spent parts of every season in the major leagues.
He has made appearances in both the rotation and the bullpen, with results that made it hard to keep a home in the major leagues. While Wisler has an earned run average of 5.21 across 77 games at the major league level, it does not mean he is a project worth quitting on. He also was not the centerpiece of the Duvall trade, so the gamble comes with less of a risk. Opposite of Sims, his strikeout total is significantly low compared to his innings pitched.
Wisler is just 25 years old, so he may still develop into a pitcher that can contribute to the Reds in the future, but his appearances at the major league level leave a bit of concern.
The Reds were quiet at the deadline in a year where many thought they would be one of the most active sellers. The Duvall trade was their only move of significance, and many were confused about the return. The confusion also comes from many people not being as aware of other organizations minor league system.
The return the Reds received for Duvall was about as good as the Reds could have netted. Tucker will most likely be a bench player for the duration of his career and Wisler may never develop into a quality major league pitcher. The potential Sims brings in return for a career .230 hitter is unbelievable.
Baseball is a funny sport. Players drafted after the 30th round can be a top-tier player, while players drafted in the first round can never play an inning. Obviously, the first round players are expected to have more potential. The Reds gained another first round pick, all they can do is sit back and see if he can reach his potential.