Infield prospect Juan Silverio of the Cincinnati Reds went relatively unnoticed as far as up-and-comers are concerned. However, on June 17, that changed. In his triple-A debut for the Louisville Bats, he went 5-for-5 with two doubles, two RBIs and two runs scored. Wednesday afternoon’s affair in Louisville saw him single in his first two at-bats.
A 7-for-7 start will turn heads. He ended the game 3-for-5, all singles, with one RBI and three runs scored. It was a nice triple-A start for the kid.
Silverio was traded to the Reds in a 2013 Spring Training deal that sent former Reds fringe prospect Cody Puckett to the Chicago White Sox. In 2012, Baseball America rated Silverio the No. 8 prospect in the White Sox organization.
The scouting report on the 23-year-old Dominican is impressive. He’s a right-handed batter, listed at 6-foot-1, 175 pounds. He has the reputation as a superb athlete who generates gap power with his knack for barreling the ball. Defensively, his arm is strong but inaccurate. He’s playing third for the Bats, but can also play short. His arm and average speed could eventually land him in left field.
Why did the White Sox trade him for Puckett, a guy who had already proven to be a big-league long shot and was 25-years-old when traded? Quick answer: Siverio was an embarrassing reminder of a scandal in the White Sox international scouting department. In 2007, at age 16, Silverio was signed by scout Dave Wilder. He told the Sox brass that Silverio was a “can’t miss” five-tool player. Signing a kid with those tools for $600,000 was normal.
Silverio was paid $300,000 of the $600,000 contract. That left the Chicago front office, as well a their new “five-tool” player, scratching their heads. It turns out Wilder was masterminding a scam, over-touting Dominican prospects while skimming money from their contracts. In August of 2013, he was sentenced to federal prison on fraud charges.
Todd Frazier has third base on lockdown. Ramon Santiago, backup to Zack Cozart, has a sweet glove but can’t hit worth a lick. The Reds may opt for a shortstop with some pop in his bat rather than their current backup. Silverio’s stigma of being “that guy” will never go away.
However, if he continues his hot hitting, the Reds may give him a call.